>, Career Start, Professional Advice, Students, Study Choice>How do you write a successful application?

How do you write a successful application?

Are you in despair about your applications?
Are you unsure how you can present yourself on paper in the way your future employer should look at you? And you don’t want to give a bad impression in any way and don’t want to make any silly mistakes? In this piece you find helpful tips on how to impress the next HR team you encounter.

What mustn’t you forget in your application?

The application is in most cases your first step in contacting a potential employer. It reflects your skills and represents you in the selection process.

Depending on the position advertised, the company requires different application documents. A formal cover letter, resume, and references are however standard requirements of a regular application portfolio.
Some companies would like an additional personal statement in which you explain your ambitions and interests in the advertised post. The personal statement can be a decisive factor for HR.

Have you done a workshop or taken part in advanced training? Alongside references you can supply further documents such as certificates and awards that demonstrate your expertise.

What should you be careful about?

A particularly important part of your application is the completeness of your contact details. HR often work under time pressure and don’t like leafing through to find out the details. If your application catches their eye, you’d like them to be able to find your contact details quickly and easily. For this reason always put your contact details in the header or footer of your application documents.

Another point to be aware of is the structure of your cover letter. You should include an introduction, main body, and conclusion, so that the readers do not lose themselves while reading it.
The introduction serves to catch the interest of HR and communicate your motivation for applying to the company and the advertised post. Be creative in the opening and avoid standard formulations such as “I am applying for …” or “I am applying to you because …” However make sure that you remain formal.
In the main body you expand on your skills and career highlights. Emphasize your skills and place them front and center. Demonstrate that you’re the perfect candidate for the post.
In the conclusion you stress yet again that you’re looking forward to a personal interview and your commitment to the job advertised.

You should remain focused in your resume as well. What is important and crucial for the job and which peripheral part-time jobs can you omit? You should not mention every single odd job you’ve done. Mention what’s relevant, but not everything is significant for HR.

Some companies stress that they wish certain documents or details, such as an application photo of you, to be included in your application when they advertise jobs. Read the job advertisement carefully and pay attention to what details the recruiter would like to have.

What do HR and recruiters look for?

Communicate to HR that you have researched about the advertised post and the company. Why are you interested in the company and the position?
Experienced HR personnel can quickly see through if you have sent a canned mass application. Be enthusiastic and demonstrate it in your expressions. Write a tailored application for each process suitable for the company.

There is no contact person given in the job listing or you are uncertain about something? Then pick up the phone and find out as soon as possible.
With a telephone conversation you can get an advantage over other applicants. It shows that you are interested and prepared. With a bit of luck the recruiter will remember your name and voice.
Your cover letter will sound friendlier if you can address someone by name and with a note about the telephone call.

Absolute no-nos

1. Other countries, other customs

Would you like to apply for a position or internship abroad? Then be prepared about how you write the application in that country.
A British curriculum vitae (CV) is very different from the application norms in Germany, and both are very different from the American resume. The fine between an individualistic, confident cover letter and an inappropriate brashness differs in different languages. If you’re not careful, you will quickly end up in the rejection pile. Do not assume that other countries have the same application process as we do here.

2. No endless chatting on the phone

Would you like to find out more information about the post? A call to the company is the best and quickest option. However be careful that you don’t talk endlessly. Time is money and you want to leave a positive first impression, not a bad one.

3. Short, sharp, and succinct

In applications, there are guidelines. So your cover letter should not be longer than a DIN A4 page. Try to keep your application interesting and concise and do not blather. In your personal interview you will have the chance to talk about your skills.


Writing a good application isn’t always easy. You want to give the best possible impression and be invited to a job interview. Make sure that your application is structured, succinct, and short. Ensure your contact details are clearly visible in the header and footer so that HR can find them quickly.
Be informed about the company. You need to do the research for your next step, the job interview.

Good luck with your next application!

By |2019-01-23T11:50:56+01:00December 7th, 2018|Absolventen, Career Start, Professional Advice, Students, Study Choice|