Guest: Ute Blindert, CFO Digital Media Women e.V.

Chris Pyak called and you answered. Chris collects the most pressing questions regarding the German CV from his subscribers. Get them answered by Chris Pyak and Ute Blindert. Ute is CFO of Digital Media Women and wrote a bestseller about networking. She will give advice on the “perfect” German CV format.

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Transcript of the podcast with Ute Blindert about German CV format.

Announcer: The Immigrant Spirit Podcast with Chris Pyak. No pretence, no bull shit, just Chris and an employer talking about a real life business problem, offer a solution, and get a job. Here is your host Chris Pyak.

Chris Pyak: Welcome to the show. I’m glad that you join us here tonight. We have a very, very special guest and a very, very special topic. Ute Blindert is with us. She’s an expert in recruiting and marketing. She works for big German companies doing campus marketing, campus recruiting for them. In other words, finding young talent for German employers. She’s also an author who has written several very successful books. One of them is Per Netzwerk Zum Job. The topic that we will talk with Ute about today is the one topic that lurks in the mind of many, many, many experts. It’s really, really scaring today, we will talk about German CV format. TaTATATAAA!

Ute Blindert: Great.

Chris Pyak: Ute. Welcome.

Ute Blindert: Hi, Chris. I really like that tone.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. I thought that’s appropriate because no other question seems to scare expatriates as much as the German CV Format, but it seems you will bring some light into this story for us today.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, I really hope so. I really hope that for your listeners. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Ute, I introduced you already a little bit. Do you want to say two or three sentences about yourself? What you do for the companies and maybe where the parallels you see between young people from university and international professionals when they are entering the job market.

Ute Blindert: Yeah. Well, what I do for the company is that I don’t do the recruiting for the companies. I guide them through the process. I work with a consultant in campus marketing and help them to address young people from universities and universities of applied sciences and help them to bring them to their workforce.

Chris Pyak: What is the biggest challenge that your clients face?

Ute Blindert: Well, the biggest challenge is that … Well, maybe your listeners know the word [foreign language 00:02:46].

Chris Pyak: Labor shortage. Yeah.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that’s really a problem here and it’s not the same for all the branches, but it’s very special if you’re looking for someone who studies information technology or mechanical engineering, sciences and you know all the stem sciences, huh?

Chris Pyak: Yeah.

Ute Blindert: It’s very difficult for many companies to address to those young people. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: It’s very impolite to ask a lady, but how long are you doing this already, for how many years?

Ute Blindert: Yeah, now for maybe about 10 years.

Chris Pyak: Uh-huh (affirmative). Okay.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Just I’m going a little bit off topic here, but I’m just curious. If you compare how the situation was in the labor market in terms [foreign language 00:03:46], labor shortage, if you compare how the situation was when you start at 10 years ago and how it is today, do you see a change?

Ute Blindert: Yeah. It is changing a little bit because, for example, digital themes are getting more important than maybe yes before. For example, when you study economics and you’re an expert in digital marketing, for example, you’re really well you’re like a diamond and everybody’s just looking for you, small companies, big companies, huge companies, and also agencies who are working for bigger clients for example. The thing with engineers, for example, or students from information technology, it was kind the same through the years. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Oh, that’s quite surprising.

Ute Blindert: Because you always have surprised … I mean of course it was different in the years of the financial crisis of course, then you had the problem that 2008, they were really looking and really like creeping for all those engineers, and then you had the financial crisis and maybe for two, maybe three years, it was much worse for the students who got out of university. I think from 2010, 2011, it changed again and now we really have problem. I mean bigger companies, for example, these huge companies like BMW or Daimler, for example, they don’t have so many problems to find engineers.
For example, they have some problem that they can’t find female engineers and smaller companies often have the problem that they are also addressing two very special profiles and then it’s not so easy to address …

Chris Pyak: Exactly.

Ute Blindert: …their job.

Chris Pyak: I have a feeling a little bit that I don’t know what your experience is, but I have a feeling that the Pareto principle also applies for job applicants that 80% of applicants will apply with the top 40 companies and …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah, that’s right.

Chris Pyak: The rest has to deal with the rest of them. Great. Yeah. Today we want to talk about the German CV and shed some light on this and how to improve your CV, so that it speaks to recruit us, HR managers. Maybe we start with what would be your top three or top five topics that an international professional should pay attention to when he’s preparing his CV.
Ute Blindert: Yeah. The main principle is one, which for me is really universal. It has to do with the applicant should think about who is reading my CV, who’s the person I’m addressing this CV too. You have to think that the person who’s reading a CV doesn’t have lots of time, so you really have to think about how can I put all the important information really into the one or two pages of my CV, how can I do that. This is my main, main topic. The second one is this is a difference between Germany and other countries. I would say this is a difference. Sometimes we are a little bit more focus, maybe a little bit more not so … We don’t write it as a CV in such a narrative way. It’s more like a get to the point …

Chris Pyak: Effectiveness. Yeah.

