Perfectly positioned for the job application of the future?

Published on 11.12.2018

What will influence the personnel decisions of tomorrow? How can candidates score points? Let’s start with the classic components: cover letter, resume, degrees and certificates. Is the emphasis shifting here?
Assessing the significance of each element can sometimes vary considerably with each aspirant. Most candidates consider the cover letter especially important, today and going forward. In contrast, companies have come to place less value on the cover letter. Even more than before, the resume stands front and center for potential employers and contractors.

The resume and practical experience top the list.

Recruiters in the field of IT consider the resume and the occupational experience it reflects as particularly significant. Playing into this is the fact that online applications, much more so than traditional application by mail, lead to evaluation of resumes, degrees and certificates prior to the cover letter. Previously, decision-makers’ first glance fell automatically on the cover letter and applicant photo. But this is no longer the case. Currently and in the future, the other components are often given priority. In many cases, candidates have already been shortlisted before an eye has even been cast on the cover letter. It is often not even taken into consideration.

Once-meaningful school certificates are rapidly losing influence on personnel decisions. This is especially true when companies are seeking IT and software experts. School certificates are all but insignificant here. Important today and going forward are experience, recent job certificates and references, technical and university degrees, and language skills.

Algorithms filter applicants, a trend that will continue.

Already today, modern application-management systems can pre-screen applicants using previously specified algorithms. Only then does a flesh and blood person see the files and documents. The importance of software in personnel decisions will increase in the coming years, auguring cost and time savings, and even more neutrality with regard to an applicant’s gender, appearance, and family background. Digitization and the Internet also facilitate personal acquaintance with a candidate. Many recruiters and companies are already using video interviews.

Social networks improve the visibility of potential candidates.

While both online and email application have long been standard procedure, the picture at the two largest professional networks, Xing and LinkedIn, is more ambivalent. It has become customary to maintain a profile with at least one of the leading networks, and Xing and LinkedIn provide candidates with the advantage of being accessible online. For qualifications in high demand, candidates can also be contacted there directly, which is often the case in the IT sector. Convenient for candidates – but the actual decision for an applicant is not generally made here. The networks serve primarily to initiate contacts. Most successful applications will occur today and in the foreseeable future via personnel procurement, job portals, and company websites.

More rational decisions on future applications.

What’s positive about these trends: Components which the candidates themselves can influence, such as the resume, gain influence. Algorithms, and particularly pre-screening, make the application process more rational and neutral. The distant past, like school certificates, becomes even more insignificant. The focus falls ever more on expertise. All of these factors are trending toward accommodating the self-employed and freelancers.

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