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How to apply correctly – What must you keep in mind?

With all the guidelines, regulations, dos and don’ts, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. For this reason we compiled the most important points on the topic of job applications here for you.

A complete application normally includes the following documents:

  • A cover letter and a resume – both should be composed in the language of the country (exception: the position explicitly requires no knowledge of the national language!
  • An application photo
  • References from former employers, copies of all school and university report cards (preferably with a German translation) and proof of continuing education or training

Cover letter

  • Short, concise and informative – no longer than a single DIN A4 page
  • Don’t compose a form letter. The application should always be completed individually for the particular company.
  • Know the correct contact person. If their name isn’t in the employment ad, research it online or if necessary find out the relevant name by phone.
  • Central questions:
    • How did you become aware of the position?
    • Who are you?
    • What are your skills?
    • Why this company specifically?
    • Why are you exactly the right person for the job?
  • The cover letter is more than a rendition of your resume in text format or a mere list of your skills. Give examples and limit yourself to experience and attributes relevant to the position. “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Resume / CV

  • The resume is comprised of a listing of your education and employment history and the successes you achieved therein (important: each position should be briefly described).
  • Size: maximum 2 DIN A4 pages
  • Begin with your contact information and structure your resume following that, for example “school and vocational training” and “job experience”
  • The most current first. The order should be reverse chronological, so the most recent dates will be listed first
  • Hobbies, volunteer activities, interests and side jobs can be mentioned if they are relevant to the position being pursued
  • Pay special attention to country-specific differences! (On an English CV, for example, it is no longer customary to include a photo.)

Application photo:

  • Place it on the resume (upper right) or on the cover page
  • The photo should absolutely be taken by a professional
  • Pay careful attention to your appearance. Choose clothing that you would also wear to a job interview.
  • When applying by mail write your name on the back of the photo and don’t attach it using a paperclip.

Report cards/ Certificates

  •  For documents that are not in the national language, include a translation where necessary.
  • The attachments should be included in the same order in which they are listed on the resume. That way the certificate for each can be found easily.

Important for an application via email:

  • Attach the document preferably as a PDF. Only ONE document with all the records should be created.
  • Be sure to use a serious email address to send your documents (it should not contain any nicknames, etc.).
  • Formulate a precise subject for your email – mention the advertised position, the location and where applicable the reference number from the employment ad.

Did you remember everything?

  • The first impression counts. Did you organize your application carefully and neatly? When someone leaves behind an unprofessional impression, they are directly eliminated by HR personnel
  • Check again for completeness of your documents:
    • Cover letter
    • Resume (with photo)
    • Report cards and certificates
  • Have your cover letter and your resume proof read again before you send them out – preferably by a native speaker of the country’s language – to avoid grammar and spelling mistakes.


Here you can find additional useful information on the subject of employment applications as well as templates and examples for your cover letter and your resume.

    Here you can comprehensibly present your qualifications, skills and abilities Europe-wide. There is also the option to create your own resume.