Mess, Dr. Andrea


The communication square in the application process - self-presentation made easy

In every job and career coaching, there comes a time when it comes to concrete work with job advertisements and applications. Then comes a shyness in almost all clients - what was exciting and often playful before suddenly becomes unpleasant. I call this the shyness of self-expression. We have hardly learned to praise ourselves in our culture. Is that pandering? Sell yourself? How does that even work?

Yes, how does self-presentation work in the application process, and with ease? In order to solve this problem in coaching, the communication square of the Schulz von Thun School offers a valuable strategy. It supports the application process in two essential points. On the one hand, it ensures complete communication by offering a simple and at the same time ingeniously accurate map of which aspects a successful utterance should include. In a nutshell, these are the factual level with information, the personal self-communication, the defining of the relationship with the counterpart as well as the appeal. On the other hand, the communication square enables a clever division and thus counteracts the pressure of self-advertising.

Neutral factual level instead of cramped self-praise

Let's take a closer look at how, for example, the cover letter can be structured with the communication square. First things first: when applying, all information about the applicant belongs to the subject level. This is the actual content in the application letter! So it's not about self-praise, but about the neutral listing of facts. "I am a systemic coach with many years of experience and keep my nerve in difficult situations" - this is a factual fact. It is one of the most moving moments of my work that people almost automatically relax with this new perspective. Then it suddenly makes me happy again to state facts like a detective so that the requirements in the job advertisement are fulfilled. Or to formulate your own applicant story in such a way that it fits exactly to it. Sober. Clear. In a nutshell. Voilà, the first cliff masterfully mastered!

Personal insights cleverly placed

Then, of course, it needs the me and you aspect. It is only here, at the self-disclosure, that it becomes personal; the clients give the future employer an insight into their inner world. This is where values or visions that have been developed in coaching come in handy. This ideally creates a reference to the overlap with the values or visions of the employer that have been researched beforehand. For example, I would only work with a company that, just like me, is committed to people, nature or peace. In this way, a client creates the employer's feeling of being "one of us" in a human way. From many years of experience in staffing committees, I know how important this is. This human factor often helps to overcome smaller, (still) non-existent requirements and is often the tip of the scales as to who will actually be hired.

The authentic wish when applying

Finally, we need an appeal to the future employer. Here, too, it relaxes the situation to know that an applicant may of course have wishes or may pursue a goal with the application. When I work this out with clients in coaching in an unbiased way, it can be summarized in an exaggerated way like this: "Cancel all other applicants and hire me!" Allowing oneself to really feel such an ostensibly outrageous desire as a goal aligns a person completely differently than a "let's see if they take me". Of course, as an experienced job coach, I help to find a friendly and coherent wording :-) It is so easy to create a feeling of "he / she is serious, he / she really wants to work here and is not immediately gone at the first difficulty or a better option" with the employer. This is the biggest problem of employers, who often have to put a lot of time and effort into familiarization. Now all that is needed is a coherent dramaturgy, how the four areas fit sensibly in the individual application and an attractive photo - then the documents can be sent.

Perfectly aligned for the job interview

The communication square is also wonderfully suitable for preparing for the job interview. I often practice with my clients in the role-playing game to answer the standard opening "Imagine for a moment" with a very condensed version of the structure worked out above. So don't make the mistake, then just lull down the resume. But to start the conversation with a well-thought-out, complete statement on the application situation. The perfect elevator pitch for your own person - and also feel comfortable doing it. Also for further questions in the job interview it helps to know which levels are currently being addressed or are still missing. Then, as an applicant, you can also incorporate aspects that have not (yet) been noticed courageously and skillfully and thus leave a round, appropriate impression. What a start for a possible job can be!