Application: samples, tips and checklist for the perfect application

A good application is the door opener to your dream job. And it’s not rocket science to put together convincing application documents. But it is very difficult. Because this includes the application letter, curriculum vitae, attachments and certificates. In addition, formalities need to be taken into account, samples and templates. And: Every application should be individual. All tips for a perfect application …

Write application: structure

No job without an application – this formula is correct in most cases. If you want to get started after school or university or change your branch of industry, there is no way around a well-prepared application. Remember: The application is also your first work sample. If you don’t make an effort here, you won’t necessarily do it in your new job. Or? An employer could at least get this impression. The application is the first step on the way to the new position. Ideally, it will pave the way for you to the interview – and to the job. A good application consists of several pieces of the mosaic. Those who put them together correctly and skillfully increase their chances. Three components are particularly important:

  • The application letter or cover letter
  • The CV with application photo
  • The attachments such as certificates, references, certificates and other evidence of further training, work samples

Your 7-step job application checklist - SEEK Career Advice

Everything comes together in an application folder (or in an e-mail) and is sent to the company. These three elements are usually essential for a classic application. Please don’t leave anything out of it. Unless the company specifically does not require a cover letter – in fact, more companies are adopting this practice every year. Or you can write a short application, then you can do without attachments for the time being. You can spruce up your application with a neat, clear cover sheet – but you don’t have to. In individual cases it is also advisable to enclose a copy of your driver’s license and your certificate of good conduct – but only if requested.

Application cover letter

Many HR professionals skim through First the résumé to quickly check whether an applicant meets the basic requirements for the position. The argument cannot be dismissed out of hand that the résumé and not the cover letter is the most important part of an application Anyone who does not survive the preselection is thrown out – no matter how strong the cover letter is. But if you master the first round, it depends to a large extent on the cover letter. The content of your letter must be convincing. The content counts, not the sophisticated design, a particularly original choice of colors or a creative font design – save yourself the trouble (unless you are aiming for a graphic and artistic job)! Express your motivation for the desired position in your application letter. That is the essence of a good cover letter. Small note: Many people, therefore, confuse the cover letter with the letter of motivation. But that is something else. Very important: The cover letter is not there to only repeat the highlights of the résumé. The curriculum vitae is already available, so you should put different emphasis on your cover letter. No HR manager wants to listen to or read through your professional stations twice. Rather, you should express – preferably using language – why you absolutely want the position and why you are the best candidate for it. Put yourself in the company’s role: What are its advantages if it hires you? Why should it choose you? Important: The cover letter must be clear, concise and free from spelling mistakes. And it should arouse interest and stand out from other applications. What you should definitely not do: choose a negative entry. By emphasizing, for example, how bad your current job is or why your old boss was such a puke. This may sometimes be meant as a compliment for the future employer, but it doesn’t really work. Stay positive: what you want, what you can, what you offer. And think logically. A graduate who has just graduated from university inevitably does not have years of professional experience. In this case, you should emphasize your main fields of study, your academic achievements and your soft skills. How can what you learned or did in college be useful to your new employer? It’s all about this. Because the rule of thumb is: companies hire specialists. People who can do something very specific. As a graduate, however, you usually still have generalist status. And please do not fall into understatement. According to the motto: I am a poor student and just want a job. That would be completely wrong. You are excellently trained, bring talent, potential and knowledge with you. If, on the other hand, you have several years of professional experience under your belt, then emphasize successfully completed projects in your application. What exactly did you accomplish for your old company? What successes do you have to show? And how could you repeat this in the new position – or even top it? A very basic tip: take a few days to write your cover letter. Sleep on it for one or more nights, leave the text behind and improve it with a fresh look, leave it behind again and then complete it. It is best to take enough time so that each sentence is like a one at the end … These are the rules of thumb for the cover letter in your application :

  • The cover letter should no longer be two pages long.
  • Create an individual cover letter that is tailored to the respective employer.
  • Use active verbs, use more verbs, fewer nouns.

