What is your opinion about the argumentation in the following extracts? Explain.

Exercise 1

Because of my degree in Germanic languages, I am proficient in Dutch and English, both in written and in oral language. Studying at the university has also improved my ability to work independently, since it required me to write my dissertation over a period of two years, without much tutoring.

Even though linking concrete skills to your degree can sometimes be convincing, it is not specific enough. This profile would fit anybody with a university degree, so it does not make you stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, this profile is basically a repetition of the CV.

Additionally, a degree in languages does not guarantee proficient language skills. You will need to add more substantial proof. You could for example state that your dissertation dealt with language proficiency and that you were the editor of the campus magazine.

Exercise 2

I am also stress-resilient and flexible. I am a true team player who can deal with the most difficult situations.

Making these statements proves nothing. You have to make them more concrete by adding facts.

For example: "I am a proven flexible team player who can deal with very difficult situations. As a group leader for the local scouting group, I have learned about group cohesion and how it may help to solve conflicts. And as a steward on rock festivals, I have always been able to take quick and efficient decisions during the most hectic moments."

If necessary, you can add more specific details in your CV.

Exercise 3

Although my profile does not quite meet the demands stated in the job profile, I personally feel that my flexible and independent attitude largely make up for this minor lapse.

This statement is not quite tactical, nor is it appropriate. It is not your job to judge whether or not your qualities make up for any requirements you may not have.

It would be better to base your flexibility and professional independence on concrete examples and mention them as extra assets. Do not link your positive qualities to something negative such as a standard you do not live up to.

Exercise 4

This is a quote from the cover letter for the job of "Press and Public Relations Officer". It was written by somebody with a degree in both history and multilingual business communication.

Since I wanted to get a deeper insight into the present by closely studying the past, I decided to read history at the Ghent University after my graduation from secondary education.

Why you decided to study history is irrelevant for this vacancy. Even if you had only studied history, you should focus on your motivation for a job (instead of your studies). Zoom in on the connection between the abilities you developed during your studies and how you could use these when performing this job.

In any case, for this job your degree in business communication matters the most, so stress that.

Exercise 5

Since my master's degree in management meets your profile requirements, I would be very happy to apply with your company.

Do not confuse motivation with argumentation. Your degree is one of the arguments that could make you a fit candidate. In any case, having the right degree is by no means a valid motivation to apply for a job.