Ute Blindert: It’s very factly, get to the point, write down what are the points you’re good and that’s it. The third one is that the German CV is really it has changed a lot in the last years. When I started, it was very different from international CVs, but today it has changed concerning that it’s more international now. I really think that many, many, many points have came from the Anglo-Saxon CV, from the American CV, and it has changed a lot. I think it’s more modernized I guess.

Chris Pyak: Yeah.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: What are your feelings about the Europass standard?

Ute Blindert: Yeah. I really like that.

Chris Pyak: Is that widely accepted in Germany?

Ute Blindert: Yeah. You can use it. You can use it because it really gets to the point, but I don’t think it’s very beautiful. I don’t like to layout in the … Even you just take it and it’s a Euro CV and when you just take it, and let me explain this a little bit. The format is very standardized and you have the points where you write about your working experience, you write a date, and then you write the date, and then you write the company and then it writes the name of the company, then they write position then you write the position, and then the fourth one is you write about what did I do in this position. Yeah. You have four points and then you replicate this through CV and this is annoying I guess.
What I would do it’s very easy. You just take the date, I mean there’s a real date and then you’ve write the name of the company on the right side, and then you take the position and write the position on the left side, and then you write what is in the position through three to four bullet point. Then you can really use this very standardized CV because it’s very easy for everybody. It’s ready mate and just change it a little bit and then it’s really okay to work with that one.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, you said in the beginning that you really liked it despite its ugly format.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah. If you change the format a little bit, then it’s not really beautiful but you can really work with it and every recruiter work will do the same.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, and the good thing is you don’t need to worry endlessly about how to structure your CV. You have a format and you can use it. On immigrantspirit.com, there is a full article about the German CV format. There’s also a link for the standard CV format

Ute Blindert: Yeah, great.

Chris Pyak: That you can download and use.

Ute Blindert: Yeah. I also have a link and you can also … Maybe if you want to, you can also use the link from my web page karriereletter.de where I used it as a Euro CV and switched it in the new form.

Chris Pyak: Okay.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: That’s karriereletter.de.

Ute Blindert: Yes, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pyak: Karriere is German for career, letter is letter and then de for the German internet prefix. Karriereletter.de.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pyak: That’s Ute Blindert’s website.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pyak: This is already three interesting points. I wanted to add. You said one thing that’s really, really true, recruiters and HR, they don’t have much time to spend with each CV. I had a conversation with Henrik Zaborowski, the Martin Luther of government recruitment. Yeah. It’s very funny because we were three people, all of us in this HR industry, and we got an email where someone complained and said, “Yeah, you know, I spent an hour writing my CV and making it perfect and then recruiter will spend only a few minutes looking at it.”

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Pyak: All three of us laughed because it’s never a minute. It’s six to 12 seconds that they will have for the first glance.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, okay for the first glance but if you are recruiter and you’re clever and you see a word like I’m a mechanical engineer or I studied information technology, then you might switch from the six to 10 seconds and just say okay let’s have a look on it.

Chris Pyak: Exactly. That would be my question though, would be your best advice that you can give in the CV because the first challenge of course is to pass this first test, not first six, seven seconds. Do I throw the CV away or will I spend more time to actually understand what this person has to offer? What would be the most important thing that someone could do to get to this second stage?

Ute Blindert: Yeah. What I would do I would put all the important things on the first page.

Chris Pyak: What would they be?

Ute Blindert: I mean if you put those most important things on the second page, nobody will ever read it. It really depends on what is the point where you are at your career right now. For example, if you are a graduate, then you should put your university degree and your education on the first. Then on the second part, you should put your work experience so that everybody can see okay what did you study right now and what are the things you experienced until now, and only the experiences that are important for the job profile. This is for example if you had an if you did an internship or if you have studied abroad or worked abroad, all those things should be on the first page.
All the things that are not important, for example, where did you go to school or did you make an, how do you say, [foreign language 00:14:20] or something like that …

Chris Pyak: If you volunteered somewhere.

Ute Blindert: If you volunteered somewhere or went to the army or something. If it’s not relevant for the job, you should put it on the second page, so that on the first page, everything should be there that is important for the job. Then you should think about what are the keywords of the job profile and you should put those keywords into your CV on the first page. I mean the first page is the most important one, and so you should try to write down all the stations, where you did your studies or where you did your work, your jobs, and things like that, and put the name of the company there, your position, and what you did either in your studies or in your jobs.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. That’s an interesting question if I can join in there because a lot of people and I think if I would have to apply for a job, I didn’t apply for a job for 30 years. When I had to apply for jobs, you still put the profession of your parents and the religion of your parents at least.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, okay. No.

