Applying for a job
You have found an interesting job offer and want to apply for it? First, you should send a written application to the company via mail, email or its online career portal. If you are being considered for the position and the company wants to learn more about you, you will be invited to a phone or in-person interview.
An application generally includes a cover letter, resume (usually with photo and signature) and important certificates or documents. For an application by mail, you can use a special application folder for your documents. When applying via email, simply send in your application as a PDF file. Pay attention to the file’s size which should not exceed 5 MB. This helps to ensure that the recipient can open and save your application without difficulty.
In your resume, you include the most important information of your professional life up until now. Your resume should not be too long, ideally two pages. You describe the relevant milestones of your career in the areas of education, training and job experience as well as any other qualifications. Add information about volunteer work or hobbies if you like to.
In a classically structured resume, you present these entries chronologically. However, it is increasingly common in Germany to start with the most recent events – for example with your latest employments – and to finish with the earliest events. It is best to list this information in tabular form. Handwritten resumes are not customary. However, you are expected to sign your resume and cover letter by hand.
Information that should be included in a resume is:
- Contact information with address, phone number and email
- Date of birth and nationality
- Indication of marital status and religion is purely voluntary
- Professional application photo
- Previous job experience with the time period, name and location of the employer and description of your responsibilities
- Secondary and post-secondary education including marks (with an explanation of the grading system in your home country)
- For a course of study: name of the university/school and location, topic of study and marks
- Indication of military or civil service
- Internships with brief description of tasks
- Languages with an evaluation of your level of proficiency (basic knowledge, advanced knowledge, fluency, mother tongue) or rated under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF)
- Computer skills with a statement of your level of knowledge
- Volunteer commitments
- Hobbies (which should be neither too ordinary nor high-risk)
You can easily prepare your resume for your application with “Europass”. More information as well as templates and sample resumes in various languages can be found on the Europass website.
Video: Job application
Your cover letter gives the company a first impression of yourself. You explain why you are interested in the advertised position and why you are the right person for the job. Emphasize your strengths and try to convince potential employers of your abilities and qualifications. Also mention important previously acquired experience and skills from your career until now. You should include your language abilities and other qualifications, if these are important for the new position. Potential employers are certainly also interested to know why you have come to Germany and/or why you want to work here. If you have a residency permit, you should provide this information in the application. But be brief: your letter should be no longer than one standard A4 page.
The most important certificates are also part of your application. These include certificates from your secondary or post-secondary schooling, or certificates and/or references from previous employers. You can also contain evidence of your language skills or computer knowledge. It is generally enough to include only the most important documents.
The application documents will normally not be returned to you, so you should always send copies of your documents and never the originals. Officially certified copies will only be necessary, if they are requested explicitly. If your documents such as school or university certificates are not in German or English, you should include a translation so that the company can understand and evaluate your performance correctly.
The company found your application interesting and has invited you to a first interview? Congratulations on your successful first step towards finding a new job! The interview is a chance for you and the company to get to know each other. You should prepare well for the interview. In addition to dressing appropriately (a typical business outfit is customary), you should learn the most important information about the company you are applying to. It is also very important for you to arrive on time for the interview.
Usually, the representative of the company who is running the interview will begin by presenting the company and the vacant position in greater detail. It is followed by a conversation focusing on you. Prepare yourself to be asked about your previous experience and your strengths and weaknesses. The desired wage, general framework conditions of the job such as working hours and your possible entry date as well as other specifics about the position could be addressed. You should also think of a few questions to ask the interviewer to stress your interest. After the discussion, you should ask when and how you will receive a response, if you have not already been told by the interviewer.
Many other institutions, service providers and job boards also offer tips and sample applications that you can find quickly and easily on the web.
Your Welcome Center will also be happy to help you with questions about your job search and application.