According to research carried out in 2013, about half of the applications German companies received without a cover letter were rejected – that’s how important your cover letter is in Germany.
Creating a cover letter in German-style needs you to have a clear understanding of what the German recruiter is looking for in the letter – it should demonstrate the academic and professional qualifications of the candidate and how that would help them achieve the company’s objectives.
Here, in this complete guide, we have discussed everything you need to write and create a perfect German cover letter for your next job.
This also includes:
- Style guide for German cover letters to impress native hiring managers.
- Detailed instructions on how to write each section of the cover letter.
- Pro tips to make your cover letter stand out from the rest.
Try out our resume builder for FREE to create your next German resume and cover letter. We have created a set of awesome templates to make your whole application process faster and smoother.
Read our complete German cover letter example and see how you can write yours.
German Cover Letter Example
01 36 23 98 24
10. Juni 2022
Herr Tobias Schmidt,
Restaurant Dae Mon,
Anschreiben für die Stelle der Hostess
ich bin eine zertifizierte Hostess mit mehr als 2 Jahren Erfahrung in der Hotelbranche und mache derzeit meinen Bachelor-Abschluss in Hospitality Management an der Universität der Künste Berlin.
In meinem vorherigen Job als Hostess bei Gabriel Kreuther in New York habe ich alle Aufgaben einer Hostess effizient ausgeführt, einschließlich der Entgegennahme von Essensreservierungen, der Planung der Sitzordnung und der Bearbeitung von Telefonanfragen. In meiner 2-jährigen Tätigkeit wurde ich außerdem dreimal als Mitarbeiterin des Monats ausgezeichnet.
Ich wollte unbedingt in eine deutsche Küche eintreten, um die Hostessenkultur in Europa kennenzulernen, und hoffte, dass das Restaurant Dae Mon ein großartiger Ort dafür sein würde, insbesondere wegen seiner langen Geschichte in der deutschen Esskultur.
Es wäre mir ein Vergnügen, die Stelle in einem Vorstellungsgespräch zu erörtern, und ich hoffe, dass dies der Beginn einer für beide Seiten vorteilhaften Zusammenarbeit sein wird.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Zeugnis und Abschrift des Bachelor-Abschlusses
How to Write a German Cover Letter
Your resume and the cover letter are what makes the first impression for the hiring manager about any applicant – create it right, and they will remember you in the interview. Well-written and well-structured cover letters increase your chances of getting shortlisted while making your attempt a solid one at the interview.
Writing a cover letter for a German employer is quite different from that of any other region – especially with the writing style and structure. German recruiters consider cover letters as an important part of a job application – they wish to speak to candidates who demonstrate their immense interest in the role.
These general guidelines would give you an idea of what the German hiring manager expects from you:
- Single-page is the standard length for cover letters in Germany.
- Do not write long sentences and paragraphs – make them short and clear.
- Stay formal throughout – don’t get emotional.
- Keep the body of the letter to 3 to 4 short paragraphs.
- Avoid self-promoting statements about the candidate.
- Use a modern cover letter template – ideally matching your resume.
Overall, a german cover letter should sound polite and it should always be in a formal language, whether it is in German or English. Draw a fine line between selling yourself and plain bragging – German hiring managers prefer raw data over-exaggerated self-promotional material.
German cover letter structure
Having a proper structure from the beginning would help you write an outstanding German cover letter – we also call this the layout.
We recommend the following:
- Subject line
- Opening greeting
- First Paragraph: candidate into
- Second Paragraph: skills, experience, and expertise
- Third Paragraph: motivation
- Fourth Paragraph: Call to Action (CTA)
Let’s discuss how each of these sections comes together to create your perfect cover letter.
Begin with the Header
As in your resume, the header of the cover letter consists of your name and contact details. The only difference here is that you should include the details of both the sender and the receiver, considering this a formal document.
Start with your name – write the first name and the last name – use a bigger font size and bold it. Put the job title under your name followed by your email, mobile number, location, and the date.
No need for your full physical address as you’re not mailing the letter.
01 67 43 23 65
10 May 2022
Put the receiver’s name, job title, company name, and company address. If you don’t know the name of the person who would read your application, just address the “Hiring Manager”.
In German formal writing, “Frau” is used to address women and “Herr” is used for men.
- Frau for Mrs. and Ms.
- Herr for Mr.
On certain occasions, you’ll get to know the name of the hiring manager. However, if you’re not sure, do not include a name as most companies have more than one person involved in the hiring process.
The Subject of the Letter
Your German cover letter needs a subject as in any formal letter. Include the position you’re applying for in your subject.
You could use a formal greeting to open your cover letter either in English or German. There’re a couple of variations in greeting your hiring manager in the letter.
When you know the gender of the recipient:
Dear Mr – Dear Mr.
When you don’t know the gender of the recipient:
Paragraph 01: Candidate Information
Your first paragraph on the cover letter should hook the reader. The way you hook an American hiring manager and a German one would be quite different though. The job market in Germany is degree-focused – you should start with your qualifications and relevant experience to the job.
In the American job market, you could hook the recruiter with a sales pitch – talking about your special achievements and accomplishments in your previous jobs.
In Germany, if the position you’re applying for is an academic-based one, having the relevant degree or the academic qualification would most probably get you an interview – therefore, reveal them in the first paragraph itself.
See the following example of a production manager job:
State your academic qualifications in detail – most German hiring managers are looking for the right qualified individuals to call for interviews. Detail such as the institutions, GPA, class of the degree, and the name of the course could be included.