Chris Pyak: Can you mention how long time that is ago?

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Chris Pyak: This is not really important.

Ute Blindert: It’s not really long ago.

Chris Pyak: Back to my question, that’s a question that a lot of people have and I would have this myself. What kind of details would you put into each position?

Ute Blindert: Yeah, it really depend …

Chris Pyak: What should I actually write there what I do?

Ute Blindert: You should really think about what is important for the job profile. I mean this is really you should take the jobs as advertisement or what you read or what you learned about the job and try to think what is really, really important for it. I mean the studies, you can’t change your studies. When you study mechanical engineering, it’s mechanical engineering but you can think of which was my main focus and sometimes you can switch a little bit. You can say okay, I did a lot of construction in my studies or you can say okay, I didn’t I didn’t do so much construction if you aren’t applying for a construction job for example.

Chris Pyak: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ute Blindert: What you should also do, you should write the title of your thesis, for example. This should also be in the part about your education, for example. When you switch to the work experience, you should use the bullet points. I would always say the work experience, which is the most important should be the main, should be the fullest. You should put the most of your bullet points in there. If you are someone who has a lot of working experience, you should just switch your education on the second or even on the third page. It’s not important anymore when it’s like 15 years ago or something, but what you can do was a bullet points, you can change your focus or focus always.
You can look at the job profile and write about maybe a job that’s more into marketing or it’s more into public relations. You can take parts of your foreign or actual job into your bullet points and write about those things you did there. You can switch always a little bit.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. May I interrupt because …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Pyak: We’re getting a couple of live questions as well.

Ute Blindert: Okay.

Chris Pyak: I think it could fit quite well too to what you are explaining right now. There are two of them right now from [inaudible 00:18:23], the first one. He says, “What about an MBA graduate with five or six years experience? Should they put their education first or the work experience first?”

Ute Blindert: Yeah, and the MBA was parallel to the job or was it before the job?

Chris Pyak: I can’t see from the …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, okay. If it’s not parallel to the job, I would put the job first. I would always put the actual action first. I mean if someone is studying, I would put the education first and if someone is working, I put the work experience first. In this time, I would use the work experience and then write about the work experience five to six years, should be something about maybe it’s enough for one page or maybe he can just press this little bit, and then you can put the MBA also on the first page.
Then the work experience before the MBA because I really think the NBA, if it’s not parallel to the job, it’s really like something is changing, really changing because you’re really getting deeper into things, get new knowledge and then you can use this knowledge and take it into your job. It’s really like everybody will understand that.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, that’s a big, big step forward. Second question also to this topic from [inaudible 00:19:59], “When indicating experience, how to describe what you did so that you look like an achiever rather than a doer?”

Ute Blindert: Hmm.

Chris Pyak: How to put more focus on what you have achieved instead of simply what you have done.

Ute Blindert: Hmm, mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, maybe it’s a good way …

Chris Pyak: Tough audience.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah, but maybe a good way is to divide … If you work for one company and then you achieve new things, you can divide the station, it’s a company, I mean [foreign language 00:20:43]. It’s parallel to the working part at the company, you can divide this in different points. For example, you could write I work from 2015 to 2000 until now in company [xEpsilon 00:21:02], and then you take a second date and say from 2016 to 2017, I was a team adviser, blah, blah, blah. Then you take from 2015 to 2016, I was a team member, so everybody can say okay you switched from team member to team advisor, and then you can also write down in team member what you achieved. Then when you are a team advisor, you can write down what you did in this job. Yeah, this would be the thing I would recommend.

Chris Pyak: Mm-hmm (affirmative), okay. How about … Well, I put this question back. I have a question that’s related to this, but I will ask a little bit later. Before we move on to the question that we already got in advance, is there something that you would like to add to make this first insight complete or are we finished with this part and move on to the questions?

Ute Blindert: Yeah, we can move to the questions because one thing I would like to recommend for the first page was one of the questions was the one with the pictures …

Chris Pyak: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ute Blindert: The profile photos and this is one thing, which is really, really important because companies and Germanies are not allowed to ask for profile photos anymore because we have an anti-discrimination law and if you don’t want to put a picture, you can leave it, it doesn’t matter anymore. I mean this is a problem because in many, many huge companies and in very modern companies, of course you have a lot of persons who know a lot about anti-discrimination law and things like that. In many companies, you still have persons, you still have people who really like pictures. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Which in itself is already an argument not to send a picture if you think about …

Ute Blindert: Huh? What?

Chris Pyak: Which in itself is already an argument not to send pictures.

Ute Blindert: Yes.

