The topic of “writing applications” is very controversial. Especially the cover letter causes a lot of worries. The question often arises: “Do I really have to write the cover letter?”
New Work supporters often speak out against the cover letter. The trend is moving towards video applications. Some only want to submit their CV and others still prefer the 20-page application portfolio.
So what is the happy medium? As an applicant, how do I ensure that my potential employer gets everything he needs without “overdoing it”?
Should you always send the complete application?
In general, as an applicant, I should bear in mind that the company or the recruiters reviewing my application do not know me. So if I do not upload any documents, but simply apply with my name and e-mail address via an applicant portal, my counterpart cannot draw any conclusions about me or my qualifications. As a result, the process is automatically slowed down.
Why? Because the company now has to request my documents to get a better picture of me, and that naturally eats up time. So even if there is the option of “application without documents”, sooner or later I have to submit my documents, at least a CV.
In order not to slow down the process, it is a good idea to send the complete application right from the start.
This must be part of an application
Classically, the application is divided into three parts: cover letter, CV, and certificates.
Let’s start with the cover letter. Chronologically, it is usually the first document and the one that should make the recruiters curious about the rest of the documents.
Even though the cover letter is no longer a “mandatory” document in many companies, it is still very important for many, especially in the specialist field. Some even go so far as to consider an application without a cover letter as “incomplete”. So unless the company explicitly waives a cover letter, it is better to take the trouble.
Big challenge: the cover letter
For most applicants, the covering letter is the biggest challenge, and I can understand that very well.
You feel compelled to explain why you want to join this particular company and why you are the best candidate for this position. Individuality and ingenuity are expected and in reality you would much rather show in a personal interview why you are suitable for this particular position or why you are the best candidate for this particular employer.
And let’s not fool ourselves – we are not all born writers like Hemingway or Bukowski. Most of us just find it hard, including me. But there are a few simple tricks that can help.
Focus is important for the cover letter
In general, the cover letter should not be longer than one page. After all, you are not writing a short story here, but rather a teaser that is intended to whet your appetite for more, i.e. for a job interview. The content of the cover letter should, if possible, be geared to the position and the company.
Look at the job description and reflect:
- What from the requirements profile applies to me?
- What are my qualities?
You should really focus on the company and the position. Excessive narratives that don’t fit the position at all are of no interest at the moment.
Keep in mind how many applications your counterpart sees in one day. Even if it sounds hard, it is important that the relevant facts are evident. For example, if you were to apply for a job as a lifeguard, no one would be interested to know that you have taken part in further training in the commercial sector. In that case, the personnel officer will want to know whether you can swim. So tell them about the three medals you won at the last swimming championship two years ago.
Expert tips for the cover letter
Your cover letter is best broken down:
- What are my qualities?
- What is required?
- Why do I want this position?
A small tip in passing – honesty is important in applications. But no company wants to hear that you only want to join us because of the shorter distance, but because the company is great or because the position appeals to you so much. It’s not for nothing that the cover letter is often referred to as a “letter of motivation”.
IMPORTANT: Always read the cover letter again – thoroughly!
There is nothing more embarrassing than a cover letter that mistakenly still contains the name of the company from the last application, and yes, this really happens regularly. If I say in my cover letter that I work properly and conscientiously, but still have the address line of another company in the header, then I simply contradict myself. The same applies to spelling mistakes, of course. So it still is important to check again!
In my next blog post I will give you tips for your CV and explain which certificates belong in an application. If you don’t want to miss this, subscribe to our free newsletter.
Lisa Fleischmann’s area of expertise as personnel officer is the automotive sector. Already during her dual studies at a car dealership, the Köln native recruited technicians and engineers. For TÜV Rheinland, she is on the lookout for talent in the area of vehicle testing and driving tests. In addition to her passion for travelling, she is a real nature lover and enjoys hiking or spending time in the garden with her dog.