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Application letter
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Are you looking for a job and have come across an interesting position for yourself? Now it is a case of: Get on the computer and write an application with which you can make an impression! However, how can you succeed in presenting yourself in an effective way so that your future company will notice you and make you stand out from all of the other applicants? Our application letter tips will make you stand out from the crowd and ensure that your standard application will be something special and that you will present yourself in an individual way.

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Score points with your application

In order to really score points with your next application, you should orient yourself to our application checklist:

Right Arrows Hays

Read the job ad properly

Before you put your entire energy into an application, read the entire respective job advert in a concentrated way. In this way, you will recognise at an early stage whether you really are the right candidate.

Pay special attention to usable details about your future job. By means of the job advert, find out which company and which area it involves, and also which duties you will be expected to perform and which requirement profile you should bring with you. You can determine whether you are suitable for the position on offer by simply comparing the required qualifications with your expertise. When you are doing this, pay attention to formulations such as “must” (you have to have this qualification) or “must ideally have

Impress with your personal application letter

Your letter is often the first thing of yours which your future employer will see and read. It is your opportunity to impress from the start. An individually designed application letter is guaranteed to be more successful than any standard application.

You can show that you are the optimum candidate for the position that is on offer. Highlight your qualities and capabilities which are the most suitable for the respective position. You will succeed in doing this by comparing your experience from your current job, your training or your previous experience with the requirements of the job advert. On the basis of two or three relevant examples of your professional experience, you can show that you are already bringing in-depth knowledge from the required areas with you.

In addition to showing your qualifications, some formal things are also important for your potential future company. Ensure that the application is personally addressed to the person who is responsible for HR, and that you use an appropriate style. It essentially depends on your industry whether the style of your application letter should be laid back or more conservative. In your letter to an advertising agency, you can use a more relaxed style and therefore present your creativity. The job advert itself can also be useful in finding the correct choice of words. Adapt your letter to the style, and decide whether it should be formal or informal, for example.

In some job adverts, a motivation letter is explicitly requested in addition to the application letter. In this case, focus on your personal goals and justify why you are particularly suitable for job on the basis of your personality. The application letter is useful as an interface between the motivation letter and the advertised position when doing this.

Another tip:Keep it short and simple. An application letter should be no longer than an A4 page. You should therefore avoid long-winded formulations.

Recruiter’s insights: all of the tips for a perfect letter

Our expert will tell you in a short and concise way what you should pay attention to in your next application letter. You will be provided with valuable tips for making formulations which will make an immediate impression. For example, did you know that you should never use the conjunctive in your application? Take a look at the tips and bring your application letter to a higher level with some simple tips.

Your CV – an important part of your application documents

Whereas you have advertised yourself in the best possible way in your letter, your CV provides a good overview of all of the important stages of your life that are relevant for the position. The responsible HR specialists will be able to get a comprehensive picture of you and your experience and qualifications.

There are no fixed regulations as to how a CV should be structured or how long it should be. However, several standards have established themselves. In Germany it is normal to give the CV a tabular structure, consist of a maximum of 2 pages of A4 and sort the stages in chronologically descending order. This will allow the reader to start with your current job, which will provide the best insight into your main technical skills.

Give your CV a logical structure – we will show you how to do it:

  1. Contact data with photograph (if anonymised application required: without photo)
  2. Professional experience
  3. Professional experience including internships
  4. Training
  5. School education
  6. If applicable: Details of voluntary or military service
  7. Training and further education
  8. Special knowledge and capabilities such as IT knowledge, foreign languages and soft skillss
  9. Leisure activities/honorary offices

Our tip:

Make use of the space, and list keywords or short explanations concerning relevant activities. This will allow you to also highlight qualifications for the position in which you are interested in the CV, and present your capabilities in an optimum way.

If you include language skills in your CV, specify the level thereof (e.g. A2) – but beware: be realistic, since you may be tested during interviews.

Round off your CV with a list of your hobbies, which provides an insight into your interests outside work. These can be a good basis for small talk during the interview.