Chris Pyak: If you think about it because personally I had this experience. I was in a company, head of HR was sorting through CVs and the pictures she liked, they came on to the closer look staple, the pictures she didn’t like they went out of the door.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, it’s terrible. Yeah. It’s not very professional, I know, I know, but the problem is the suite should be suit for the one who’s addressed.

Chris Pyak: Exactly.

Ute Blindert: Sometimes it might be a good idea to put a picture on the CV. I don’t like to recommend this, but sometimes it’s a good idea, for example, if you’re applying for a job in a smaller company or in a … Yeah, you know …

Chris Pyak: Yeah. Actually what I always do is, especially when it’s a smaller company, simply call them and ask how would they like their application to be prepared.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, that’s a good idea. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Most easiest thing in the world because also some companies, they want you to send all your documents right away and others they just want your CV for a start.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, that’s a good idea. Yeah, you’re right.

Chris Pyak: Easiest ways for asking. I tell you HR people don’t like that when you call them.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, I know, I know and this is a very tough part of my work because I always say I mean he can’t talk about [foreign language 00:24:49]. Please say the english word.

Chris Pyak: Labor shortage.

Ute Blindert: Labor shortage. You can’t talk about labor shortage and be so rude for people who are calling you and asking things about jobs. It’s terrible.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. To be honest, partly I can understand him because it’s a little our fault. I mean the fault of HR service providers like us because they get so many cold sales calls from people like us who want to sell them something that they are a little bit apprehensive to talk to you.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: In the end, they are there to win talent for the company so they should be willing to answer question.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pyak: Yeah, okay there, let’s move on to the question if you have. Let’s see, we might not take all of them, we take a few and then we take some more from the audience as well. If you have a question that you want to ask Ute about the German CV format, feel free to already put it into the shed on YouTube live and we will pick them up along the way. Here first question was, “Which information is the most important one for the hiring manager and for HR?”

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I mean the most important is what did you learn, what do you know, what do you know, what did you learn, what is your experience. You should write about how long is your work experience, where did you work, what did you work, what did you learn. Those are the most important things.

Chris Pyak: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay.

Ute Blindert: I mean on the one side, you should be very focused, you should be really to the point and on the other hand, you should explain a little. For example, like we said before from what did I achieve, what did I learn, where did I go on with my experience, and the things I did.

Chris Pyak: Mm-hmm (affirmative). This brings me to our question, the one did I had before that I didn’t ask. How do you deal with things that are not obvious that I had to explain? I’ll give you one example. My wife works in asset management and she’s working ever since she came to Germany. She works for the same company, but this company has been sold four times and every single time, they changed their name. It looks on the CV, if you don’t know that, it would look like my wife changed her job every year or so, but in really she had a very same job for the last five years. How do you transport this information in a concise form and in a form that will not seem like you are bet talking your former employers?

Ute Blindert: I really think it’s kind of easy. I mean I would write the actual name and then I will take … How do you say klammern. Yup.

Chris Pyak: I don’t know. In …

Ute Blindert: The brackets.

Chris Pyak: Brackets, right.

Ute Blindert: Brackets. You write the actual name and then you take brackets and say formerly known as Forks and then the other names.

Chris Pyak: Love symbol (Prince).

Ute Blindert: Yeah. What you could also do if you said it changed maybe over the last five years three times, you could also use a little star and then explain it down on the CV.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, in the past clip from, yeah.

Ute Blindert: Yeah because it’s not that important. It’s more important what she did in her actual job and what changed maybe in the last five years, what did she achieve in the last five years independently of the name of the company. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. Next question also one that I get quite often, how long should your CV be.
Ute Blindert: Yeah, I would say if you are under if you’re a career starter, I would say maybe two pages should be enough. If you’re getting on with your experience, you could also make it a little bit longer, maybe two or maybe three or four pages. It really depends on what is your working experience and how detail should it be. What could be a good idea is to make your CV quite short, put all the main information in there and then write a little post say okay, I have a project a list. This is also a good idea, for example, if you’re an IT consultant or if you work as a consultant for example.
You can you say okay, I have a project list but you can make a project list with a tablet, with a table and make it more detailed and so everybody can really get all the information that is needed because if you had many different projects, sometimes it’s very important to see okay, is it more into programming or is it more into consulting or which programs are the ones you are focused on and things like that. Of course if you’re someone who achieved a scientific career, of course it’s also different because then you have publication list, you have conferences and those scientific CV could be something about six pages and that’s okay.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, which brings me to the next question you partly answered it already. What can I delete in my CV? If I feel it’s too long, what should I delete, courses, personal references, previous work experience, work profession?

