Writing an application
How do I have to write an application?
An application consists of a CV, an application letter and certificates providing proof for your skills and academic career.
- Application letter
- Curriculum Vitae
With your application you want to convince an employer that you are the perfect choice for an open position.
First impressions last! In most cases the company gets to know about you and your interest for a certain job via your application letter for the first time. The company must be able to clearly see why YOU are the right person for the job and NO other competitor. The application must not contain any typos or other mistakes.
Layout/Form: 1 x DIN A4 Seite
Content: Show your interest in the company. To do so, refer to requirements and duties provided in the job advertisement and show your strengths by short and concise examples.
- Who are you?
- What are your skills?
- Why do you apply?
- Why are you qualified?
- What are your soft skills?
- End of your studies, earliest starting date, possibly also an expected salary
Don’t do/use the following in your application letter:
- Don’t write about your weaknesses!
- Spelling mistakes/typos!
- Don’t exaggerate! Write about your strengths without exaggerating them.
- Don’t re-tell your CV!
- Don’t use very long sentences!
- No slang/dialect/colloquial language!
- Don’t write too many sentences starting with “I did/I am/I will/...”
- Don’t use negations as in “Unfortunately, I do not have experience in...”
- Don’t use the subjunctive as in “It would be/If I were.../The job should/...”
A usually tabular form of your educational/professional career is called Curriculum Vitae (CV). By listing the individual steps your educational and professional path in a short and concise form, you offer an overview of your life. Looking at your qualifications/hard skills (languages, IT skills, degree programme), companies can see whether you are a possible candidate for the job. You should take the time to adapt your CV to each individual application. Before you apply, you make up your mind and think which qualifications, skills and experiences are relevant for the desired job.
Your CV should have a tabular format. Your last occupation is the first entry. Then you state all other occupations/schools in backward chronological order. For the example below, we assume an applicant without prior working experience who is applying for a job right after their graduation. If you have work experience, the first entry would then be your professional career and after this your educational career.
Layout/Form: 1 or 2 x DIN A4 page
- Your contact details (address, e-mail address, phone number, profile picture)
- Personal details (name, nationality, date/place of birth, marital status)
- Studies (name of degree programme)
- Professional career (part-time work during studies, internship)
- Educational career
- Qualifications (IT skills, languages)
- Periods abroad (in German “Auslandsaufenthalt(e)”)
- Voluntary activities (soccer coach, dance instructor, membership in political parties/NGOs etc.)
- Personal interests/hobbies
- Place, Date Signature
Please remember that in Germany certificates/references are necessary as proof for acquired experience/qualification.
- Degree certificate and transcript of records from higher education institution
- Job references
- Internship certificates/references
- School leaving certificate
- Language certificates
- Continuing education
- Certified translations if you acquired the certificate(s) abroad
- Recommendation letter by former supervisor(s) or professor(s)
- Proof of awards
Please do never attach originals of certificates.
Please note that all following recommendations are directed at those who apply during or at the end of their studies.
Please note that a CV can be created in various styles. We decided on the following sample CV.
Please click on sample CV to download the CV as PDF
The header of your CV consists of:
- The title: Lebenslauf (Curriculum Vitae).
- Here, you may add your photo.
- Give the following personal information:
- Your full name
- Contact information (e-mail address and phone number)
- Nationality (in German: “Nationalität”)
- Date of Birth (in German: “Geboren”)
- followed by your place of birth
- Your marital status (married = “verheiratet”; not married = “ledig”)
- You only have to state your religion if it is important for the future employer, for example a church or religious community.
Below the heading ‘Bildungsweg’ list your educational history. Education is split into studies and schooling.
State your degree programme, your focus area(s) of study as well as minor fields of study, your degree, name and location of your university. If you are a graduate, state your final grade and the topic of your thesis.
List the kind of school (primary/secondary school), the kind of school leaving qualification (general higher education qualification/subject-specific higher education qualification) and your final grade (only if good).
You may also include activities during a possible gap year (voluntary work, military service)
As long as you don’t really have work experience, but just graduated from FHWS, you can also name this section “Praktika” (= internships).
State the job title, a short description of the position, name and place of the employer. Add some bullet points with your activities/duties during the internship/job. Add only those activities which are connected to the job you are applying for.
Here, you can list all continuing education courses you completed as extramural activities or after your studies.
List here all your special/additional skills such as:
- Driving licence or
- Other skills/knowledge
Skills and knowledge acquired during extramural activities or after your studies are called ‘other skills’. Among them are, for example:
- Intercultural communication
- Project management
- Online marketing etc.
Always state which level of language proficiency you possess. To do so, use the following system:
- Basic knowledge (“Grundkenntnisse”): You understand simple messages.
- Advanced knowledge (“Gute Kenntnisse”): You are able to communicate in everyday situations
- Fluent (“Fließend”): You can communicate in every situation and discuss complex topics.
- Business fluent (“Verhandlungssicher”): You can discuss complex topics from your area of expertise.
- Mother tongue (“Muttersprache”): This is the language you acquired as a child.
List your international experience, for example:
- Internship(s) abroad,
- Activities as au-pair,
- Working Holidays,
- School exchange or
- Language courses completed abroad.
If you have been a soccer coach, support your local (church) community or are in any way involved in social initiatives, you can list it here. This often contributes to your CV in a positive way. However, don’t list too many activities. Your voluntary activities are supposed to not interfere with your work.
Your hobbies may give an insight into your personality, for example if you have been involved in sports regularly or learnt playing a musical instrument. Sports like basketball or soccer promote the ability to work in a team. Jogging through the woods on your own rather takes discipline.
End your CV by stating place and date, and sign it. Even if in online applications a personal signature is no longer required, it does no harm to insert a scan of your signature.
FHWS events and trainings
Details about the FHWS events Application training and Application check are given on the page Transition into professional life.