Sample CVs for free downloading

Do you want a template for perfecting your application and the tips and tricks for using the application letter and the CV? You can simply download our sample CVs with just a few clicks, and edit them using your word processing software (e.g. MS Word).

The perfect CV: summarised for you in a brief and concise way

Your CV is your entrance ticket to an initial interview. Our expert will show you what to pay attention to when creating a clearly arranged CV. For example, you can show your skills in your background. Would you like to receive more simple tips for your CV? In about 3 minutes, you will also know how to present yourself in a super way.

Your CV can do much more

Is your CV produced and ready? It’s not as easy as that. Even if your background has not changed, there are several tweaks that you can make to hit home with your CV. Find out how easily you can design your CV in an attractive way in order to get an initial foot in the door with your new employer.

Application letter: References are proof of your skills

References give you the opportunity to provide evidence of your qualifications in the application documents. At the same time, you create trust in your future company. In Germany, it is therefore normal to attach your qualification certificates from your training and the work references from your professional jobs to the document. If you have had further education which has a direct link to the advertised position and is a maximum of five years old, be sure to send this with your application.

Application photo – a matter of attitude

Application photographs are still a standard constituent of an application in Germany. However, increasing numbers of companies are dispensing with photographs or age details in order to avoid (un)intentional discrimination. If you are unsure about this, you should ask the company beforehand.

If you decide to use an application photograph, be sure to be professional – with regard to your appearance and also the quality of the photo. Consider the fact that you want to present yourself from your best side.

The location in which you place your application photo depends on the structure of your application documents. If you design a special cover sheet, position your photo directly there. Otherwise, the first page of your CV is the right place for your application photo.

Application channels – your application can go in many directions

Nowadays you can apply to a company in many different ways. Be it by post, e-mail, the company’s own applicant portal, the profile database of an online job market or in the form of a social media profile. We will also provide you with valuable tips so that you find the correct form for the respective channel.

You should adhere to the correct order for your application documents:

  • Letter (motivation letter if necessary)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • References

Your postal application letter

You should only apply by post if this is expressly requested. Do not send your documents as a collection of loose pages, but organised in a professional application folder. The presentation of your documents is always decisive for the success of your application.

Apply by e-mail

Send your application documents by e-mail to the address of the contact person from the job advertisement. To do this, store your application documents (letter, CV, references) in a PDF file. The file should ideally be named after yourself, and be no bigger than three megabytes in size.
Use the subject line to specify the reference number of the advertised position or the job title. The text of the e-mail should be a copy of your letter. You can summarise here and refer to your application. You can also send speculative applications wonderfully by email.

Applicant portal of a company or online job market

Applicant portals often contain concrete specifications. Go through the provided form one step at a time, and store your information. The potential employer receives your application exactly in the form that is required. In order to underline your personality and individuality, we recommend using the free text entry options. .

Application via a social media profile with your preferred company

You can use career networks such as LinkedIn and XING to network and build up new contacts, but also to be able to apply directly to your preferred company. On the other hand, companies also use these platforms as a recruiting tool. Some companies specifically look for applicants on career networks (active sourcing). They find applicants via the settings in their profile, and can contact them in a quick and uncomplicated way.

If you wish to use your profile in a career network for job seeking, think about whether the contents thereof would be of interest to employers. You can consciously decide which information should be visible to others (or not). Create your profile in a professional and complete way so that you are easy to find, and interested persons get a picture of you and your skills in as comprehensive a way as possible. Gradually build up a network of different contacts in order to extend the range of your profile, and actively participate in discussions and articles. In this way, you will attract the attention of potential employers to yourself and they will actively approach you.

Our tip: Your social media activities on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc. may be very interesting to your future employers. You can share some quite private moments there with the entire world or at least a selected group of people. If your profile is public, it can be viewed by your future employees. You should therefore consider which information you would like to show to which persons, and be sure to check your privacy settings.

Have you directly implemented the tips for our application letter and would like to know whether you are any closer to your dream job?

This content might also interest you:

The Hays CV-Guide

Design your perfect CV

Impress your future employees with your individual CV. Get valuable tips in the Hays CV Guide and stand out from the multitude of applications. We will show you how to perfect your CV!

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