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, that’s a really bad idea. Well, we could look …

Ute Blindert: Yeah. For example, if you worked I mean internships between your school, I mean just it doesn’t matter anymore. For example, if all the things you did in your studies to earn money, I mean working with McDonald’s or something, it’s not important anymore when you started working. When you start working, it could be important to explain why your studies took a little bit longer, then it could be important, but it’s not important for your work experience if something that is called just jobs but you …

Chris Pyak: What about …

Ute Blindert: You can keep that alone after maybe when you started working.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. Well, what about someone who has quite a substantial work experience, 10, 12 years because I actually get this question quite regularly that someone feels like okay yeah had this work for this company and this company, I left it out of the CV because it kept too long.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I mean ten to …

Chris Pyak: It’s not a good idea.

Ute Blindert: No, no. I think 10 to 12 years is really you should put 10 to 12 years or maybe 15 years into your CV. For example, when you started working and your studies are just five years ago, you should put still your studies into your CV, but it’s not as important as before so you can put it on the second page, so be that your work experience on the first page. Then this is one thing that has changed in the last years. The German CV years before was from the oldest to the newest, so you started with the oldest part and got to the newer …

Chris Pyak: With people still at time.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, and on the second page, you got to the newest one. That has changed and this is really a good thing. You start with the newest with the actual job and then you go back in time. When you have 15 years of work experience, you leave your academic education behind or maybe just have one to two entrances, and then you don’t need it anymore. Yeah, I would say up to 15 years is important.

Chris Pyak: Next question is related to that and that’s how do you deal with gap periods in your work experience, years of unemployment and this kind of things.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, that’s not so easy, that’s not so easy because you have two things in here. You have the public relation talk and many companies they say okay, we like it if people are experiencing new things, if someone was traveling or things like that or having kids, for example. I really know from behind that often HRs really like oh no they’re getting cold feet, how we say in German, they’re really like oh no it be a might risk to have a person who went abroad and saved the world and things. What I recommend then is to go through networking. You really should find a company that is open minded, that is looking for persons who are also open minded and saved the world.
There’s one company I worked for was really interested in people like that. They really loved it if someone went abroad and traveled and did things like that. If you have this break in your CV, yeah you can really just like sometimes it is not too long, you can try to [foreign language 00:34:52] or to make it a little bit light side or …

Chris Pyak: You can find a euphemism.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah, yeah for example …

Chris Pyak: If you worked for a year, then you write I was really reevaluating my career options.

Ute Blindert: Yes, reorientation or something like that. Reorientation or …

Chris Pyak: Yeah, it’s fine, it’s fine.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah. If you’re having kids, you can also … I mean if you stayed at home for three years with your kids, you just write this down, but as still I would do a parallel strategy. I would apply as a usual way, but I would also try to find jobs through networking because it’s not so easy to get back into jobs when you …

Chris Pyak: That’s even true for people who are born in Germany, who grew up in Germany or fluent in Germany. If you’re a little bit off standard …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, you’re right.

Chris Pyak: Your life gets really difficult and that’s really frustrating.

Ute Blindert: Yeah. I mean if you change the perspective and look through the HR view, sometimes I can understand this because it’s like they are like a business service, so they are not so very risky. Yeah. They say because … Yeah, I mean sometimes companies here are not so …

Chris Pyak: That’s actually just can also be … There’s a little shimmer of hope in that because what they really care about and that’s my experience maybe, you made a different one other. What I care about is not so much that there’s something unusual going on that’s of course not good, but what is really freaking them out is if they don’t know.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, okay.

Chris Pyak: If there’s two years and you don’t know what you did to them. It’s better would be my advice. It’s better to write for two years yeah, I was traveling the world or I was reevaluating my career or I found my inner child or something like that, as long as they don’t have to wonder what you did.

Ute Blindert: Uh-huh (affirmative). Okay.

Chris Pyak: In my experience, that’s really a deadly sin if they’re not sure what you did because they can’t tell uncertainty.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, okay, that’s a good point. Uh-huh (affirmative), okay.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, I don’t know if you’ll see this differently or …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, I really think it really depends on the company. Yeah. I don’t think that you can find this open-minded kind of you in all the companies.

Chris Pyak: Okay, yeah. Another question was how can I streamline my work experience to show my expertise.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, I looked …

Chris Pyak: It’s a good question.

Ute Blindert: I looked streamline. I looked that up.

Chris Pyak: Also, the question is not really clear. Maybe what he means is when you work in different industries throughout your career …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Pyak: How can you make it appear more logical.

Ute Blindert: Yeah. Yeah. What I really think is it’s good here in this point is to streamline the meta, the meta, the main … I mean the main points, main parts in here because if you are doing things, for example, if you work in marketing or if you work in controlling, if you work in … Say it’s for example, it looks kind of different but it … I mean if you really go into it and for example, if you see in all the jobs he or she worked with data, for example, so then it is not so different because if you work in marketing with data or if you work in controlling this data, so you have the main part in it. You should try to think about what is the meta thing in the thing …

Chris Pyak: Yeah, what is the higher level that they have in common.