Application cover letter examples

Even the first sentence in the cover letter should fit. With the entry, you captivate the HR manager, make him curious about you. So it is better not to use boring standard phrases like “I am applying …”. But rather something like:

  • Dear Ms. / Mr. XY, I have been dealing intensively with _____________ for quite some time. When I saw your job advertisement from _____________, I knew: I’ve always been looking for this position. The perspective, but also the challenges that this position offers and demands, inspire me …

When you follow your professional stations you can use the so-called AHA method as a guide. AHA is composed of:

  • Task: Which professional challenge have you already mastered? Which project, which personnel?
  • Action: How did you solve the problem, which measures did you take?
  • Conclusion: How Did you help the company a lot? Can you perhaps express that in numbers?

A good example:

  • Most recently, I worked as a manager in production and involved in processes in Set in motion, which led to a significant improvement in operations. This increased productivity by a total of 15 percent and reduced costs by two million euros.

Application CV

You can include the resume in the application Write chronologically or in American. That’s up to you. The American variant is characterized by the fact that the current position is mentioned first. The American résumé has become the standard because it makes it easier to get a quick grasp of the applicant’s profile. The last position is more meaningful than any internship that you did while you were still at school. But remember: HR professionals only dedicate part of their time to an application. The surveys say between two and four minutes – you don’t have more time to convince him or her of yourself. That is why you have to make the essentials as prominent as possible in your application résumé. This can mean leaving out unnecessary space-fillers such as an internship or describing important activities in more detail with a few keywords. In principle, a tabular curriculum vitae is ideal for the application because it is very clear. The most important data can be recorded here quickly. These are the most important tips for the résumé in the application:

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Structure

In the tabular résumé, the times are to the left, the facts to the right. No optical experiments. The curriculum vitae is a pure collection of facts.

Content

The following must be included in the CV:

  • Personal data such as name, Birthday, place of birth, address, marital status, nationality.
  • Professional experience
  • Qualifications, further training, special knowledge and skills such as IT – Knowledge or foreign language skills
  • Training, including any military or alternative service that may have been performed

Arrange everything in a timely manner and arrange it – as seamlessly as possible – together. Otherwise, you give the impression that you want to cover up embarrassing stations.

Times

As a rule, months are sufficient. Example:

  • 07/2017 – 06/2019 Training as a bank clerk at the Kreissparkasse Elmshorn.

Taboos

What does NOT belong in the résumé are these points: Family information such as the profession of the parents, salary expectations (should be included – if required – in the cover letter), religious and political views as well as other information that is completely irrelevant for the position sought.

Closing

When you write your résumé, please close it formally with the place, date and your signature. Attention: Incorrect information can lead to termination without notice even after the probationary period.

Application CV examples

The language in which you write your application is important. Don’t be too passive. Those who formulate passively have the same effect on the HR manager. This applies to the cover letter, but also to the résumé. Take a look at this sentence:

  • Development of the training plans based on the development goals of the company and the employees

First, understand At first glance you don’t even know what this sentence is supposed to mean in concrete terms. The fault is the nominal style. Second, the word elaboration suggests that someone was at work here who only acted on instructions from above, but not of his own accord. As you can see, those who formulate passively can hardly win. Now the counterexample:

  • Further training concept of the GmbH restructured
  • Course plans designed for the workforce

We have now chosen two active verbs, rearranged the sentence and thus immediately created a more attractive overall picture. The two key points sound as if the author took the initiative very dynamically and really turned the shop around, don’t you think so? So again the reminder: Don’t just line up your professional stations in the résumé of your application. Write down what you actively pushed, developed, and brought to an end. Present yourself as someone who is committed, works independently and shows initiative. Use lots of verbs in your application to indicate activity. After all, verbs are also known as Tu words. Better yet, use verbs that are untapped or arbitrary. Good verbs for application are for example:

  • implement
  • realize
  • improve
  • modify
  • optimize
  • accelerate
  • organize
  • develop
  • integrate
  • concert
  • moderate
  • coordinate
  • lead
  • initiate
  • manage

Mind you, these are just a few suggestions. There are, of course, many other verbs that will look good in your application. Take advantage of it! They add value to your application.

