1. Job descriptions are negotiable
When looking for a new job or internship in Luxembourg, you could be tempted to target your research as narrow as possible, and only apply to job ads that totally match your skills and expectations. And there are not that many. The truth that no one told you about is that the person who wrote the job description did it thinking about the best profile that he or she could ever hire, knowing that the candidate they will really hire will not match all the required criteria.
In Luxembourg, the most wanted competences remain languages. Recruiters are often asking for excellent written and oral English, French, German and Luxembourgish skills, which can intimidate future applicants. However, if you think that you can meet all the other expectations of the offer, you should not hesitate to apply. Show them that you will be able to add value to the company, in your own way.
2. Your CV will be screened in 30 seconds only
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”— Andrew Grant
If you probably know the quote, did you know that it also applies to recruitment? As a recruiter will sometimes see more than 100 applications a day, you should arrange your resume so that all important information can jump out at their eyes. Organize your professional experiences by anti-chronological order, add a clear job title that matches the job ad, use a maximum of 3 different colors and limit yourself: no more than 2 pages long.
There are no strict rules regarding the creation of a CV in Luxembourg. However, since the country is mainly composed of foreign workers (28% of the workforce coming from outside the country, according to Statec in 2018), you should adapt your application to the nationality of the desired company. To find out more about the nationality of a company, try to take a look at its career page or Moovijob company page. You will then be able to decide in which language you should write, if you should include your photo or not, etc.
3. Ask yourself the question « why me? » when writing a cover letter
According to Marlous De Leeuw, head of Employer Branding and Sourcing at Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL), when writing a cover letter, you should start by asking yourself the question « why me? ». This way, you will avoid one of the most common mistake when writing an application message: copy your resume. In fact, your cover letter or application message should not be a summary of your CV, but the opposite. It is supposed to provide added value to your application, and to show your personality. Most importantly, it should answer the question « why should the recruiter hire you and not another candidate? ».
To achieve that, it is important to have an excellent knowledge of the job offer and the company that published it. If it can help, start by creating a bullet point for each reason you think you can add value to the company and then, select the 3 or 4 most important ones and expand them. Be careful, as Marlous De Leeuw also affirm that recruiters « don’t like to see candidates exaggerate or brag about themselves ». And we agree. One more tip: « A cover letter should be no more than one page. Keep it concise. ».
4. Create multiple versions of your resume
During your job search process, create a resume is one of the first big steps. When applying on jobboards, where thousands of candidates post their CV everyday, get your resume noticed and stand out from other applicants, should be your #1 priority. One simple trick is to personalize it according to the company and the job ad. In fact, you should have as many versions of your resume on your computer as the number of offers you applied to, so that, instead of sending the same version to many employers, you can tailor it and emphasize the right skills. For example, if the company is looking for a specific tech skill, make sure to put it in first position in your resume to make it pop out to the eyes of recruiters.
5. Choose a manager, not a company
Some people believe that, if they can manage to enter a Fortune-500 or a Big-Four company, their career path will be all set. It is true to some extent, for some specific jobs and careers, but not for the majority. Especially in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Despite its small size, the country is well-known for the importance of networking and word-of-mouth is often more valued than the reputation of the company itself. That is why, if you have several opportunities in Luxembourg, you should base you choice on the personality of your future manager after the first interview. Having a real mentor, able to highlight your skills, will certainly be a good help for your success in the country and for your career in general. So, it is better for your professional et personal development to choose a small company with good people than a big group with a bad management, where your career would be pretty much stagnant.