Ute Blindert: Yes.

Chris Pyak: Like for example, I started my career, I used to be a radio journalist and a news anchor, then I went to finance journalism, then I went into marketing and then I went into coaching, but all of these different areas they all share a common quality, they are all about communication.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, you’re right.

Chris Pyak: I work in communication.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Yup.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, good.

Ute Blindert: With me, for example, I always liked career things and then I like career things from different perspectives, from the applicant’s perspective, from the companies and also in the middle part, I love that …

Chris Pyak: You have a 360 degree view …

Ute Blindert: All the time.

Chris Pyak: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Good. Next question and this goes to look off for many job seekers. “I’m from Macedonia and I don’t know German language very well, not so sure how to manage with that in my CV. Should I mention that in my CV?”

Ute Blindert: Yeah. I mean you can’t deny it. I mean if you write about the languages you speak and you have on the second or the third part a page, you write about your qualifications and one part of your further qualifications and one part of your further qualifications are the languages. Then there you might have fluent in English, mother tongue Macedonish. I don’t know the name of the language and then if you don’t just know a little bit basic German, you write German basic knowledge. Yeah. Everybody will see that your German is not as good as it could be. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: You said if you don’t speak German, we would just send your CV in German language or in English?

Ute Blindert: I would try to find companies here in Germany that are hiring English speaking people. I mean, for example, in Berlin or in Cologne or Dusseldorf, for example, there are a lot of companies where the working language is English, so you shouldn’t have many problems to find a job even if you don’t speak German. Then I would write the CV in English, I wouldn’t write it in German because …

Chris Pyak: Yeah. Yeah, from my experience, I would offer an alternative to that …

Ute Blindert: Okay.

Chris Pyak: Because I analyzed the complete job market in Germany and only 1% of German companies hire in English, 1%. If you exclude 99% of companies, then there’s nothing left because will you literally apply with hundreds of other candidates for these few jobs. In these cases, as in the case of if you dare to have children before, I would follow Ute’s advice from before. You need to go to networking. You need to ignore HR and find the manager behind the job and talk with him about how you can add value to his concrete problems because that’s the only way how we can break into into German language companies when you don’t speak German right away.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Pyak: Because from the job said I see 80% of them, you could do a great job even if you start in English yeah. You have to find a manager who has an open mind and who is willing to take a risk on you.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, yeah, that …

Chris Pyak: That was really the only true networking.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. Okay. One other tip that comes actually from one of my former coaches, Vanessa. She’s from Canada. She’s not working for Airbus and she had really good results writing the CV in German language. It was easy to evaluate, but writing the cover letter in English so that people understood okay, she is not a native speaker.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that’s a good idea. Yeah, because the cover letter is very difficult I guess because even for us Germans who speak English quite okay, it’s very difficult to write a cover letter in really, really good English. I mean really the language you need to show your motivation, to talk about the things you achieve, it’s really, really not easy.
That’s the same with German I guess, yeah.

Chris Pyak: Yeah.

Ute Blindert: What I heard when I talk to very huge companies because we talked before, I worked in campus marketing and many companies there. I mean most of the big companies are looking for graduates and many HR people, they say okay doesn’t matter if you write your CV in English or in German, but at least you should have a working knowledge, working German if you want to in many companies who need a basic German to work with, not work with your direct colleagues, but also work with someone who’s working production line or yeah, you should know a little bit German. Yeah, it’s often important.

Chris Pyak: Good. Next points, how many bullet points should I have in my CV per employment?

Ute Blindert: Yeah, it depends on how important this company or this point is in your CV. I always say it’s something like I would say like a candy experience as something very special, you should write something about four to five bullet points. If it’s not so important, you can maybe use two to three.

Chris Pyak: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay, good. I switched a little bit between the questions we got in advanced and the last questions. Here’s one from Victor and I want to pick it because I have a feeling where this comes from and I got questions like this before and that is, “If I want to apply for a job with low education [inaudible 00:45:44] University, should I put my bachelor degree and all experiences related in the CV label stuff.” I think I take this question because Victor if I guess correctly, then the reason why you want to make an announcement is because you feel that with your existing professional background with your bachelor’s degree, you can’t break into the market.
Now if I’m wrong and you really want to just start at all the different career, then I’m sorry then I misunderstood you. If the reasons that you faced so much rejection with your bachelor degree that you feel like you have to start from the beginning, my advice is don’t do this. I remember a day about three years ago, I give a speech at the American Women’s Club here in Dusseldorf, and later I sit together with some of the women there and we talked about their life, and two of them both asked me am I good enough. They were really after two years trying and searching and trying to find a job. They were really desperate and felt like am I good enough, and one of them used to work for the London School of Economics and the other one had a degree from Berkeley.

