Whether it’s your first job or a change of employer: an application has to be spot on. We reveal the absolute no-go’s and how to avoid them.
Do not use prefabricated building blocks!
1. The cover letter
Here’s how: The cover letter should make the recruiter want to meet the applicant. Here must be everything that convinces him that he has the right person in front of him. What this means for you: read the job posting thoroughly! In the cover letter, it is the art of relating one’s own skills to the advertised requirements, while keeping it as short and crisp as possible. And of course all this in impeccable German. Rule of thumb: one page is enough. If you are asked about your desired salary, be sure to include it. This gives the HR department an impression of whether you can correctly assess your performance.
This is definitely not the way to go: Spelling and grammatical errors as well as a text that has been copied from prefabricated building blocks are not only a blunder but a real kick-out criterion. Also the missing reference to the company lets the thumbs go down very fast. Use our sample cover letter for engineers for orientation, we have prepared templates for you, which can be used depending on your professional experience.
2. The resume
This is how it works: Create the resume in tabular form and chronologically, it must contain the following:
- the headline "Curriculum vitae,
- Personal data (name, address, date of birth),
- Application photo (unusual in the Anglo-American area),
- Training path from secondary school,
- List of professional experience,
- Knowledge (EDP, languages, etc.),
- References, if desired,
- Place, date and signature.
In addition to the classic variant, the presentation of the career can also be written in a modern, inverse way. Here comes the current professional experience to the front. Even periods of unemployment, illness or career breaks belong in a gap-free resume. As far as length is concerned: two pages should be enough.
This is definitely not the way to go: An absolute no-go are cheated statements about grades and work experience. If you add occupations that never existed, you have a good chance of being found out. A thorough look at references or checking with the old (or alleged) employer will reveal many things.
3. The photo
How to do it: Even though it is no longer mandatory, many companies want- at least in Germany- still an application photo. The common size is 4 x 6 cm, whether it will be a colored or black and white photo is a matter of taste. There is no uniform dress code, but tenders in engineering, development or production are- even in the application process- for some loose clothing. Nevertheless, you should look neat. It is better if the photo is professionally taken, moreover, it should correspond approximately with your photo in business network portals such as Xing or LinkedIn.
That’s definitely not the way to go: It cannot be emphasized often enough, full body photos as well as flippant vacation pictures do not belong in an application! Also counterproductive are embarrassing private photos posted for everyone to see on social media platforms like Facebook- because here, too, personnel officers look around.
4. Testimonials& Co.
Here’s how: Education certificates (always the most recent degree) and work references (two to three relevant to the new position) should be included in the package. If specifically requested, you should also include samples of your work. With the e-mail application, the attachments are packed into a PDF together with the cover letter and the resume.
Job search for engineers
This is definitely not the way to do it: No personnel officer wants to receive half a book. This means: choose well and don’t give every testimonial- from elementary school to the last internship- enclose. Attention: for online applications, do not attach each attachment individually to the email, this annoys the recipient.
5. The interview
How to: In terms of content and appearance, there are a few things to keep in mind here. Suit or costume are indeed- depending on the position to be filled- not a duty, but a well-groomed appearance is a must. You should prepare carefully for the interview, especially for the question about what speaks for you. Derive it less from your previous jobs than from the skills you gained there. Be open and friendly, even in your body language. And who has a lot of stage fright: The job interview also serves to ensure that the potential employer presents itself well to you.
This is definitely not the way to go: Dressing too casually and having an unkempt appearance shows little respect for the interviewer. While they don’t have to memorize the entire company history, if you don’t find out about the company you’re applying to, HR will rightly assume you’re not really interested in the job.