Application letter

How to write a good cover letter

In the cover letter one should focus on one’s strengths and emphasise why one is the best choice for the advertised position.

To understand what it takes to write a good cover letter that gets you to the interview stages, let’s first discuss what a cover letter is not:

  • no marketing campaign that focuses on you
  • no plea for employment
  • not a honey pot from which you can draw to flatter your future employer

The cover letter is about one thing in particular: the relationship between you and the company/vacant position. This relationship is the central theme of your application.

So don’t just write that you are interested in the position, but show why the position demands you and your specific skills.

In order to score points with your tailor-made cover letter, you must have a thorough look at the job advertisement and the company in advance. Which of the required qualifications do you have? Which tasks that belong to the profile have you already performed in a previous employment? How about your soft skills? Elaborate on all the experiences that can be of value to your application.

Next, one should address the company and its described properties in the cover letter. What appeals to you about working for this company? Have you experienced their products or services first hand or do they produce innovations that you have observed for some time? Do you prefer to work in a family business rather than in a large corporation (or not)? Describe your connection to the company, its products or services, its organisational structure, its culture and its image. If you can’t think of anything, search the company’s website, customer ratings or ranking portals. Once you have found arguments that fit the company, formulate them as concretely as possible, for example:

„As I like to travel, I am flexible and have no family ties, I can well imagine working at different locations.“

Or

„I particularly appreciate IT-supported logistics in your company, as I was already able to see for myself how useful and helpful this approach can be in today’s logistics.“

Structure of the cover letter

Your cover letter should not contain more than half a page – because you still need space for the letterhead, the complementary close and the attachments. In the upper third of the letter, write down as usual in letters

  • Your name, address and contact details
  • the name and address of the recipient
  • Place and date
  • the subject

The actual cover letter begins with the greeting formula. As a rule, this will still be the traditional “Dear Mrs. Mustermann, / Dear Mr. Mustermann,” in letters. Find out who your exact contact person is so that you can address them directly and do not have to formulate them in general. After the decimal point follows a blank line, then it continues with one or two introductory sentences.

The introduction is first of all about establishing a connection – to a telephone call, a recommendation or even to the job advertisement.

Important: Replace the often used administrative language (with reference to your job posting from… to…) with a more fluent and sympathetic formulation. Like this:

Dear Mr. Mustermann,

on your website / in the trade journal “Transport und Logistik” I noticed your job posting “XY”. As I value your company very much and have the necessary qualifications, I am applying for the vacant position.

The subsequent one or two paragraphs should establish why you and the advertised position are an excellent match. Again: Make sure that the wording sounds positive and self-confident, but not exorbitant or arrogant. Briefly explain what the company gets out of employing you.

Finally, make it clear what you want: Namely

a) work for the company (find a good argument!) and

b) to be invited to the interview

If this is specified in the job advertisement, you can also state your desired salary and earliest possible starting date here. Alternatively, insert this at the end of your curriculum vitae in table form.

Finally, end your cover letter with kind regards and don’t forget to sign it by hand.

Attachments to the application

How to select attachment documents carefully – and insert them professionally

Each complete application folder includes attachments, i.e. copied originals of:

  • Testimonies
  • Degrees
  • Job references or letters of recommendation
  • Qualification certificates

Beginners do not, of course, have much to send along apart from the certificate and one or the other certificate. You can therefore place the note and the list of attachments directly in the cover letter (left-justified, two lines apart below the signature).

However, if the attachments are more extensive, you should make a list of all documents on an extra sheet. Then number the attachments or work with page numbers so that every single document can be found quickly.