Ute Blindert: Incredible.

Chris Pyak: Yeah, terrible actually.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: If my guess is right, then let me tell you there’s nothing wrong with your education, you don’t need to start from scratch. You need to talk to different people.

Ute Blindert: You’re right.

Chris Pyak: You need to do networking like Ute said and reach out to the managers instead of HR.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely right. Yeah, you’re right. Yeah. I mean Germans are often kind of … They are focused on qualifications, on marks and on, I don’t know, [foreign language 00:47:46], please say …

Chris Pyak: Yeah, everything that you couldn’t put a stamp on.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, everything you couldn’t put a stamp on is freely German. This is a difference.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. It’s not nice to say, but my guess is that the real reason why we are so focused on stamped of course is security, and not a security of the company, but our own security.

Ute Blindert: Yes, you’re right.

Chris Pyak: Because if you had stamp, then it means you didn’t do anything wrong.

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Chris Pyak: Good. Next letter is [inaudible 00:48:18], first criteria for HR doing the sorting out applications, CV or cover letter? Which is first?

Ute Blindert: Yeah. I would say CV … Sorting out or to look at?

Chris Pyak: Let me check again one moment. I think that’s the first thing when they decide what to keep and what to get to the next round, which applications they will put aside to have a further look and which applications they will reject right away. What do they first look at the CV or the cover letter?

Ute Blindert: It’s the CV, it’s the CV. Usually at the CV, but I also know HR people who prefer to have a look at the first look at the cover letter. Well, it really depends on the person, but I’ve worked for companies who are looking for persons with technical background. They have more the engineer’s view, perspective and so that everything has to be has to be in order, so they like CVS because they aren’t in it tables and everything is really like with bullet points and things like that. It was a CV first.

Chris Pyak: Yeah. When in doubt, call them up and ask.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: What is important to you?

Ute Blindert: Yeah. No. I mean no because this is not really … I mean it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter which part he or she is looking at first, it doesn’t matter for you …

Chris Pyak: You know why you should …

Ute Blindert: You just write a good CV and then you also write a good cover letter because you don’t send your CV and then you send your cover letter. No, you send everything all together so it doesn’t matter for you. Don’t call.

Chris Pyak: You know why you should call them?

Ute Blindert: Nope.

Chris Pyak: It is very good that you have a different view points. It’s very good for our listeners.

Ute Blindert: Yeah.

Chris Pyak: You know why you should call them because when you have them on the phone, you have a pretext to ask them, by the way, I have two questions that I want to ask you, so that I can prepare my CV in a way that’s easy for you to evaluate, and the first question is what is the biggest challenge you try to solve with this position and why is this important, and the second one how do you measure success in this position. If you ask this question to an HR person and you get a usable, realistic, intelligent answer, then please call me and you win a prize because unfortunately I’m sorry if I bet miles HR, but it would be the first time that I ever get a really good answer to this question from an HR person.

Ute Blindert: Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, yeah, but … [crosstalk 00:51:11]. Yeah, yeah, no, no. I understand you. I mean I can understand and it’s also like challenging, but I really think it’s more like a service position and the problem is sometimes that … I mean of course they had the service position and of course I don’t know all the things that the persons are doing.

Chris Pyak: To be fair, they often have 60 or 80 jobs that they have to fill …

Ute Blindert: Yeah, yeah.

Chris Pyak: You ask a little bit of them.

Ute Blindert: You can’t know all the things. I mean you can do that, you can call, but I wouldn’t do that, this is kind of questions, no.

Chris Pyak: Okay, good. This is very good. I like it when we have a different viewpoint because then it helps the people who listen to hear both sides of the argument and to make mind up for themselves. Another one, this is a nice one, that’s a little bit longer. “As a young talented engineer who prides himself on being an out-of-the-box problem solver, I sometimes find the insistence on a German CV format stifling and restrictive. I have been successful in my home country by sending applications that highlight my skills rather than following a trite and trusted 0815 CV recipe. Any suggestions or ideas on how to transfer my innovativeness into my job applications or asked to get job interviews and naturally lead to an interesting job? Would be helpful.”
How do look HR people on a more creative CV, I would translate it like this.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay, I don’t have marks for you, like numbers for you. I would try. I mean you should try it. I mean the thing behind this is that you think and that you are moment … You are convinced, you are so convinced that you would like to show your creative personality, and so it’s important for you to work in a creative company and work with creative people. Try to figure out where are they. I mean this is through networking, look at communal or a glass door. Maybe you can explain this later and do a little research for companies and people that are interested in things like that. If it’s so important for you, then you should find a company where this is also important.
Maybe you should just try to have a look at the kind of German CV and at your narrative CV and maybe change it a little bit more in a German CV style, but not too much because if it’s really your thing you want to do, you should try to do that. I wouldn’t change it too much. Maybe you just have to look a little bit longer and maybe what you should also do is just use your profiles at LinkedIn or Xing, which is a German professional network, which is very important in Germany still. Yeah, it really is because I had a training last week with HR people and they said is they always look through Xing, they do active sourcing through Xing.
Maybe you should use your professional profile there to do a little bit more in a formal way and also put your CV in your narrative way. I’m really sure if you’re a really professional person and you know your things, you will find something.

