Unemployed despite professional deficit: personal or cultural problem?


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At Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® we have been discussing the topic for months Skills shortage and the media have already become aware of this: Statistical evidence that we have no broad shortage of skilled workers at all. poor self-marketing on the other hand. Now an experiment shows that often only small things decide whether an applicant is “released” or not.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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The application process

Svenja Hofert has just started an application experiment: an 30-year-old industrial engineer who has already worked several times Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® had commented on them for help with the Casting: Since March he has written well over 100 applications. Only 6 interviews resulted -

Hofert has now made the case public, in consultation with the applicant and without naming names, and explains meticulously where the problems might lie and which solutions it has ready. A really great action, which should be helpful for many applicants.

Question marks in the CV

Hofert's conclusion: Lack of practical knowledge in the future profession, a candidate who thinks too little strategically, where he would like to go, a CV that makes suspicious - the applicant had studied twice almost the same.

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In addition, neither the IT nor language skills are outstanding. In addition, Hofert addresses the immigration background of the candidate, which could deter potential employers.

Personal or cultural problem?

At the same time, I would like to mention something else which often plays a role that is not always noticed: since the candidate has immigrated from a former socialist country, certain cultural preconditions are missing.

This is not so much a problem of personality, but of the cultural environment and thus ultimately an educational problem, for example, the children of working-class families have: They just do not know how important networking and self-expression are for success.

Self-marketing is a foreign word

This is reflected, for example, in the design of the curriculum vitae and the missing fast reader. And in that self-marketing for the applicant is rather a foreign word:

The English language skills are then only given as “good”, whereas with us, beautiful details are the order of the day. I still find it questionable to criticize this honesty - I have already said this here.

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Useful tips for optimizing the CV

Of course there are coaches for exactly this case. It is a pity, however, that we have to outsource such important skills to private coaches, which many simply can not afford.

However, I like Hofert's approach to making a test to provide verifiable language skills. I also find that, after some discussions, the applicant is clearly focusing on his wishes and goals, which is also the most important success engine in my experience.

I am very excited about the progress of the experiment and wish Svenja Hofert and the applicant every success!


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  1. Anja

    I always find it amazing to hear that even industrial engineers have problems getting a job! It was no different for me as a business graduate, but I thought it was because so many studied business administration. Has the experiment been progressing yet? I also find it very exciting ...

    And I agree with you: It's a shame that as an applicant you actually have to afford a private coach to find a job ... Now I would like to share another link:

    Here you come to the theme day shortage of skilled workers, which takes place at the 5.12.2012, participation free of charge. Quite interesting: There are various formats (Web TV, webinar, online posts) where experts also present solutions. Maybe very interesting for you as a blog writer for inspiration;)

    • Simone Janson

      Hi Anja,
      sorry that the comment had to be activated first - spam protection. Thanks for the interesting link, I'll take a look.
      You can find the progress of the exciting experiment here - Ms. Hofert has meanwhile taken a close look at the application documents:
      http://karriereblog.svenja-hofert.de/2012/11/zu-viel-kunst-und-zu-wenig-personliches-bewerbungsexperiment-teil-2/

      • Anja

        Hello Simone,

        does not matter :)
        Great - I read on. And also found a few tips that I could have implemented. I have now found a job through contacts - but I could have used such great coaching. What I think is great: That you can find the coaching for free in blogs :)

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