Apply correctly

F&L 4/2006 (updated January 2021)
There are many issues associated with the correct compilation of application documents for a university professorship. It is difficult to make general statements that apply to all subjects. Consequently, the application documents must be primarily oriented to the specific professional cultures. Irrespective of the different subject cultures, the applicant must grasp the application profile required by the appointment committee. For this, a detailed study of the tender text is essential. In practice, it is not uncommon for more than 50 percent of the applications received to be sorted out in advance because they do not match the required scientific profile. Furthermore, potential applicants should not be afraid to ask the dean’s office if there are any guidelines adopted by the faculty for applications for professorships. Potential applicants must assume that in the larger disciplines, appointment committees often work with so-called applicant synopses, d.h. comparative compilations of relevant parameters of the applicants, act. Here, concisely compiled application documents have a clear advantage. In the cover letter to the chair of the commission, not only the own scientific achievements should be presented, but also it should be made clear why an application is being made for the advertised professorship. It is also important to outline (also) the future-oriented research program in the cover letter. It has become common practice in the meantime that applicants are only allowed to submit five selected original papers. In this context, too, it is essential to address the scientific profile of the professorship desired by the faculty.

How do I present myself in the discussion with the appointment committee??

F&L 5/2006 (updated February 2021)
The test presentation before the appointment committee is divided into a public and a non-public part. In the public part, the scientific presentation is in the foreground. In the public discussion after the test lecture, it will regularly be a matter of deepening the topic of the lecture or of explaining it on request. However, just as important as the public part of the mock interview is the self-presentation in the non-public interview with the appointment committee. In addition to questions about your scientific concept, questions about your personal environment are now part of the standard repertoire of such interviews. For example, you might be told: "Since your family will certainly not be moving with you, your sufficient presence in the department would not be ensured." In such a case, you should, of course, assure the entire family that you are willing to relocate. Furthermore, it is of elementary importance that you are able to communicate your concept of the professorship in a clear way. Where do you see "your Professorship in five years? You should also be sufficiently familiar with the structure of the department to be able to present a credible conception. You should definitely prepare yourself for the classic closing question: "Do you have any questions??" By asking specific questions about the future development of the department, you should show that you have taken a close look at the local situation. As in the trial presentation, you should convince with your cooperative personality

What to look for in a cover letter in application documents?

F&L 3/2007 (updated August 2021)
Applications for professorships look very different in practice. "The uniform and generally valid form" cannot exist due to the diversity of subjects. A good, informative and compact cover letter is crucial. Here, the direct reference to the department of the future university and to the advertised position should be made with reference to the source. Even in the form of address, there are differences depending on the culture of the respective discipline. In somewhat more "conservative" applications subjects (z.B. medicine, law) should use the respectful title "Magnificence" for the rector and for the dean "Spectabilis" the salutation "Dear Sir or Madam" should be preceded by. In engineering or technical sciences this is rather unusual. For local practices beyond this, it can only be recommended to inquire at the dean’s office of the department. In some cases there are also guidelines for applications for professorships, usually in larger departments of the university. The cover letter should be compact (on one or two pages), as details on the career and scientific profile will be provided in the attached application documents. For this purpose, the text of the advertisement should be carefully evaluated in advance. The cover letter should be used to briefly present all personal qualifications, covering the qualification requirements of the position. Finally, the reason why you are applying for this particular position should not be missing (z.B. new challenge, further development, specialization).

How do I structure my application documents??

F&L 4/2007 (updated February 2021)
Even though each university subject has its own specific characteristics and customs, one principle can be established with regard to the design of application documents: An application for a professorship will stand out positively if candidates give good reasons why they are interested in this particular position. As a rule, a compact but informative cover letter is expected, in which the reference to the university and the department is established. Many appointment committees work with synopses, i.e. with applicant profiles compiled on the basis of the documents, in which different aspects are listed in a comparative manner. It is therefore advantageous from the outset to have documents that are designed in such a way that all the necessary information can be quickly and correctly recorded. But there is also another point that should not be underestimated: the rapporteur, who has to draw up the list of applicants, naturally finds those applicants sympathetic who make his or her work easier. There are no dogmas regarding the outline to be made according to the cover letter. In the case of more extensive application portfolios, an outline should be used. In many faculties, it has also become common practice to provide information sheets for applications for professorships as "downloads" to make the application available. In recent years, the digital submission of documents via e-mail or as an upload has become the norm

What makes a successful test presentation?

F&L 1/2010 (updated February 2021)
In the practice of many appointment procedures, it can be observed that applicants, despite seemingly less than optimal "paper form", are still willing to apply are taken into account by the appointment committees when drawing up the list of candidates. Even formally strong candidates often fail to convince in the test presentation or in the interview with the appointment committee, which is why, contrary to expectations, they are not considered at all or not at the top of the list. The background to this is simply the fact that many applicants are not sufficiently familiar with the structural features of a test presentation. Because a test lecture is neither a scientific lecture nor a teaching event. Rather, the trial presentation will have to be understood as a form of presentation sui generis. In the context of a – regularly – 20-minute test lecture, it is imperative to introduce the topic to all participants at the beginning and to conclude the lecture with an understandable outlook on the scientific perspectives. In this respect, much will depend on the right balance of almost general and very science-specific, i.e. representing the concrete research projects. The quorum 30/70 can be used as a guideline for practice. If applicants are allowed to determine the topic of the test presentation themselves, overlaps with other applicants should be avoided as a rule. The content of the test presentation should also represent a unique selling point in this respect. Ultimately, it is important to adhere as closely as possible to the time limit set by the appointment committee. Many appointment committees have now switched to requiring a 20-minute scientific presentation and a 10-minute teaching sample as an alternative.

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