I am sitting in my favorite Starbucks, with Joni Mitchell playing in the background, trying to say good things about myself. It's very hard. I have finally gotten the hang of tweaking my resume for individual openings. It's this cover letter that is driving me nuts. Selling myself is hard, and when I try it comes out sounding forced and stiff.
There are very few jobs that I am an *exact* match for. That does not mean I would not be good in that job. The position I am applying for is a case in point: they want someone who can manage projects. Check, did that at PAL. They want someone who can multi-task. Check, aside from having to do that at every job I have ever held, I was a stay at home mother -- multi-tasking is what we do. They want someone who can analyze, write and present ideas clearly and concisely. I think that speaks for itself, at least to those of you reading this.* A problem solver and quick learner. Check and check -- a boss of mine once described me as her "utility infielder": throw a problem to me and I take care of it. Can work independently or as part of a team. Check, just ask the people at PAL, the Census, or Kara. Sensitivity to persons with mental health, developmental and other disabilities and/or past community service work. Check and check -- I can handle people in crisis with tact and sensitivity, as I have to do when I answer client request calls at Kara.
But they also want....
Access. I have had a one week introductory course in Access a year and a half ago, and remember none of it. I have had more recent exposure to Exceed, a similar piece of software for donor tracking, but even that has been pretty limited in scope. But I have a lot of experience with learning online databases: at PAL, I used two, at the Census, I had to learn two,** and at Kara I have had to learn three. I learn quickly, and am very comfortable with reading manuals and learning on the fly. I am positive that I can learn Access tolerably well in a few weeks, especially if I read manuals on my own time outside of work, which I would probably do.
They would prefer someone who is fluent in Spanish or Vietnamese. That is the only part of their qualifications that not only do I not have, I have no hope of attaining, at least in the short term. They state it as a preference, however, not a requirement.
I would be good at this job. I can see myself doing it. From their description, it sounds like a job that I can grown into and can grow with me. I am sure that I can do this, and most likely do it very well.
I just wish I could explain that in this stupid letter.
*Okay, so maybe not so much the "concise" part. I'm working on it.
**One of them was the regular Census database, the other was a database so confidential that if you left your desk with it running (even if it was not up and visible), you would get fired. You could find out a scary amount of information from it: during training, we were only allowed to use ourselves (not even our spouses) as test queries. My record included the address of my sister-in-law. There was no real temptation to use it for nefarious purposes: our use was tracked, and looking for information on people we were not instructed to would result not only in termination but possibly prosecution.