- Education & Work
The Importance of Cover Letter in Germany
31 Aug 2021
So, how do you like this general form of address? Cool? Not cool!
And that's the same for the recruiters in the HR departments reading your application.
Let's do it right:
THE COVER LETTER
A typical structure has prevailed for the cover letter, which you should use as a guide when creating it. Classically, the cover letter is structured according to this pattern:
- Your address
- Company's address
- Location & date
- Subject line (printed in bold)
- Main part
- Work experience part I
- Work experience part II / academic background
- Relation to the company
- Final part (including signature)
Cover Letter vs. Motivational Letter
Have you ever seen a job ad that asks you to please send your application along with a motivational letter?
If HR managers ask for a letter of motivation in addition to the cover letter, it can be difficult: It basically means that two pages have to be filled in a coherent and meaningful way instead of just one.
The trick with a very personal letter of motivation is not to write redundant matters and not to contradict yourself. If the job ad is asking for a motivational letter, you have to send one.
Motivational Letters can also be useful when applying for:
- University Programs
- Prospective / Unsolicited Applications
- Modern companies / startups
A motivational letter is a great idea for expats to polish their application and make up for the "missing" job reference from their former employer (because it's not common or even illegal to receive one in your country).
In general, a motivational letter is more personal and individual than the cover letter. Hence, you want to be more specific about your skills, goals, achievements, etc.
Similar Format, Different Contents
Cover letters and letters of motivation are structured in a similar way but have different priorities. The letter of motivation is attached to classic job applications after the cover letter and curriculum vitae as the third page. (Cover Letter = 1 page, CV = 1-2 pages, Motivational Letter = 1 page).
Motivational letters are for you to explain in detail your motivation, motives, and personal goals. They give room to individuality and the opportunity to position yourself positively.
Above all, you should explain why you want to get your foot in the door of the company of your choice. For example, as a candidate for a master’s degree, you describe not only the previous stages of your training, but also what prompts you to study this postgraduate course and what makes you ideal for it.
You will talk about selected skills, interests, and affinities that are relevant in this context - if it fits, it can also be of a private nature.
Have you already familiarised yourself intensively with the special features and advantages of your chosen employer/university?
If a letter of motivation is required when applying for a job in addition to the classic application documents - i.e. cover letter, CV and references, and certificates - or if you add it to an unsolicited application of your own free will, things are different.
The content must be divided sensibly:
- Shorten the usual section on motivation in the main part of the cover letter or leave it out entirely.
- In the letter of motivation, draw attention to highlights of your résumé.
- You explain, for example, your particular interest in this position in this company, what goals you are pursuing and what you can achieve for your potential new employer.
Formally, the cover letter and the letter of motivation hardly differ from each other - both cover one page and are structured very similarly
1. The subject line:
In the cover letter you specifically formulate what you are applying for - "Application as a mechatronics technician" or "Speculative application as ..."
Individual headings that arouse curiosity are suitable for the letter of motivation, such as “An overview of my strengths”, “My motivation” or “Why I am applying to you”.
2. The form of address:
Your letter of motivation is addressed to the same recipient as the cover letter - address them by name.
3. The introduction:
Who you are and what you are applying for is stated in the cover letter, if possible you have already made a reference to the company.
You should not repeat yourself at this point in the letter of motivation.
You can start with the first personal plus point, for example: “I value your company very much as a customer and I know that you are looking for branch managers for your further expansion. I have just qualified for this as part of a three-month course. In the future, I would like to work for you, the market leader.”
4. The main part:
In the cover letter, you talk about your professional qualities and underpin them with precise examples.
The letter of motivation, however, offers space to go into more detail and to add important personal aspects.
Why do you enjoy working in your profession and in your industry?
What is your way of working?
What successes have you achieved with it and
How do team colleagues and managers perceive you?
5. The conclusion:
You end your cover letter in a friendly, self-confident and confident manner. Keep this attitude in the letter of motivation, but put it in different words.
Find a concise last sentence that clearly underlines your interest in the company and your dream job.
Follow the cover letter and the curriculum vitae closely, avoid anything that is unrelated to the job and do not contradict yourself.
If you'd like to learn more about each of the paragraphs in the cover letter, feel free to watch this explainer video here:
Written by: Lisa Janz
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