Tips for a good application

An application consists of a cover letter and a CV. In addition, an application should contain references and other proof of personal skills and accomplishments, as well as a cover page. This blog post will give some helpful tips for creating the perfect application.

Comprehensive company research before applying

A complete and well-thought-out application requires comprehensive research about the company. This is not just helpful when writing the application, but also gives you additional confidence in the job interview and leaves a positive impression on the interviewer.

Application in the right format

When it comes to applications, first impressions are very important. The layout and format play a large role in how well you come off here, since they offer the HR manager a first overview of the applicant’s motivation. Applications often receive little attention if they do not conform to the usual formal criteria at first glance. Attention to an error-free and complete application is therefore recommended.

When applying by email, take care to compile as many of your documents as possible into a single PDF file. Tools for reading PDF documents include PDF Exchange Viewer and Adobe Reader. To assemble and print PDF documents, I recommend freely usable programmes such as PDF Creator and PDF24 Creator.

The cover letter – no clichés, no excessive adjectives

When reading applications, HR managers quickly notice whether the cover letter is “mass-produced”, and such cover letters bore them quickly. Clichés such as “I am writing to apply for…” can be replaced with creative introductory sentences that immediately arouse the reader’s interest.

The subject line should indicate for which position you are applying. Refer to the job title and reference number or application ID if stated in the job posting. Always try to find a direct addressee, rather than using the standard formulation “Dear Sir/Madam…” If no addressee is named in the job posting, call the company and enquire after the relevant person.

Elements of the text such as the greeting, introduction and conclusion can look similar on many applications. In the main section, however, it is important to draw a link between your career so far and the new company, referring to the industry, the job specification and the position. For online applications, larger firms often use so-called scan software to search the application for key words, so identify the desired requirements and highlight these qualifications in your cover letter.

Simple, well-formulated sentences are an integral component of a good application. Be convinced of your abilities when formulating your application, but avoid conceited adjectives. What qualities and knowledge are demanded by the job posting, which of these do you have and why? It is important that you always prove your qualities and experience with personal examples, rather than leaving them as empty phrases. Interviewers want to know why you believe you are best-suited for this role in particular. In total, a good cover letter is logically structured and fits on one side of A4.

The CV – the most important document for every applicant

The CV is another important component of the application. Interviewers recognise what qualifications and professional experience the applicant would bring. A clear, tabular format and a reverse chronological structure are common. This means that the most recent or current position goes right at the beginning.

For every useful position, whether it is a job, an internship or a work experience placement, it is recommended that you give a short statement about the functions you performed and projects you completed.

For IT and language abilities, it is advisable to give a short assessment, for example, “English: business fluent”, since these could be important evaluation criteria for the new job.

Man writes in a notebook, in front of him is a laptop

A good application requires extensive research - © pixabay, StartupStockPhotos

References, evaluations, certificates – select only the most relevant

Alongside the cover letter and the CV, a good application typically contains references and certificates. It is important that you only concentrate on two or three documents that seem essential for the new job. If applying by post, official documents such as certificates and references should only be sent as copies. For online applications, well-scanned, straight copies are compulsory. They can be sorted either chronologically or by their content.

The optimal application photo – no selfies

According to the German anti-discrimination law of 2006, attaching a photo cannot be compulsory. It is, however, recommended for an application in Germany, since it lends the application personality. Opt for an application photo, whether it appears on the CV or the cover page. It is advisable to have a professional photographer take this picture. He or she brings both experience and expertise, and will ensure your application photo is of good quality.

The cover page – a good opportunity to make the perfect first impression

A cover page is not an obligatory part of an application. It offers applicants the possibility to highlight themselves even more. The purpose of a cover page is to give the HR officer a quick overview of the application and attract their attention. In terms of content, the cover page should include the following information:


“Application”, “Application Dossier” or “Application Documents”

Position applied for 

Which position does the application refer to and when does the new job begin?

Full name and contact details of the applicant 

This includes address, telephone number and email address. It is important that you can be reached quickly and easily. A little tip: choose an email address that includes your name.

Application photo 

Another little tip for an application for a position in Germany: position the photo so that you are looking at the middle of the page.

Overview of strengths and goals 

What soft skills set you apart and what professional experience have you already acquired? Here it is important to remain quick and concise. A more detailed presentation of your strengths follows in the application.


The contents page of the application. All documents that follow the cover page and the cover letter can be listed here. As a rule, these include: CV, references, certificates and if necessary a letter of motivation, if this has been explicitly requested by the employer.

Last check before sending

Before sending the application, one final check is recommended. Are the company and the addressee named correctly, and is your spelling correct throughout all the documents? The final look ensures that the application and all its documents are complete and, when applying by email, that they are displayed correctly as attachments!

For a successful application, it is always worth investing a little more time. You can score points in the job interview with comprehensive research about the new company. A well-structured, honest and meaningful application leaves a good impression on the new employer.

What experiences have you had with writing and sending applications? I look forward to your insights and an exchange of experiences.

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