Application attachments

Yes, attachments can be annoying. But they are more than a formality, more than just an accessory. They complete your application and can even be decisive. Because they enrich your application with something very important – with assessments from neutral third parties. The attachments to an application include above all:

  • school, university and training certificates
  • job references
  • certificates and Certificates
  • References and letters of recommendation
  • if applicable Work samples

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All of these documents (with the exception of the work samples) are not written by you, but by someone who had to evaluate your performance – as neutrally as possible. So you can provide the recruiter with valuable insights and insights into your character, your work behavior and your skills. In the best-case scenario, the statements and grades in the annexes match the self-image you conveyed in your application. Again, please pay attention to the form: Do not stuff the attachments as loose sheets with the rest of the documents, but prepare a list of attachments. Place this directory at the end of your cover letter, but not on your resume. Alternatively, you can also integrate it into the cover sheet, provided you have decided on one. It is best to record the systems chronologically – not according to the type of system, but according to the period. Arrange certificates, certificates and references in the order in which they were acquired.

Application attachments number

Attachments in the application should serve as evidence for the HR manager that the information provided by the applicant is correct. And they can contain additional information. This can be particularly helpful for graduates who do not yet have extensive work experience. So you don’t have to include every document and certificate in your application, but only those that prove that you have the necessary qualifications for the position. Even your Abitur certificate is not a must, as long as you have reached a certain age and have enclosed your university certificate. You can remember 30 years as a guideline. From then on, the Abi grades no longer have any really outstanding significance. You are also welcome to withhold internships or certificates from industries that have nothing to do with your current one. Take a driver’s license, for example: Having one is only important if you need it for the job. This applies to taxi drivers and service drivers, to sales representatives or reporters – but not too many others. If the company still wants to see this evidence, you can always submit it later. Despite everything, the following applies: application documents should always be complete. You should always enclose copies of these certificates with your application:

  • Employment references
  • University degree
  • Vocational training certificate
  • Certificate of the last School-leaving certificate

As already mentioned, the school certificate can be omitted from a certain age – and if you have a university certificate. If you now have a large number of systems – because you have changed jobs very often, for example – you can sort them out. Because the HR manager does not want to fight through a thick compendium, but rather to get a quick overview. Follow these guidelines so that your application does not get out of hand:

  • More than you do not have to enclose three qualifying job references with your application.
  • Select the most recent references.
  • Proof of the Select highest (high) school education.
  • Do not specify more than two (as current as possible) references.

Application mistakes

There are innumerable potential errors in the application. You should avoid these mistakes:

  • Names

    Names should be properly researched and correct. This applies to the name of your contact person ( Dear Mr. Meyer or Dear Mr. Meier ?) As well as the name of the company. Anyone who applies to Bayersdorf or Henckel or Deimler or Addidas or Kontinental can forget about the job – and rightly so.

  • Spelling

    Shifting letters can happen to anyone – but please not in the application. After all, you have enough time to proofread everything in peace – and let them read. Spelling and grammatical errors are in principle unforgivable for applicants. They testify to a lack of care, indifference or even a lack of education. And those are not the characteristics that you want to convey.

  • Excessive length

    In the short is the … you know. Anyone who does not get the cover letter on one page only proves that they cannot prioritize and differentiate between the important and the less important.

  • Formatting

    Different font sizes and fonts in of the application, no paragraphs or missing signature and date. Maintain the form – that sounds stuffy, but it shows accuracy and care. What also does not work: Information that is too incomplete or your documents are printed on both sides. In the case of an online application, applicants make sure to submit the application in a PDF document that does not exceed 5 MB.

  • Standard phrases

    There are very, very many of them. I’m a team player is one of those. My biggest weakness? I am impatient. I’m committed. The opening sentence is I read your job advertisement with great interest a love killer. In the end, I would be happy about an invitation to an interview because it is formulated in the subjunctive. And after all, you wouldn’t want the job – you WANT it!

