The perfect application: structure, content and résumé

What should be considered when applying?

As the first impression is known to be the most important, you have to formulate your cover letter very carefully and well thought out. As in advertising, you should cleverly highlight any points that suggest that you are the right person for the position being offered. The reader must be downright curious to get to know you. But be brief. One page should be enough to present yourself interesting, the maximum length is 1.5 pages.
Of course, the outer frame also has to be right: Use good white paper (unperforated and unlined) in A4 format for the cover letter and the résumé. If possible, write your application on a computer, or alternatively on an electric typewriter with even typeface. Make sure the printout is clean.

For a good visual impression of your letter, leave a margin of approx. 3 to 4 centimeters on both sides. The line spacing is 1.5 lines, the text should be clearly structured in paragraphs.

Perfect spelling and punctuation are a matter of course in a cover letter so that you are not out of the running right away. If you are not quite fit in this regard (especially with regard to the new spelling), it is advisable to have your application typed in a typing office.

Put all application documents in a clip-on folder in the following order:

• Letter of application (this is only to be placed loosely in the portfolio and not firmly stapled)
• Resume
• Employment references, possibly interim reference
Ausbildungszeugnis, Examenszeugnis, Diplom

Never submit original certificates, always submit good quality photocopies. Only the application letter and the curriculum vitae are submitted as originals. Don't forget to keep copies of this. These can serve as a reminder for the interview.

Sign the application letter left-aligned, preferably in blue ink (no ballpoint pen!). Attach a current portrait photo (approx. 5.5 x 4 cm, preferably black and white) to the sheet with the résumé. You should have this photo taken by a good photographer, after all, it can already make a difference between sympathy and antipathy. Send your application documents in a sturdy A4 envelope (better with a reinforced cardboard back). Pay attention to careful labeling and sufficient postage. A special delivery such as express mail or registered mail is not necessary, it just creates unnecessary problems for the recipient.

Of course, you can also submit your application in person. This is particularly useful for small to medium-sized companies. In this way you can exchange a few words with the secretary or - if you are lucky - even with the boss and give you a first impression of yourself. Incidentally, the influence of some secretaries should not be underestimated. A short, friendly conversation with her (small talk about the weather, traffic situation or the like) can give you plus points with the boss if the secretary presents him with the application.

Be sure to make a note of the day on which you sent or submitted the application. If you have not received a message after a month, you can politely ask whether a decision has already been made about filling the position. Otherwise, if possible, you should not follow up on the phone in between.

Structure of the application letter

Your letter of application must show your suitability and your specific interest in the position offered.
The classic form of address is "Dear Sir or Madam". However, if you know the name of the person responsible, you should speak to them directly. First, a brief reference to the vacancy follows, and then you explain why you are particularly suitable for this job.

Describe in a few words your training path and your special skills (e.g. additional qualifications in the IT area) as well as the stages of your professional career to date. Briefly explain your motives for applying for this position. Also explain what you would like to achieve professionally. Be realistic, however, and inform yourself as best you can about the structure of the company or company. This information is also important for the subsequent interview. Do not be too modest in your self-portrayal and let it be seen that you would like to elaborate on what you said in a personal interview.

End your letter with one of the usual business greetings: "Sincerely" or "Sincerely". Sign with your first and last name. If there is still space on the page, the attached application documents can be listed as attachments. There is now a large number of software with templates for applications for computers. If necessary, these should serve as a suggestion for your own application letter. Note that your application should show your personal style. Therefore, under no circumstances should you use sample letters of application and the like. Every HR manager immediately notices something like this and is immediately sorted out.

The resume

Don't underestimate the importance of your resume to the success of your application. Therefore, you should not use a standard résumé for all your applications, but always tailor it to the position to be filled. Of course, the résumé must not contain any untruths. However, it is advantageous to highlight the stages in your professional career that are important for the desired activity.

Unless a handwritten or detailed curriculum vitae was expressly requested in the job advertisement, submit a so-called tabular curriculum vitae written on a computer or typewriter.

What doesn't belong on the résumé

Any HR manager immediately sees any gaps in their professional career. You have to expect that you will be asked about this during the interview. However, if you have taken a baby break, for example, please make this clear in your résumé. In doing so, you demonstrate a sense of responsibility and acknowledge an important phase in your life.

However, if the gaps in your résumé were caused by unemployment, you should only list the stages of your employment and skip the periods of unemployment. If you are unemployed at the time of application, it is best to end your résumé stating your last job.

In principle, no information about any church, party or trade union membership should be included in the curriculum vitae. Something different only applies if you apply to such an institution. Neither do you have to look for information about your state of health or your financial circumstances, about your parents, your partner or your children in your résumé (exception: information about your marital status and the number of children).

When does an online application make sense?

The digital application via e-mail is currently not well received in all areas of the economy. In companies in the new media, the so-called IT sector, online applications are absolutely natural - around 30 percent of specialists and executives are acquired via the Internet. But most other companies still prefer the traditional paper application. If online applications are accepted there at all, they must at least be detailed and meaningful in order to make the applicant's profile clear.

Before you start an online application, you should therefore - e. Inquire about whether this type of application is desirable there, for example via the company's homepage. If so, this can often speed up the application process. In addition, the form of the online application makes work easier for job seekers: The often time-consuming copying, compiling, franking and of course the way to the mailbox or post office are no longer necessary.

The curriculum vitae and cover letter can be easily modified depending on the application and adapted to the respective job advertisement. The files required for the application - e.g. B. CV and cover letter - are then simply attached to the e-mail as an attachment. Just as quickly as an online application reaches its recipient, the recipient's rejection can also come: Due to the simplified communication, there is a risk that an excessive number of applications will be received by a company, so that they can often only cope with the onslaught with the help of standard rejections.

Many companies (e.g. Beiersdorf AG and Deutsche Lufthansa) have prepared online forms and questionnaires for applicants on the Internet. These have to be processed intensively and thus already have a certain filter effect. One thing is clear, however: in the not too distant future, online applications will be the norm.

Application - important judgments

Lawsuit against the rejection of an applicant in the public service An applicant who has not been considered for an advertised position in the public service can have a so-called competitor lawsuit checked by the labor court to determine whether his claim to the application process has been violated. Such a lawsuit is only admissible until the advertised position has been finally filled.
BAG - AZ: 9 AZR 521/98

Writing an application on the company computer
If an employee writes his application letters for other companies on the computer of his previous job, termination due to private use of the company computer is not permitted without a prior warning.
ArbG Frankfurt / M. - AZ: 4 Ca 1946/00

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