“I dream of not having to write a cover letter anymore”

You will be categorized with pseudo-scientific methods like Myers-Briggs, which is almost as efficient as hiring based on zodiac signs


The CV-based system of recruitment is evidently broken, writes our guest writer, Meursault. What can job seekers do?  

Given all these circumstances, I am wondering what is the best for us to do as individuals. We need the cash, we need the purpose and structure for our daily life. What do people do?

If you are really happy with what you do, you can stop reading this piece now and go back to work. 

For the rest of us out there, there are a few options:

1. Going with personal connections

I did career coaching once. It was of not much use in the end, but I remember one thing: the coach said most of the jobs are never posted. Therefore, the best way to find the right job is to talk to people directly and find jobs via personal connections. For me it never worked, as I am a lazy networker, but it can be your call. Or if you are from Central-Eastern Europe, make a Faustian pact by marrying the son or daughter of a government functionary responsible for pubic tenders in highway construction.

2. Hack the hell out of it

After you understand the system’s logic, you can follow a set of success-bringing steps: identify the tags, re-write your CV and cover letter accordingly (directly optimising them for the application tracker), send. Yawn. Repeat. You need to possess a certain degree of sociopathy to carry on in the long run. The advantage of hacking the system is that you can create several profiles, tailoring them for each position. Takes some work, but it seems to be an evolutionary response of survival to the rules of the Curriculum World.

3. Become a brand

Rigging the system in a more sophisticated way: Creating a public (online) image of yourself that can be defined by a unique set of tags. You “productify” yourself. You will determine who your clients are (in this case, potential employers), and spread your unique message around according to their needs via your blog or by making speeches in random conferences. The downside is that once you define your public face, it will be harder to follow strategy number 2, i.e. creating different parallel profiles for different jobs.

4. Become an Entrepreneur

The dream of many, the bread of the few. Entrepreneurs can afford the luxury of not having to write a CV. They work all the time, but for themselves.

They do not need to ask for anybody’s permission to do what they do.

They just do it. God bless entrepreneurs.

5. Internalise (Aka. Love the Big Brother) or let it go

If you do not have any other chance, you can accept unemployment or a simpler job with a lower wage.

Or love your hostage taker — your current job, even if you hate it. Not the ideal outcome, but can be preferable to demise:

“He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother”

 — The last lines of George Orwell’s 1984

Also, lowering your needs to the minimum frees you from pressures of consumerism and conforms with Stoic ethics. Yes, I know… almost impossible to do in a world where you see new iPhone 7 ads on every corner. I am hooked in too, no chance for me becoming a true Stoic.

NEXT: What should employers do differently?

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Featured image: Marc Chagall. I and the Village. 1911 | MoMA

2 thoughts on ““I dream of not having to write a cover letter anymore”

  1. Pingback: Why Do We Still Value Luck Above Merit? | Meanwhile in Budapest

  2. Pingback: Bye-Bye Curriculum World | Meanwhile in Budapest

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