Application documents

Have you found an exciting job advertisement?

Then it’s time to apply. In Germany, it is common practice to print out the application documents in a special application folder by post or as a PDF file by e-mail. The companies usually provide information about this in the job advertisement. Regardless of whether by post or online – which information and documents belong to the application is the same for both variants:

Cover letter: With the cover letter you give the company a first impression of yourself. They explain why you are interested in the position and describe your own strengths. Try to express yourself convincingly in the cover letter so that you stand out from other applicants.

CV: In the CV you give an overview of your personal and professional career. The curriculum vitae – also called curriculum vitae (CV) – does not have to be in the form of a text, but can list the most important information in a table. In Germany, applicants are often expected to have a photo on their résumé.

Germans don’t usually arrange their CVs in strictly chronological order. In most cases, however, the last professional experience is always placed at the beginning. A distinction is made between the following categories:

Personal data: Name, Address, Contact details

Work experience: Which companies have you worked for? What were your tasks there? This information should be listed in chronological order. It starts with the most recently acquired professional experience.

Education : Which schools and universities did you graduate from? What grades did you graduate with? What subjects did you study? Have you completed vocational training? Or have you attended further training courses? This part should also be listed chronologically – with the last degree at the beginning and   school education at the end.

Language skills: which languages ​​do you speak? How well do you speak these languages? In Germany, the following standard terms are often used: “mother tongue”, “business fluent” , “fluent” and “basic knowledge” (beginners). However, it is more advisable to refer to the standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR / CEFR).

Special skills and interests: For example, do you have special IT skills that are important for your job? What are your hobbies?

Certificates : Finally, include the most important certificates in the application documents. This includes, for example: certificates from vocational training as well as your diplomas from school and university. You can find out more about the subject of “Recognition of Professional Qualifications” here . If you have references from previous employers, you can also add them. Do not send originals, only copies. Because often you don’t get the documents back. Usually a normal copy is sufficient. You only need to send officially certified copies if the company expressly writes this. Important: It is best to have your certificates translated into German or English so that the company understands your services.

Tip: On the Europass page you will find helpful information on the formal design of your CV and cover letter.

With the help of the Europass documents you can present your qualifications and competences clearly and thus increase your chances of getting a job. However, companies in Germany usually value an individual design for their application. You are therefore welcome to use the Europass CV as a guide and then adapt it to your needs:

  • You can download a template of the Europass CV in Word format here .
  • You will also find completed sample CVs in 26 different languages ​​on Europass.
  • On Europass you can create your CV directly online in a standardized format in German or English .
  • With the Europass Skills Pass you can present your skills and qualifications in a clear manner. This includes certificate supplements, copies of degrees and proof of work. The skills pass also includes a language pass with which you can provide your own assessment of your language skills. With the help of the online editor, you can create your skills pass and link it to your Europass CV, for example.

A convincing cover letter is just as important part of your application as the résumé. You can also find out more about the formal requirements for a cover letter on the Europass website

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