  • Photo

    A professional application photo is a real bargaining chip. If you want to take a quick photo or save five euros, you just shoot yourself in the foot. You can recognize good application photos at first glance. They make the applicant appear competent and personable – and increase the chances of being hired.

  • Requirement profile

    You should read the job posting carefully before submitting your application. Address the requirements mentioned there; focus on those qualifications that are useful in the position sought. Fundamentally important: The qualifications or skills that are definitely not possible in the job are worked out in the cover letter and CV.

  • Application sample

    Take a look at our templates and let yourself be inspired. But don’t use them one-to-one for your application. It is relatively likely that popular patterns from the Internet will land on the HR department table more often. That stands out. HR professionals can also google it.

Application types

If you are talking about an application, can mean very different forms. These 9 application types are the most common:

  1. Classic application

    It contains a cover letter, curriculum vitae, optionally a cover sheet and the Attachments, i.e. references, certificates and work samples. You print out the classic application on paper and send it in an application folder.

  2. E-mail application

    The structure and content of the e-mail application are the same as for the classic application. The only difference: it is sent by email. Applicants have to consider the pitfalls of the technology. You should send the e-mail application from a reputable e-mail address and include a PDF document of no more than 5 megabytes and an appropriate file name in which all application documents are summarized. You can write the cover letter directly in the main text.

  3. Online form

    Larger companies, in particular, use their own online portals to process their applications. Applicants are guided through the process and have to upload their documents to the appropriate places. This leaves them less creative freedom, and it becomes more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Please note that a cover letter and curriculum vitae are also required for an online application.

  4. Speculative application

    Speculative application means an application for a position for which there is no public advertisement or job advertisement. Interested parties apply with good luck. However, the term does not make any statement about the format. An unsolicited application can be a classic application, a short application or an e-mail application at the same time.

  5. Short application

    A short application is much smaller than a classic application. It includes a short cover letter and a tabular curriculum vitae. For job seekers, short applications are useful, for example, in order to distribute them at job fairs and thus arouse the interest of companies. A short application is particularly suitable as an unsolicited application.

  6. Internal application

    A change of job does not necessarily require a change of employer. Employees can also apply for vacancies in their own company. The structure and content of the internal application do not basically differ from those of a classic application. However, applicants should deal transparently with successes and knowledge – after all, they are no longer a blank slate in the company.

  7. Creative application

    The creative one The application impresses with its – surprise – creativity. This can be expressed through an unusual format or design or through spectacular systems (e.g. work samples). The purpose of the creative application is to stand out from the other applicants. This makes sense in certain scenarios: When the competition is extremely tough, for example, or when you’re in a creative industry – or in a dusty industry that could use fresh ideas.

  8. Anonymous application

    It is seen by many as a cure against all forms of discrimination. In the anonymous application, the author does not provide any information about gender, age, marital status, nationality, ethnic origin, skin color or religion. In Germany, however, the anonymous application has not yet caught on.

  9. Passive application

    Today’s job market is an applicant market. It is the companies that have to make an effort in the much-cited War for Talents. Capable people can therefore also be found passively – for example via a business network such as Xing or LinkedIn. Anyone who ticks the appropriate boxes here and makes entries ( open to new challenges ) and enters requested skills will sooner or later have mail in their inbox.

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Application checklist

Here again a short checklist for your application. When applying, you should …

  • insert your current address
  • choose a reputable e-mail address
  • research the name of your contact person

Correctly write the name of the contact person and the company

  • Update the date
  • Select the appropriate subject line
  • Write an original introductory sentence in the cover letter
  • Reference to the company Establish
  • Work out the motivation for the position
  • The state must qualifications and skills for the job
  • Include references or letters of recommendation
  • State your earliest starting date
  • Specify salary expectations (if required)
  • Greeting ( Kind regards ) and don’t forget your signature
  • Select the application form required by the company (Online, paper, etc.)
  • Only include the desired formats (PDF, Word, etc.)
  • Compress file size (for online applications)
  • Correct all typing errors (Spell check! )

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