You want to apply for a job in Germany but aren’t sure which documents you need and what they should entail? The two vital documents that you need when applying are a covering letter (application letter) and a curriculum vitae also known as a CV.
A covering letter is usually a one page document, where someone seeking employment explains their work history, professional skills and why they are interested in that particular job. A covering letter, also referred to as a letter of application should provide additional information about your skills as well as your professional experience. This letter should give the employer detailed information on why you are a qualified candidate for this job, however, it should not simply repeat what you have already stated in your CV. In this letter you should include what position you are applying for, what makes you the ideal candidate, why they should select you for an interview and how you will follow up. The different sections that a covering letter is split into are:
- The heading: Name and contact information
- A greeting: Preferably addressed to a specific person
- An introduction: Why are you writing this letter?
- The main body: What are your relevant qualifications?
- The conclusion: Contact information and follow up details
- A signature: To end the letter
Another essential document needed when applying for a job in Germany is your CV (curriculum vitae). A CV is where you discuss your personal and professional career so far. In Germany, it is common for applicants to include a photograph of themselves in their CV. When writing your CV, your most recent professional experience should be at the beginning. The following sections should be included in your CV:
- Personal details: Name, address, contact details
- Professional experience: What companies have you worked for in the past and what did your work consist of? This information should be listed in chronological order, starting with your most recent professional experience.
- Education: Which schools and universities did you attend? What did you study and what were your grades? Have you completed any further training or educational courses? This section should also be listed in chronological order, with your most recent qualification at the beginning.
- Language Skills: What languages do you speak and how well do you speak them? The following terms are used in Germany to describe how well you speak a language: ‚Muttersprache‘, which is your native language, ‚verhandlungssicher‘, which is business fluent (excellent language skills), ‚fließend‘, which means that you speak the language fluently and ‚Grundkenntnisse‘, which are the basic language skills. However, you can also refer to the standards of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR), which ranges from A1, being the most basic knowledge of the language to C2, meaning you are proficient in that language.
- Special aptitudes and interests: Do you have any other special skills or interests worth mentioning, for example computer skills that are important for your job. What are your hobbies and what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
- Certificates: What are your most important certificates? This could include any certificates you received during your vocational training as well as your school or university degree. You could also include references from previous employers.
When applying for a job both of these documents are equally as important and essential to the application process, so it is recommended that they are tailored to the company’s specific requirements.