Did you find an exciting job advertisement? Then it is time to send in your application. In Germany, documents are usually sent in a PDF file within an email, or they are uploaded directly to the company's career website. Applying by post with a special application folder is rarely required.
Read the job advertisement carefully: there might be a sentence at the end about what kind of application is required and what documents must be submitted. These usually include a cover letter, a CV and additional references.
Cover letter/motivation letter
The cover letter gives the company a first impression of you. You should introduce yourself, explain why you are interested in the job and describe your own strengths. Use examples from your previous jobs. Try to express yourself convincingly and present yourself in a way that distinguishes you from others. What makes you stand out? Why are you the right person for this job? Moreover, write about why you want to work for this company in particular.
You can read about the formal requirements of a cover letter on the Europass website.
In the curriculum vitae (CV) you give an overview of your personal and professional career. The CV typically has the format of a table. In Germany, applicants are often expected to include a photo in their CV – however, there are major differences between professional industries in this regard.
The following categories belong in the CV:
- Personal data: name, address, contact details
- Work experience: which companies did you work for? What was your position there, and what tasks did you complete? This information should be listed antichronologically – most recent job first.
- Education: all information on school, vocational training, studies and further training is to be listed antichronologically. List the name of the schools and universities, your courses of study and your final grades, starting with the degree you acquired the most recently.
- Language skills: which languages do you speak, and how well do you speak them? Use the standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) as a guide, for example: “English: C1”.
- Unique skills and interests: do you happen to have any extraordinary computer skills or private interests that are important for your job? Have you been socially or politically active?