In writing your experience, state the number of years, the position you held, and the company name.
Keep it clean and simple – easy to read within 3 to 4 seconds.
Paragraph 02: Skills, Experience, and Expertise
Now, you’ve got the attention of the hiring manager as you got the qualifications they’re looking for. Let’s enlighten them with your key skills, the responsibilities you’ve held, the decisions you’ve taken – and their results.
It’s important to read the job ad and understand the keywords they have put on the job description. Most German companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) – a system that is used to shortlist job applications. ATS recognizes the right applications by calculating the keyword density and a couple of parameters – the more relevant keywords you have on your cover letter, you got more chances of passing the automatic test.
Identify any troubling questions the hiring manager or your potential line manager faces – provide your solution with an example of how you tackled a similar situation at work.
Consider including your greatest professional achievement – with the results you generated for the company and its impact on the key performance indicators (KPIs) of you and the management.
Paragraph 03: Motivation
Express your interest in joining the company. Convey your passion for the industry and how the job aligns with your short-term and long-term career objectives.
Here, your research about the company culture, vision, mission, and purpose would help – you could find more information on the about section of the company website.
This paragraph of the cover letter is an exceptionally important part as this is where the cover letter gets tailored to the employer. You need quite some research to identify the likes and dislikes about the job and the similarities of your career objectives with the company’s objectives.
The purpose of the cover letter is to convey your interest in the position and to demonstrate that you are a great match for the role. The purpose of reading a cover letter from the employer’s side would be to identify a good match for the role who is also excited to be part of the team.
Therefore, show your excitement throughout this paragraph.
Paragraph 04: Call to Action (CTA)
It’s always advisable to finish your cover letter’s body with a call to action. In any formal letter, you should inform the reader, of the move you’re expecting from their side. Any formal letter has an objective and you should remind it at the end – which is the CTA.
Ask the hiring manager for an interview – state your excitement to meet them.
Also, in the same paragraph, you could include the following information:
- Your availability for an interview.
- The type of visa you possess.
- The day you could start if they select you.
The German Cover Letter Closing
End your German cover letter with a formal salutation – you could use the same language as you write your letter.
Consider using the following closing sentence:
- Kind Regards: mit freundlichen Grüßen
- Sincerely: Mit freundlichem Gruß
- best regards: Freundliche Grüße
Put a note about the attachments you’re sending along with your cover letter. This could include your resume, academic and professional reference letters, degree certificates, transcripts, and other relevant certifications.
However, do not attach unnecessary certifications and documents with your job application as that would result in the important documents getting less attention from the hiring manager.
Tips to Improve Your German Cover Letter
If you followed the steps, you should already have an exceptional cover letter ready to send to any German recruiter. Optimize it further with these tips:
- Ask your native German friend to proofread the letter if you wrote it in German.
- Use a tool like Grammarly to check for any mistakes – your cover letter should have absolutely no spelling errors or grammar mistakes.
- Don’t use automatic text generators to write your cover letter – make it sound like an actual human being.
- Read the job description thoroughly to identify the relevant keywords.
- Do not use long wordy sentences – be clear and concise in your writing.
- don’t use bullet points.
- Try to find the person who reads your cover letter and tailor it to them.
- Don’t send the same cover letter for two jobs.
- Use a professional font such as Times or Arial.
- Maintain a consistent writing style that is formal and respectful – do not use passive voice.
- Consider using a modern cover letter template to make your application stand out.
Key Points: Writing a Perfect German Cover Letter
- Pick the right cover letter template that goes with your resume.
- Give priority to your academic and professional qualifications.
- Follow the generally accepted German styling guide for formal letters.
- Tailor your cover letter to each job you’re applying for.
- Write 3 to 4 solid paragraphs on your qualifications, skills, and enthusiasm.
- Finish with a CTA.
Complement Your Cover Letter with a Well-written Resume
You could apply to most jobs with just a resume – therefore, it’s important that you get your resume done right. In fact, your German job application completes with a resume and a cover letter that complements each other.
A resume highlights the candidate’s skills, experience, and academic qualifications while a cover letter is a tailored document to each job on the candidate’s fit for the position.
Complement your cover letter with a great German resume – pick a template that matches your personality. You may try our resume builder to create your CV and the cover letter – which would allow you to apply for jobs faster than ever.
Do I need a cover letter to apply for jobs in Germany?
It’s not mandatory to submit a cover letter in Germany. Most companies accept job applications with just a resume. However, sending a cover letter along with your resume indicates your interest in the job. It means you’re a serious candidate – not someone who applies to every job you see on the internet.
Should I include a picture on my German cover letter?
You can. Check whether your German cover letter template allows you to put a photograph. German companies are generally fine with applications that include pictures of the candidate. However, if you’re applying for jobs in international companies and multinationals – especially, USA, UK, or Australian companies based in Germany, consider not including a photo as these companies may cause immediate rejection of your applications.
Read our complete guide to including pictures on your resume.
Can I write my German cover letter in English?
You can and you should if you don’t know how to write your cover letter in the German language. A mistake some candidates make is that they get a freelancer to write a perfect German-language cover letter and a resume and send it to jobs in Germany. The problem here is that the recruiters often misread the attempt as the candidate is fluent in German. This may get you an interview, but you’ll probably fail it when they realize your level of fluency.
Should I put my salary expectations in my cover letter?
We do not recommend you to put your salary expectations in your cover letter or anywhere in the job application unless the hiring manager has explicitly asked for it. Keep it for the interview – you’ll get time to discuss it or they’ll give you an offer.