All about application

What is it about?

Here you can find information about applications. What should I look for in a resume? Do I need a cover page? How do I write a good letter of motivation? These and many other questions are answered in these FAQs.

All about application

Understanding job application

Job offers are usually structured according to a standard pattern. In addition to a brief description of the company, they contain a list of tasks, requirements and conditions for the applicant to be met.

The advertisements basically describe an ideal profile that the employer envisions for filling a position (requirements profile). Therefore, in most cases it is neither possible nor necessary to fulfill all requirements 100 percent. Nevertheless, the more criteria of the requirement profile you can fulfill, the better your chances of getting the job. The requirements are also often structured according to a recurring pattern. In the first place, the desired professional qualifications are mentioned. This is followed by the desired key competencies. These include, above all, soft skills such as strong communication skills, presentation skills and the ability to work in a team. These are sorted in descending order of importance for the advertised position.

Finally, the conditions describe what the employer will offer you in your new job. In addition to salary and working hours, this also includes the benefits that the employer offers you. These benefits are now becoming increasingly important, as they make the employer particularly attractive to potential applicants. Classic benefits include subsidies for sports programs, flexible working models such as home office or certain bonus payments.

Typical structure of a Job Advertisement

1. Presentation of the Company
In job advertisements, it is shortened to the essentials. At the latest when you are invited to an interview, you should provide comprehensive information about the company, its philosophy and the services it offers.

2. Title of the advertised position
This is where the company describes the position it is looking for. The title of the job usually gives you a good idea of what your future tasks will be.

3. The profile requirements
The most important part of a job posting – the requirements for the applicant. Here you get a very precise picture of the job: Are special skills required in addition to a particular degree? What key skills are important for the job? The requirements profile is usually headed with, for example, “Your profile”, “You bring with you” or “Our expectations”.

4. Tasks and Responsibilities
The contents of your new job are listed here. Filter out the core tasks necessary for the advertised position and use them as central focal points in your cover letter or resume.

5. General Terms and Conditions
In this section, the employer provides information about the benefits they offer you for the job and other . This includes information about the starting date, salary, additional social benefits and the duration of the employment relationship. You can optionally include your salary expectations and starting date in your cover letter.

If, however, an application portfolio is desired...

Nowadays, it has become very rare that employers want to receive a printed application portfolio by mail. As a rule, digital documents sent by mail are sufficient. The type of application required can be found in the job advertisement. If an application portfolio is necessary, it is not enough to convince with good arguments – the overall package must be right.

Folder, Paper and Printing

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive application folder, discreet clip folders with a transparent cover are usually sufficient. In addition, do not use transparent pockets and do not punch holes in the sheets. However, you should not skimp on the quality of the printed paper. Paper with a thickness of 100 g/m² or more is recommended. Remember: First impressions count. Therefore, avoid smeared printer’s ink and copy margins. Worn sheets and folders reduce your chances of getting a job at the company. Check which parts of the documents from a previous application can be used again.


Use a legible font throughout, but not necessarily Arial if possible – it looks too much like a study or thesis. There are many more appropriate font families, such as Roboto, Cambria, Garamond, Georgia, Verdana. For emphasis and headings, work with different sizes as well as bold or even a second, more decorative font. Be careful with italics and underlining: Many recipients feel these styles are out of date.


Send your documents through the mail in an appropriately sized mailing envelope or cardboard box. Make sure the envelope design is correct. Check that the recipient’s address is correct and don’t forget to put your return address in the top left-hand corner of the envelope. Express mail or registered mail are usually not necessary.

Structure of a classic application

Classic doesn’t mean old-fashioned: Depending on the area you are applying for, the form is still very important, in addition to the content. A simple example: If you are applying for a position in human resources, different standards are applied than if you are applying for a position in software development. In addition to the requirements profile, the number of potential competitors also plays an important role. Only if both are correct, you can convince with your application.

The recommended order of your “application portfolio”:

  1. Cover Page with title “Application as xxx”, professional application photo as well as your name and contact details. A catchy short profile and a reference to the attachments are also possible.
  2. Cover Letter addressed to a specific reader, with close reference to the job advertisement, the motivation for your application and the arguments why you are the right person for the job.
  3. Cirriculum Vitae (in tabular form) with personal details, comprehensive information on education and work experience as well as general knowledge and relevant additional qualifications.
  4. Attachments depending on your own status in professional life and only important and current: school leaving certificate, training certificate, certificates of university degrees, three to four qualified job references, certificates of relevant further training. You should only attach publications and samples of your work if this is expressly requested or is customary in the profession.

Note: When sending by e-mail, it is important to create a PDF document with all documents and attach it accordingly.

The thing with the cover sheet

The cover page is the title page of your application and the very first thing that the employer perceives about you. It is, so to speak, your business card and conveys the important first impression. There are also cases in which a cover sheet is not necessary, namely

  • If you apply via an online application portal, where you usually upload the components of your application individually – the photo is usually uploaded separately as a JPG or
  • If you are applying for a part-time job that is not related to your field of study.

The cover page primarily fulfills an aesthetic aspect and makes the application look professional. It is important to choose an attractive and expressive application photo and not a conventional passport photo.

From a purely legal point of view, an application photo is not a mandatory part of the application. However, based on our experience with employers, we recommend it. A successful application photo portrays you in a sympathetic and competent manner and thus leaves a positive first impression. It is helpful if your clothing matches the industry and position. Whether the photo looks better in black and white, half-tone or in color also depends on your preferences. There is no silver bullet here.

In addition to the application photo, the cover page of your application should include a title and your address details. The title is usually found in the upper section and, in addition to your request (“Application”), ideally contains the position for which you are applying. By including the company name, you show that you do not use the same cover page for every application. You are welcome to name specific departments or divisions – this is especially helpful for speculative applications and makes it easier to assign them. Your address data includes your surname, first name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. For longer telephone numbers, spaces and blocks significantly improve readability (e.g. 0172 / 123 456 78 instead of 0172/12345678).