Portray Skills as Transferable When Experience is Deficient


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Sharnjit writes: Hello! I need to apply for a position as a staff accountant, but many firms are looking for applicants with prior experience. I have very little experience. About 6 months is max. Also, what is the best way to write a general cover letter?
The Career Doctor responds: A two-part question, so let me answer in two parts. First, the experience issue. One solution may involve using transferable skills from your past jobs and education to show that you indeed have the critical experience. Read: Strategic Portrayal of Transferable Skills is a Vital Job-search Technique. Another solution is get the experience now through volunteering your accounting services to local non-profit organizations; you help a worthy organization and gain the experience you need to move to a better job. Second, the cover-letter issue. I know you didn’t mean it, but your question is one of the biggest problems we see with cover letters. There is NO such thing as a general cover letter; well, there is, but we call it a BAD cover letter. Cover letters are all about specifics — about showcasing how you can make a difference to the company. You really need to read Cover Letter Success is All About Specifics, written by my partner, Katharine Hansen.