The cover letter is the most important document in a German application, as it gives you the opportunity to lay out your professional and personal qualities to the recipient. In order to be successful in gaining an interview, it is important to personalise your cover letter and tailor it to the requirements of the position.
There are two ways of applying in Germany: One possibility is to apply for an advertised position. This kind of application is easier, as the advertisement usually features a job description to which you can refer in your cover letter.
The other possibility is to apply speculatively to companies you are interested in. A speculative application must be put together with care, as it is sent in the absence of a job advertisement and the company may not actively be looking for new employees.
It is therefore advisable not to write a standard letter composed of set phrases, which you send out indiscriminately in large numbers. It is far more important to focus on the company itself and demonstrate why you in particular would be suited to working for it.
As a general rule, the cover letter should be no more than a page in length. It should also be structured in paragraphs. These should group together logically connected sentences. The cover letter as a whole must contain the following elements:
• Address, including name of contact person
• Sender’s name along with contact information
• Informative subject line (with applicant number, if available)
• Salutation, naming the contact person
• Body of cover letter
Type your application documents on a computer and print on white A4 paper, leaving a sufficient margin. Avoid spelling or typing errors and make sure that your documents have no creases. Use a uniform font and font size across all your application documents.
Make sure that dates and personal information given in your cover letter and CV match.
Ideally, you should keep a copy of each application so that you can remember exactly what you wrote, should you be invited for an interview.