Sending CVs

The idea of sending out your CV to hundreds of companies, as though it were spam, is common practice in countries with high unemployment levels and characterized by fierce competition in their labor markets.

And while many people continue to massively send out their CV, they also know that it’s basically a waste of time. The sad truth, the elephant in the room, is that the chances of anybody even bothering to look at your CV unless they are already interested in your profile are about the same as somebody finding a message in a bottle. It does occasionally happen that a company is looking for somebody with your profile exactly at the moment your CV arrives, but we’re pretty much talking about the exception that proves the rule.

So if we’re not going to send our CV out ad nauseam, what are we going to do to let the world know about us? Below, a few pointers:

  • Paper is junk. And if you send your CV on heavyweight paper, you’re not only killing trees and contributing to global warming, but showing that you’re firmly rooted in the last century. If you can’t be bothered to send your CV to a company by email, you probably don’t want to work there in the first place, or at least that is the impression you will give.
  • Don’t bother sending a CV to a company or organization unless you have seen them advertising a position. At the very least, you should have spoken to the person you’re addressing the CV to and that they have asked you to send your details. Otherwise, if you think or feel you are taking advantage of somebody, don’t send it.
  • The thing here is that the CV itself is pretty much outdated. You know that the company in question is going to look you up on the internet to find out if what you say is true. There’s no point in bigging yourself up about something if there is no evidence out there to support it. The best thing to do is provide links to anything relevant. People need to be able to search your name and come up with stuff you have done. GitHub is great for proving your programming skills, CrunchBase for demonstrating your involvement in tech companies, and ResearchGate to show that your are a relentless researcher. Nothing is going to convince a future employer of your ability to express your ideas than a personal page or others where you have written. Few things are a more compelling proof of your expertise in a specific topic than a number of questions on Quora in which your answer appears on top.The internet is your ally, if you don’t use it, you’re wasting a golden opportunity.
  • The social networks are also important. Nobody wants a prospective employer to find some tweets from a couple of years ago of questionable content, but that’s better than not being out there. There is an explanation for everything, what is unexplainable is keeping out of what is going on, and showing that you have no idea about the world we live in. And if a company doesn’t want to employ you because of a few photos on Facebook at a party, then you probably didn’t want to work there anyway. That said, if your presence on the social networks is limited to you passed out on the sofa, you might want to visit a doctor to get your liver checked…
  • Relationships are vital. And I’m not talking about bypassing the selection process, but knowing people who value your skills and who are prepared to put you forward for positions is important. You need to cultivate such relationships, which is why sites such as LinkedIn, Tyba, and others are so successful: it’s not just about being connected, but reading what other people read, commenting on the same forums and adding value without being a pain in the neck. The best relationships are not based on your being somebody’s relative or friend, but those created on the basis of what you have done.
  • Do. Not. Send. Spam. Understood? Nobody likes it, and many people loathe it. If you feel like you’re spamming, then you’re doing things wrong. If you don’t mee the criteria for the job, sending a CV in is spamming, because you will be wasting somebody’s valuable time. If you really feel you have something special to offer, despite your lack of qualifications and experience, then you’ll have to do a lot more to convince whoever is recruiting than just sending in your resume.
  • Do not send the same CV and accompanying letter out. Each application should highlight special details or emphasize certain things. The key to a successful application is remodeling your CV to the needs of the job.

Simply sending out you CV to hundreds of companies is not going to increase your chances of finding a job, and could even jeopardize your chances. So stop sending CVs, and only apply for posts that you really think you have a serious possibility of being interviewed for, and explain in detail why you think you are the ideal candidate. Trust you network of contacts and your presence on the net to help you find work. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

(En español, aquí)