Why Having a CV Can Stop You From Getting a Great Job in Switzerland

I recently stumbled upon this blog post from Seth Godin about CVs and the question if you should actually even have one. I completely agree with Seth on this and here is why.


Sending in Your CV Makes Rejecting You Easy

If you see a job published somewhere on a job board, LinkedIn or a company website and send in your CV, what is the result that you most of the time get?

When HR or a recruiter receives 200 CVs for one single job opening and at least 20 of these CVs match almost identically for that job description, what do you think HR will be looking for in these 20 CVs to reduce them to 5 people to interview?

If you are one of these 20 people who think their CV matches perfectly with the job description, congratulations, you just entered the lottery.

What can HR do to select the “best” CVs of those top 20? What HR usually does is consult with the hiring manager for 10-50% more requirements that would make the person even fit better into that box of the job that was created. 

The problem? You have no idea what those 10-50% actually are so you are playing the lottery.

I have seen this scenario over and over again in Switzerland while recruiting myself so it’s not a myth, it’s real. HR gets so overwhelmed with CVs for even senior executive positions, that they have to look for clues to reject applicants.


So What Can You do About it? 

Find a way to talk to somebody at the company, build a meaningful relationship with your future co-workers before you even start talking about a job or build a reputation so strong that people have no choice but to hire you.

This is what I focus on when working with my coaching clients because it’s the most effective way to break into the hidden job market in Switzerland.


When You Should Have a CV

If you want to go through the hell of fierce competition against people with a high likelihood of having some more experience, one more skill listed on the CV or a higher or more specific education, you should have a CV and send it in.

If you want an average job with a low level of responsibility, a mid-range salary and a job where you come into an office early morning and leave late night with the feeling of not having accomplished anything, you should have a CV and send it in.


When you Should Not Have a CV

If you think your personality is what makes you unique and not your experience or education, you should not have a CV.

If you want a job that others would kill for, a high salary and a job where you get to make change happen, where you get to innovate and be creative and where you go to work with a big smile every morning and leave with the same facial expression after work because the organizations values align with your personal values, you should not have a CV.


How to Get a Job Without a CV

If you have been brainwashed into believing the only thing that can get you a job is a CV, you should rethink. The CV is a fairly new invention, created to fit into the industrial era. However, this era has come to an end and you should rethink your approach before it’s too late.

Start with making a connection with people you find interesting. Congratulate then on their achievements and say thank you for whatever you find them interesting for.

If they have written a book, buy it and send them a short note.

If they have done a significant project, read the reports and email them your opinion on the topic.

If they are planning a change in any form – career change, new project, new product launch, expansion, etc. – offer your help, insights and connections.

When you get the chance or when it feels comfortable, throw in that you are in a career transition or open to new career opportunities.

Make sure your communication is clear and effective by working through the Communication Excellence Workbook.

This will get you much further than the path that everybody else walks. Remember that you are not most people.


Do the Test and Take Action

I challenge you to test it.

The job market is split into 80/20. 20% of jobs that are filled are advertised and in many cases not the best jobs out there. 80% of the jobs that are filled are not advertised.

Use the next 3 months to spend your time more wisely according to this rule. Spend 20% of your time on advertised jobs and leave it at that. Use the remaining 80% to get a job without a CV as outlined above.


The Impact This Test Can Have

According to Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Therefore, if you limit your time to spend on job applications to 20% rigorously, something beautiful will happen. You are suddenly able to complete everything you had to complete in these 20%. This will force you to rethink what to do with the remaining 80%.

Also, you will suddenly realized the potential of the hidden job market (80% of all filled jobs) because you will develop real relationships around people you are genuinely interested in and some of them will start offering their help to you. 

Make sure you keep your eyes and ears very open to opportunities so you don’t miss any of them. They don’t usually come in the form of a statement like “Hey, I am actually exactly looking for a person like you to hire”. Rather, they will come in forms of “We are growing quickly but it’s hard to keep up with X.” or “We are planning to expand to Y but we are facing issue Z.”


Start with joining the Career Network in Switzerland today and start a discussion around your intentions. Some amazing connections have been made there and people share job leads and help each other out with shared experience and advice.