German Cover Letter Writing Guide
Work in abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in Germany needs more than just the obvious German cover letter and German CV writing and translation - it requires methodical preparation. You will be forced to solve issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you decided to go for German jobs.
Do not take to lightly the enormous impact the German cover letter can have on the results of your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, strange job application procedures, unusual selection trends and new to you management culture.
Your German cover letter is the very first thing an employer will see. A personalized, targeted, well-written cover letter is your chance to set yourself apart, grab the employer's interest, and draw them in for a closer look at your CV.
When applying for a position in Germany, you may use either German or English, depending on the company and your fluency. Write in German to German companies and in English or other foreign language to international ones. Stick to one language once chosen.
It is no problem to write your cover letter in other language then German. However, some knowledge of the German is expected, because it is considered necessary to cope with daily office life and life outside of work.
Write your German cover letter in a short and professional style using power words and action verbs. Usually it contains three or four paragraphs. Be concise and get to the point as quickly as possible. Break any paragraph, which is longer than seven lines, into short easily understandable one.
Type your German cover letter on one to maximum two A4 format pages in a conservative style and in strict chronological order. In some traditional professions, such as medicine, the handwritten letter is preferred.
In a cover letter, list your name, nationality and contact information including your address, phone/fax and e-mail. Often cover letters and CVs are kept on file for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number with international access code and e-mail address are most important.
It is best to address your job cover letter to a specific person. So, research each employer's organization and personalize each cover letter with a real person’s name and title. State the purpose of the letter and specify where you saw the advertisement for the job. The letter should give a complete and precise description of the position previously held. This is more important than your personal motivation for the job.
Explain your qualifications and interest. Refer to your enclosures (CV, photo) and mention a possible starting date. It is not uncommon to give an indication of the salary you would like to earn. At the end of your letter state that you “look forward” to an interview.
German employers want to have complete information before making their first selection. Therefore, you need to send copies of diplomas, testimonials, reference letters and attestations of professional training together with your CV and cover letter.
The resulting package is a weighty document, bound in a plastic folder. It is a rather expensive application to send by mail or courier. However, German employers usually return the whole package after use, except the cover letter. Also, you may scan all these documents and email them to your prospective employer.
Check the spelling and grammar of your German cover letter. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and German or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your cover letter, send it to a professional for assistance.
If you have a difficulty with your German cover letter writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:
Other German Cover Letter Info
We hope that your German job search has been successful. So, if your German cover letter and German CV are ready, you may email them to your future employers, apply for German visa with German work permit and start preparing for a German job interview.
Good luck with your Germany cover letter!