Written applications are necessary but insufficient prerequisites to be hired into your dream job as an employee.
Necessary since the first hurdle needs to be taken. If your application is inaccurate, irrelevant, and unconvincing, it will land on the “decline” pile of the recruiter’s desk. This will prevent you from being invited to an interview and thus proving your fit to a potential employer. Insufficient, since it is only the first hurdle. The following ones have at least the same height. They represent the next countries you want to visit.

Still, especially your resume plays an exceptional role.
If you keep it current and follow a few simple guidelines, you have a competitive advantage against other applicants. In addition, you can use it to build and foster a relationship with recruiters. They can help you to have an outstanding career. Therefore, the resume is your most critical career document. The time you are going to invest in all application files will pay off in many ways. Guaranteed! Hence, let us get started: This is about your dream job. Your professional career. An important part of your life!

Let us start with the cover letter. This document has a trisection regarding content and format as well: The firm and its specific job posting requirements. Your individual capabilities. Moreover, the marriage of those. Indeed, you can compare an application to a proposal of marriage. You have the expectations X. I have the capabilities Y. X and Y fit perfectly together. How do you bring these three paragraphs to life? Let us take a closer look.

First off, gather relevant information about your potential employer as well as gain clarity about the specific job requirements. Hit the internet!

On the homepage, you can find primarily general company information. In addition to the basic stuff (e.g. industry, products, services, key figures, vision and strategy), I recommend you to investigate the historic financial developments as well as forecasts.

The specific role requirements are written in the job posting. Regardless whether it contains clear and sufficient information, you want to phone the contact person named in the posting. Why? Well, this offers you the opportunity to gain a popularity advantage against other candidates and submit your application warm. Before you call, prepare some questions, which are relevant for the job but not answered by the posting.
 
Now you have all components. Your cover letter will fit on one page. Period. It is split into three paragraphs.
 
You will find the company information in the internet. Specific requirements form the job posting as well as additional information from the contact person.
Your relevant skills will be based on your resume.
The merger of first two points will reflect the marriage of requirements and capabilities.
 
Please note: Write the cover letter always tailored to the company and dedicated job requirements. Copy and paste will not lead to success!


 
All right, let us know cover the resume.
Update it at least twice a year. Just take half an hour and reflect upon your role and responsibility changes as well as accomplishments in the last six months. Since you will maintain your resume in a reverse chronological order, extend the upper text block, or just add a new one at the top of the page (in case your role or employer changed).
 
The blocks are always structured as follows: A headline (consisting of the duration of employment, your role, company, brief role summary) and a responsibility and accomplishment block in form of three to seven bullet points.

In addition, the resume contains a header with your name, postal plus email address and phone number. Full stop. No photo, no date of birth, and no parental jobs.

Finally, close your resume with a footer, which shows your most recent qualification. Additional specific capabilities and language skills only if the job posting requires it.
 
The third and last part of your written application is the attachments.
Those comprise your diploma (or equivalent), references of current/previous employers and further certificates.
 
Boy, your fingers must be bleeding by now. Hang in there: We are almost finished.
 
First, ask an appropriate person to review your resume. Maybe you even know a (ex-) recruiter who can give you additional guidance! In case you have written the application in English as a non-native speaker, ask a native speaker to review your wording and spelling.

Afterwards you merge all documents into a PDF format. There are actually tools, which you can download from the internet.

In the last step, you attached the complete application document to an email or upload it to the online application system of the company (alternatively as separate documents if required).

 

Cover Letter Copy-Paste
Some people sacrifice effectiveness on the altar of efficiency. They apparently like certain parts so much that they simply reuse them for other cover letters. Nothing wrong with that if this is about common phrases. Be aware of content generalization though. Instead, consider company and job profile specifics to effectively match your individual capabilities compellingly. This is the only way to success.

Cold Approach
“Why should I call the company beforehand? The job posting already contains all information I need for the application.” Yet you want to religiously initiate a first contact by phone. Reality shows that this approach is much more successful. Duh: Also in sales warm approaches are more effective. Similar to this, applying for a job means offering your skills and experiences to a potential buyer.

Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
You may be a linguist and be convinced that your application is flawless. Requesting review from a qualified person needs to become second nature though. Nothing beats the four-eye-principle when it comes to grammar and spell checking. It is just sad to see folks being rejected just because of ignorance.
Some people sacrifice effectiveness on the altar of efficiency. They apparently like certain parts so much that they simply reuse them for other cover letters. Nothing wrong with that if this is about common phrases. Be aware of content generalization though. Instead, consider company and job profile specifics to effectively match your individual capabilities compellingly. This is the only way to success.

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