Job applications in Germany: Pitch it just right!

“Chose a job you love and you will never have to work one day in your life!”

Based on my previous blog post, I have received a lot of emails regarding applications of jobs in details. This blog post covers all the important points that can be kept on tip of fingers and start the process just right.


Irrespective of the platform you apply on, be it direct application, job portals or company career page, the two things that don’t change and are impossible to apply without is the ‘Resume’ and ‘Cover Letter’. Following are some key notes to prepare an impressive and out-of-the-crowd documents.

In my blog post from about a year ago, ‘Internship applications – Time to think… ‘ and ‘Lunch of wisdom… ‘ I have discussed things that I gathered from university counselor and my good friend Sunil.

Remember, resume is an overview of what have you done in terms of education and work but cover letter should create an impression of you as a person. I was once told that when someone reads your cover letter, they should be able to picture you through that. Keeping all the points I have learned about this, here are some do’s and dont’s for each of these documents:

Do’s and dont’s for a resume:

  • Make sure that the alignment is perfect. I have gone through a lot of resumes from my friends and acquaintances and the first thing noticed is the alignment.
  • Use two colors maximum. Keep it professional and tidy.
  • Make sure the font is not to slanted or bold. It should be easy to read.
  • In Germany, a passport photo is not considered well in a resume. Make sure you use a professional photograph. It’s one time investment in a good photograph and create your first impression with confidence and smile.
  • Be consistent. If you want to show your marks, then make sure you show them for all your educational details. Similarly, for language skills use similar notations to provide your skills.
  • End it well too. Always end with name, place and date.
  • Preferably, do not use table borders in final version. Use tables to create the consistency but make the borders invisible. It gives a better look.

Last but not the least, be different. Following a certain outline is good, but try making your own resume rather than filling information on the internet and downloading it from the internet. Put an effort and it will be noticed apart from the other applications.

Do’s and dont’s for a cover letter:

  • Include one section of ‘From’ name and address.
  • Include one section of ‘To’ name and address. In case you do not find a name in the offer, then you could mention ‘Human Resources Department’ along with the address of the company.
  • Always have a date in the cover letter.
  • What highlights and begins a letter or increases the interest is the subject line. Have it bold, clearly mentioned after the addresses and before the main letter. Also, mention the job code if available in the offer.
  • In Germany, when one addresses the concerned person, they prefer ‘Dear’ followed with ‘Mr/Ms’ and last name.
  • Keep 3 to maximum 4 paragraphs for the length of the cover letter. Be clear and create a sense of curiosity with words. Let them call you, to know you even better.
  • Avoid unsure sentences. Project confidence. For example instead of saying ‘If you give me a chance, I will…’ you could write ‘Looking forward to hearing from you and I would be available from …’.

Finally, make sure to spend time to prepare application for each offer individually. Skeleton of these documents remains same, but trimming and addition needs to be done based on the requirements.

Your application creates a personality for you and make sure to leave that final impression. They will surely call you to know more if your profile matches the requirements.

All the very best.

P.S. Leave your questions in comments below or you can contact me on the Facebook page “Cube of Life” or Quora profile “Charu Pathni” directly.

P.P.S.Β  I know most of you know about all this, but it’s always helpful to have a check list before you send in that application. And these are some of the things I’ve consistently found in all the documents I’ve seen. Hope it helps πŸ™‚

8 thoughts on “Job applications in Germany: Pitch it just right!

  1. Jaffar Husain shaik says:

    I completed my bachelor’s degree in business management… Can I get a job related to management… I want to know how to get that if it is exist for my profile…


  2. sandy says:

    Hi Charu,
    Thank you for very helpful information.
    Can you please tell me if the resume and cover letter should be written in English or German?


    • charupathni says:

      Hello Sandhya,
      You need to apply based on the language of job-offer. If you are not sure, then keep both versions ready and apply accordingly. If you are sending by email, you can always send both versions πŸ™‚
      All the best!


  3. Kiran says:

    nice explanation and good information for beginners … @nirav, “hello” is the most informal way (colleagues and friends), so far human resource addressed me as Dear Mr. Last name πŸ™‚


  4. Nirav says:

    I seldom came across ‘Dear’ except for ‘very’ friendly/colloquial conversation with other Germans. ‘Hello Ms. MΓΌller’ or ‘Greetings Mr. Bauer’ suits me better !


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