I came across an interesting article on The Wall Street Journal online. The title, “No More Résumés, Say Some Firms”, caught my attention. No more résumés? How cool is that! Don’t get me wrong, I am satisfied with my résumé. In my opinion I have an impressive academic and professional record. However I find a cover or motivation letter together with a résumé an inadequate medium to promote oneself. To me the traditional application often feels like an exercise in summary writing and merely shows that I have made the effort to write the letter in such a way that catches the recruiter’s attention. After all a job application is comparable to a sales pitch. I want to convince the company to pay for the product “ME”! Continue reading
I have to confess that I am a virgin; an interview virgin. I have ten years of work experience and possess a rather impressive CV, even if I say so myself. However I have never been interviewed for a job. How did I manage that? In order to answer that I have to take you back to the year 1997.
It was June 1997; I was waiting to start my first Semester at the National University of Singapore in September. My majors were English Language and European Studies. That June, I met a really cute guy from Germany. He says it was love at first sight for him. It was love at second sight for me. As you can already guess, we fell in love and spent practically the whole of his holiday in Singapore together. When he had to leave, we decided to try a long distance relationship. Continue reading
Today I surfed on the internet to get some tips on how to write a cover letter, when I came across an article by the German journalist Harald Martenstein (Martenstein, 2009). It described the time when he was responsible for recruiting trainees. He mentioned a particular applicant; who had studied at Oxford and Harvard, had 2 PhDs, had completed work placements at the New York Times and Le Monde, spoke 5 languages fluently and was the runner-up at the National level in a sport that was not specified. (Obviously it is to protect the identity of the applicant.) Anyway both the recruiters in charge decided against him because he was obviously very qualified and would be able to find a job anywhere. (huh?) Just not at their paper. The reason he gave was that someone like this applicant was obviously very ambitious and would either become the Chief Editor within 10 years or if not infect the others with his sulky mood. In addition, reading that CV made H. Martenstein feel average, lazy, overpaid and lacking ambition. Apparently other recruiters must have thought the same of the applicant because he applied again for the same position a year later.
Unbelievable! Here I was thinking that a perfect CV is what recruiters were looking for. But it seems that an impeccable vita can be read as belonging to a person who is extremely driven in the negative sense. Therefore such applicants are deemed as having difficult characters and being potential mood killers. I wonder if this is a common perception among recruiters? Maybe I should count myself lucky that I do not have any outstanding sporting accomplishments to mention in my CV.
1. Martenstein, H. (2009, 01 04). Retrieved 01 04, 2012, from ZEITmagazin: http://www.zeit.de/2010/01/Martenstein-01