We’ve all been there before. We find a company we like, scroll through their career page, find nothing we like, catch a glimpse of the ‘Submit an open application’ button, and continue our quest to find a job opportunity that resonates with our interests, experience and beliefs.
We too have one such button at Determ, and we too try to explain the benefit of submitting an open application by listing bullet points and crafting paragraphs describing the whys and wherefores of open applications. Essentially, we try to pitch our open application to those who, at the moment of scrolling, did not find the job opportunity for them, and have them come forward.
I’ve noticed that our open applications don’t get nearly as much attention as other open positions – and it makes sense, to a certain extent. After all, we don’t advertise our open application slot. I’ve thought about different ways of rephrasing our whys and wherefores, enriching the pitch thing and whatnot, to try and get more (quality) applications.
And then it hit me – I myself have never submitted an open application, although I have been interested in prospective job opportunities in different companies. Not because I was subconsciously not interested enough, or too busy (or lazy) to update my CV and write a cover letter, but because I didn’t really know how to. With that in mind, let’s step away from the whys and wherefores, and focus on the hows.
Let’s start with a true, yet very true cliché: at Determ, we really mean it when we say you can create your own opportunity. Just like we support each one of our employees in refining and even recreating their opportunity at Determ, we want to give you all the resources you could possibly need to make sure your application is more than that – a true representation of your experiences, ideas, and aspirations.
We want to see as much of the person behind the application as possible before we meet you – and here’s how you can make sure we see you.
Send us your CV – but first, follow our instructions to craft the best possible one
- Get to know us. Your CV should reflect who you are and what you do, but it should also tell us something about where you see yourself at Determ specifically. Before you send in your application, set aside some time to stalk us and see what we’re about, then adapt the old generic CV you have lying around to showcase what you’re about, and where we fit in there.
- What exactly should you include, you ask? Anything you feel is relevant – it can be a past position, somewhere you volunteered, a competition, participation in an event, anything at all.
- If you want to, you can summarize who you are, what you did, and where you’re going in your personal statement – a CV section consisting of one or two brief sentences about yourself. This is not a must, though it helps us get an overview of your whole application.
- While we’re at it – want an overview of who we are? Here’s our own CV.
- Let your experiences speak about your skills and personality. Now that you know what to include, think about how to make the what meaningful. Honestly, you can list the best possible assortment of experiences in your CV, but they’ll remain just that – things you did. Make a point to illustrate the skills you’ve gained on that position, the interest that conference sparked in you, the success you achieved while volunteering in that student association, the impact of your personality on that project. The clearest and easiest way to do this is to briefly clarify each experience you choose to include.
- Mind the length. Your CV is an introduction, not a whole monologue. Think of it as a handshake. No one likes overly long handshakes, so keep it two pages max – we’ll have plenty of time to expand on it!
- Don’t forget the basics. Your personal and contact information, education and (relevant) certificates/other form of qualification, relevant tools/languages, and your portfolio (if you have one) should be there somewhere.
- Think outside the box. We didn’t mention Europass or Canva for a reason. You know who you are, you have an idea about how to contribute to our story, and you can demonstrate it to us in the format that feels most like you. We do hope it’s not a book, though – whatever you do, think ‘overview’ and ‘concise.’
If you need more space – send us a cover letter. How?
- Talk about (y)our future. Your CV showed us your past, what it led up to, and a snippet of where you see your story going. Your cover letter is not here to rewrite your CV in sentence form, but to give you an opportunity to expand on that snippet of the future from your CV. If that future entails a career switch – tell us about it. If your future means starting your professional career at Determ – tell us about it. Whatever it may be – tell us about it.
- Don’t get carried away. If a CV is like a handshake, a cover letter is like a “hey, nice to meet you”. In other words, keep this one under a page, and save the rest for our future conversation.
Finally, for further demystification – what happens after you do all this?
For starters, you’ll need some patience. If you’re lucky, we’ll get back to you the same day or the day after. If you’re a bit less lucky, we’ll get back to you in two weeks’ time, max. In any case, you’ll get a non-automated-response email from us.
In the meantime, we will thoroughly review your application, check if you could be a fit for any current or upcoming open positions, and discuss whether there is a spot for you in one of our teams (Product, Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, People Operations, Finance) directly with our team heads.
Based on this, you will receive feedback from us. Here are a few options:
- If we conclude that you could be a fit for a currently open position, we’ll let you know and check if you’re interested in it. If it ends up being so, your open application will become your application for the open position in question, you will be involved in the selection process – and we will meet up. 😊
- If we gather that you could be a fit for a future position, we will meet up with you to find out more about your interests, talk about the position, and figure out next steps.
- If we don’t have any currently open or planned positions that we see you in, but you spark the interest of one of our team heads, we will – you guessed it – meet up. This is where the ‘create your own opportunity’ cliché stops being a cliché. Granted, we have a hiring plan and we tend to stick to it, but who’s to say that your own aspirations and interests won’t enlighten us enough to create a position for you? It may not be tomorrow, but it sure may happen. (We’ve driven down Opportunity Road before – Lucija has moved from Customer Success to Data Analysis under our roof, and Alen became our developer by reaching out to us via open application when we really weren’t actively looking for devs.)
- If we see something we like in your application – experience, shared values, personality, and/or just plain potential – we’ll be happy to start a conversation with you and stay in touch, even if we can’t guarantee you a spot on the team tomorrow or in the foreseeable future. If we’re a fit, we’ll become something like each others’ clients: we’ll give each other recommendations, advice, and feedback, and we may even invite you to internal events that may interest you. 😊
- Time for us to be really, really honest – we’d love to meet each and every person who submits an open application right away, because even the most well-crafted submission can’t compete with meeting the person behind it in flesh and blood. However, with our hiring needs, project deadlines, and other business needs, there are times when we just don’t have the time and resources to schedule meetings with each person. In other words, not every Open Application @ Determ feedback is an invitation to meet. It may be underwhelming, but there is a chance that we’ll kindly thank you for your interest and ask you if we can reach out to you once we have something to offer. Don’t be discouraged, though – there are still two things you can do about this.
- Keep up with us, and trust us. We know – the dreaded ‘thank you’ email is often the last email you get from a company. And we can’t promise that we’ll ever reach out to you with a job opportunity. We don’t make promises we can’t keep. Still, you can stick around, follow what we do, and look out for open positions. Apart from social media, we have a Talent Community you can join and get occasional updates about us, and educational content related to your field of interest.
- Go back to square one. Frankly, maybe you got the ‘thank you’ email because your application just wasn’t compelling enough. In other words, it either didn’t reflect you properly, or it reflected too little to leave something for us to review. So glimpse your CV, read your cover letter, and think about whether they make for a true representation of you and the opportunity you’re after. Better yet, have a friend read your application and tell you whether that’s you it’s talking about. Scroll back to our instructions, too – they’re here for your benefit. If you come up with a new and improved version of your CV and cover letter, you’re welcome to send them our way a second time. Don’t spam, though – that won’t get you anywhere.
Now go and do well.