Would you like to get your foot in the door in the business world and take off or are you looking for a new challenge? If so, then your application should convince us! You should invest up to four hours in a good application. Your application packet should not only be presented clearly and have structure, but it should also fit to the company's and the position's specific requirements. We will show you with our career tips what you should be aware of and which factors contribute to a good application.
What form should the application take?
Most companies today prefer applications in electronic form. Keep in mind that some companies nowadays do not even accept applications sent by mail. If in doubt, call the company directly and ask what their preferred form is.
Summarize your application details in one (maximum three) PDF documents. This approach helps you to compress your data in a secure format.
Order of your application documents:
- Cover page
- Cover letter
- Attachments (testimonials, certificates, etc.)
Choose a uniform layout for your documents. This helps create a professional first impression.
- Color scheme
- Uniform spacing, page margins and headers and footers
- A legible font (e.g. Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman) in size 10-12 points.
Compete your application with a professional photograph in appropriate clothing done by a photographer.
The cover letter
A cover letter is a motivational letter. It should not consist of a summary of your resume, it should rather show your motivation for wanting to work for the company or a certain part thereof. Describe your ideas and goals and try to find common areas with the desired position.
With an interesting introduction you will awake the interest of the HR representative in your person and leave a first positive impression.
Write an individual cover letter and look closely into the company and the position. Standardized cover letters leave a negative impression and signal a lack of interest in the company.
Ideally at the end of the cover letter you should state your earliest possible starting date.
- Your cover letter should not exceed one page
- Include your complete contact data (in the header or at the top, left-justified):
- Telephone number
- E-mail address
- Make sure that the address of the company as well as the respective contact person are correctly written (ideally you should call and ask the company in advance)
- Include the place and the current date (e.g. Munich, January 1, 2011)
- Do not forget the name of the position as well as the respective reference number. Furthermore, mention how you found out about the vacancy.
- Your cover letter will appear more structured if you use paragraphs
- Do not forget the salutation with your personal or alternatively digital signature
The resume / sample
The resume is the center piece of your application. Here it is important to present your vita clearly and with good structure, and fill it with content:
- For every position you occupied, mention the title, the company name and possibly the department you worked for
- Describe your activities at the individual stations in key words. This helps the HR representative to gain an insight into the contents (3-5 key points)
- List ALL your skills: e.g. IT skills, language skills, other qualifications, certificates, workshops, etc.
- In the category "School education" it is sufficient to include your last school including the school leaving certificate.
- If there are gaps in your resume, explain these
- General approach: in reverse chronological order
- State your date of birth, your place of birth and your citizenship
- This is how you can give your resume a clear structure:
- Divide your resume in categories: e.g. work experience, internships/working student programs, training/school education, knowledge and skills (IT, languages, certificates, etc.) as well as personal interests
- Emphasize the individual stations in your resume by means of layout, in order to make it easier fot the HR representative to get an overview: Make headlines bold; use bullet points; use uniformly formatted dates (MM/JJJJ), etc.
Here you can find sample resume (in German) for orientation
Your testimonials are of particular importance, because they help give an insight into your individual fields of activity. That is why it is important to send in a testimonial from every station. Make sure that you select only informative testimonials. Feel free to include available references.