Work in a German company - how to submit a resume and not get a rejection?


IT is one of the most beneficial areas for labor migration. With the introduction of the Blue Card system for highly qualified specialists in Germany, candidates from the post-Soviet space began to compete for jobs with programmers from around the world. This is understandable: the German economy is still the strongest in Europe, and Berlin is being honored with the title of European Silicon Valley.

The main regions supplying Germany with highly qualified IT personnel are the post-Soviet countries, China, India, Turkey and the United States. Europe’s image remains invariably positive and is associated with quality of life and social balance. Specialists from the (post) Soviet school are valued in Europe for the pragmatic nature of engineering thinking, the ability to quickly learn and adapt to the context (apparently due to our social reality).

However, applicants' resumes are a huge obstacle to working in a European country. In this sense, Russian-speaking candidates and, say, Americans are complete antipodes.

Osamma Omar, managing director of the All-European network of start-up incubators of The Family, once told me a joke that perfectly illustrates the difference:

“American and Ukrainian startups pitch the same idea.

- Hi, I'm Michael and I'm here to introduce you to our revolutionary product - a teleport! We are convinced that our teleporters will completely blow up the market. We dream of a world where anyone can move enormous distances in seconds. Our mission - teleport to every home! Our consultants are recognized experts in transport innovation. No, there is no product yet, our team has mastered the first programming language and we need 5 million investments for the development of a prototype, but we are passionate about the idea and are ready to work!

Ukrainian (hides his eyes, confused, speaks to the floor):
- Hello. My name is Michael, and I invented a teleport. It works, although we did not think about usability at all. We are not sure if someone needs our product. There are some developers in the team, I don’t know to whom we could really sell our teleport and how much it can cost. ”

Of course, this is a grotesque, but the reality is: The inability of CIS candidates to adequately self-present is a problem that is already evident at the stage of submitting a resume and motivational letters.

Over the past ten years working in various German and international campaigns (I was a CTO startup, chief programmer at a subsidiary of Konica Minolta, worked as a freelancer for media concerns, programmed game graphics and medical equipment), I looked at dozens of resumes of candidates from Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries and unwittingly became an expert in the intercultural self-presentation of IT people.

Together with the Berlin cultural culturologist Olga Sokolova, I singled out 5 mistakes that IT specialists from the CIS admit to resume in English or German:

Spelling and punctuation errors

Yes, this is the most obvious. Errors cannot be attributed to poor knowledge of the language or the difference in cultural contexts. This disrespect for the employer. Therefore, read your resumes, please. Let them see a person who is fluent in the language of your employer and with proof-of-experience. It is perfectly ideal if it is a philologist with experience translating technical texts.

Photos NOT for Resume

This problem is visible even in LinkedIn profiles. Photo - this is the first impression of you. Depending on the degree of generosity of the employer and his cultural tolerance, inappropriate photos can be forgiven, attributed to the difference in mentality. But it is better not to hope for it. In Germany, the photo for Bewerbung (filing for a job) is a separate genre. It needs to look like you expect to see in the office. No sunglasses, no shorts on the beach, no Hawaiian shirt or a t-shirt with conflicting inscriptions. But a suit, if you are a developer and do not go to the bank, no one expects from you.

No red thread, professional profile

But the absence of a career red thread in your resume will not be forgiven. Try to think of your career as a story: there is nothing accidental in a film or a novel. There is a hero, he has strengths and weaknesses, he is driven by some kind of desire. Even if you are a young specialist and are just starting your career, it is important to show that already during your studies you had interests that remained with you in professional life. Even if you chose jobs by chance, it should look reasonable in a resume.

If you didn’t have clearly defined interests, but there was another criterion by which you studied, searched for work and collected qualifications, this is also legitimate. For example, your forte is teamwork, and with a narrow specialization you, for example, have not yet decided. Then, when choosing a company, the team for you is a decisive factor and a guarantee of your productivity.
If you still lack personal and professional awareness, ask your friends, former colleagues, fellow students and superiors about your strengths and weaknesses. Ask them to give specific examples of the situations that illustrate them. Fairly explain that you are working on your professional profile and need their opinion. And you should not ask only people who are friendly towards you.

Think about who will read and filter out your resume. If you are applying to a small company, then the head of the technical department will probably read the resume. Then you can get rid of jobs that are not important to your specific employer. In a large company, most likely candidates are screened out already in the personnel department. Then it is better to follow all the formalities and ensure that there are no gaps in the CV. Think of your reader and save him time.

Non-professional wording

The language should be businesslike, but not too dry. Write in the first person, avoid passive voice and overly streamlined language. What you mean should be clear right away. Sure wording, they say that you know who you are, are responsible for your words and have a good idea about the company where you are going to work.

"I am convinced ...,"

"I have no doubt that ..." and so on, there are no lists of recommended phrases on the Web.

But keep common sense: you cannot be sure that you are the best candidate. So do not write.

Motivational letters do not talk about motivation

Motivation letters are worth writing for each employer individually. These are your invitations to dialogue. Try to justify sincerely why you are interested in the position in this company and what, in your opinion, do you approach the company? How do you enrich the existing team? Study the site in detail, read about the culture of the organization and its mission. Are they in tune with you?

Money is important, and everyone understands that. But in themselves they are not motivation. If you have personal circumstances that prompted you to change jobs or choose this particular monetary position (child birth, etc.) - you can mention them, but the main motivation should be higher in Maslow's pyramid. For example, new professional challenges for you, the opportunity to learn from more competent colleagues from a new industry, apply skills that were not in great demand in the past place, etc.

In the following articles I will show examples of good motivational letters in English and German and tell you how the work in the German team differs from international teams.

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