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Chris Pyak: Yeah, I agree.

Ute Blindert: What do you say Chris? Are you the same? Do you have the same as me?

Chris Pyak: Yeah, I totally …

Ute Blindert: You may have another idea …

Chris Pyak: No, no, I totally wanted to support you here. Xing in Germany is still much, much more important than LinkedIn because 10 million people on Xing and as you said widely Ute every recruiter about also every manager who is interested in you, they will check your Xing profile. If you don’t have a Xing profile, it means that you are an unknown item and as we mentioned before, things that are unknown or unusual or we don’t know, that’s never good in dealing with German employers. If you don’t have a Xing profile, it’s free of charge, that would be the first thing that I would change over my Xing account.

Ute Blindert: Yeah. I mean it’s free of charge. You have a basic profile, but I would recommend the premium profile. It’s not very expensive. It’s something worth euros a month and if you have for one year, it’s even cheaper. The good thing then is that you can do a research by yourself yeah and the research in Xing to look for companies to set some filters. It’s really, really good. You can really do good research for people, for companies, and it’s really easy. It’s much easier than doing research through LinkedIn. Yeah, much easier.

Chris Pyak: Exactly. That’s what I used with my paying coaching clients. I even offer them a guarantee. I guarantee that candidates find a job within six months if they implement my program, and that’s exactly what we do a. We use Xing. They choose a job that they are interested in and then use Xing to find the most likely manager behind it.

Ute Blindert: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that’s a good …

Chris Pyak: I will introduce them to the to this manager so they can talk directly with the manager about the real challenges for the shop instead of talking to HR.

Ute Blindert: Yeah. Yeah, this is really good. It’s a really good way. This is one thing I really recommend. Yeah.

Chris Pyak: Good. Maybe let’s take two more questions because we are close up to .. We wanted to make 30 minutes, we are close up to one hour now.

Ute Blindert: Oh gosh.

Chris Pyak: What’s really interesting, time flies with you Ute. One question is, is a narrative paragraph explaining my unique background and experience acceptable in addition to the lines of positions and achievements?

Ute Blindert: Yes, of course. Yeah. I told before that’s a German CV now is a little bit … It has really changed. It’s modernized, it’s Americanized I would say, so a little paragraph in front I mean between the contact information and all the experiences. You can put a little narrative in there. What you could also do, but I don’t like it so much, is to have like a front page you, use the front page, put your if you’d like to a picture there and then write your phrase there. I don’t recommend an extra page. I recommend a front page. I don’t really like it because I really like it to have everything on one page, I mean on the first page, the main things on the first page.

Chris Pyak: Very good. Last question, do I need to mention my age? Quite frankly, I have people who are maybe 50, 55 years looking for a career change. Should they mention the age? Do they need to …

Ute Blindert: No, they don’t to. You don’t have to mention this because the anti-discrimination law says that you can’t be discriminated because of age, prediction, sex …

Chris Pyak: Gender.

Ute Blindert: Gender, sexual orientation, and religion, things like that. I mean of course if you write about your work experience, everybody of course will get an idea how old you are.

Chris Pyak: If your earliest employer was the Emperor, then you will understand that you’re not that young anymore.

Ute Blindert: Then you will be a famous person and will be on television and not have to apply for jobs.

Chris Pyak: Exactly, exactly. Ute Blindert …

Ute Blindert: Yes.

Chris Pyak: Thank you so much for joining us

Ute Blindert: Yeah, thank you for having here.

Chris Pyak: For the people who listened to this podcast, many of them, they have quite a lot of work experience so they will be in positions where they can hire people once they find a job. If they are looking to have a good way, how to reach out to young students, where could they find you?

Ute Blindert: They could find me on my web page, it’s just like my name YouTube, uteblindert.de. point de, and you can also look at all the social and professional online profiles look for my name. I’m also on Twitter with Ute Blindert.

Chris Pyak: Ute Blindert, and you can find her on uteblindert.de. Maybe check out also her different books, especially her networks and job if you speak Jam already. I thank you very much for joining us tonight. My name is Chris Pyak. I’m the managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH and I wish you success. Bye-bye.

Ute Blindert: Okay, bye-bye.

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