All about Applications


A thorough analysis of job adverts is an important precondition for a successful application:

You have to distinguish between:

Specialist knowledge, like subjects studied, specializations, special software or programming skills (e.g. CAD-software, software for simulations and calculations, ERP-systems, advanced MS-Office skills)

Additional qualification, like foreign languages, driving licence, presentation techniques, courses in public speaking

Social competences and personal skills, like abilities in dealing with job-related responsibilities, the ability to get on with superiors, colleagues or customers.   

Furthermore, there are compulsory criteria (must-haves) and others that are desirable but not essential. These non-essential criteria can be recognised by words like “ideally”, “advantageous”, “desirable”, “ideally, you should be able to”.

Application Portfolio

Your application provides the company with a first impression. The employer does not know you and obtains all the necessary information from your application. Application documents that are disorderly or incomplete are generally discarded first. This means that a perfect application portfolio is a must.  

Pay attention to a uniform layout, different font sizes, line spacing, alignment (justified or left-justified), structure, grammar and spelling. The portfolio should be adapted to suit the job vacancy.


Applications in Germany

Covering letter
The covering letter contains a brief description of your personal profile and presents you as the ideal candidate. It should generally take up one side and convince the personnel manager that you are the right person for the job. Pay attention to the structure of the text and make sure that all the requirements mentioned in the job advert are covered, with examples, as appropriate.  Use only positive formulations. The covering letter must be written individually for each job application.


Your CV should generally cover two sides, but may be extended to a maximum of three sides for people with a lot of professional experience.  

Here, structure and clarity are the most important aspects. The reader should be able to see quickly what knowledge and experience you have.

The first block contains personal data. Then come the most important facts that make you suitable for the job—in applications for practical semesters/internships, theses, or starting a career, this is always your degree subject!  The most recent information is always given first.
Your CV may also have to partly adapted to suit the job vacancy.


Application Photo
Please invest in a professional photo! An application photo is not compulsory in Germany, but is still usual. If you do add a photo, make sure it shows you from your best side!

Please limit yourself to around eight to ten relevant appendices, such as current marks, enrolment certificate, evidence of compulsory practical experience/internships, evidence and certificates of training, your university entrance qualifications, any relevant documentation concerning practical placements/internships, etc. Any other documents can be added later, if required.

Applications Abroad

If you are applying abroad, please contact us directly—according to the place and country, there are differences that have to be taken into account.

Individual Advice

The Career Centre offers regular individual advice sessions for German and English application portfolios. If you would like to receive individual advice or have someone check your application, you are welcome to make an appointment with us. You will receive feedback on

  • structure, reasoning and persuasiveness of your letter,
  • structure and content of your CV,
  • application photo
  • fit between your profile and the job requirements.

Individual advice is by appointment only. Please send us your CV, covering letter and the job advert in advance so that we can prepare for the advisory talk. This will take about one hour.

As individual advisory sessions can be very intensive, you may have to wait. Alternatively, you may wish to consider a group advisory session.

Group advice

From your personal profile through job adverts to individual and compelling application portfolios!

In the group advice sessions, you can get a concrete overview over the topic of "applications " Alongside helpful information and tips, you can ask specific questions and exchange ideas with other participants. After clearing up your questions in the session, you will be in a position to put together a good application portfolio by yourself.

Group advice sessions are limited to small groups of up to 6 people.

Meeting place:

Rooms in the Career Centre, Esslingen city center, building 17, room S17.207

We are happy to offer further help!

Sending in your Application

In general, there are three main ways to send in your application: via an application portal, by e-mail or (less and less common) by post.

Via an application portal

Normally, you upload your letter, C.V. and other documentation onto an application portal. These three documents should always be sent as a PDF and saved under a name that makes sense, e.g. surname-first name-CV-job reference number.

By e-mail

The reference line in the e-mail should contain the following: the word “application”, the job title from the advert and (if applicable) the job reference number. The e-mail should contain a short version of your motivation for the job and your concluding remarks from the covering letter. Your application documentation should be appended as a PDF with a name that makes sense e.g. surname-first name-CV-job reference number.

Postal applications

For academic posts, it is usual to submit a three-part application portfolio. When this is opened, the first thing the person responsible for the appointment sees will be your covering letter. This should be held by a small clip at the corner. When opened, the C.V. should be in the middle with references on the right. The C.V. and references should have a cover sheet; the cover sheet for the C.V. must include your contact details and is also the correct place for your photo. The cover sheet for the references should include a table of contents. Both cover sheets should have the same layout.

Job Interview

To be able to present yourself confidently in the job interview, it is important to know what to expect and how your person, your strengths and motivations appear to others.  

The job interview starts the minute you enter the building and includes the way you introduce yourself at reception.

You can find tips to prepare yourself for your job interview in the following link (to come). The most common questions are listed with info on how you can prepare for them and what is important in your answers. A basic rule for job interviews is that, as long as you are talking, you can guide the conversation.  

Individual advice

We simulate a job interview with you (20 min.) and give you detailed feedback directly afterwards (30 min.) on your performance and your answers as well as further tips to help you to be prepared.  

As well as your covering letter, C.V. and job advert, please also send two questions that you would like to answer and two questions that you would find difficult at least 3 days before the agreed appointment. 

Self-marketing: be authentic – competent - likeble

1. Read the job profile thoroughly

  • Professional requirements: specialist knowledge, additional knowledge, examples of applied knowledge
  • Personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Areas of responsibility
  • Employer: What does the employer do? How do they market themselves?
  • Other considerations: managerial or team, church-run organisation, self-image – image perceived by others

2. Classical job interview themes

  • Run through your C.V. in two minutes.
  • Why am I the best person for the job?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Where would you like to be in three, five, or ten years?
  • Why this degree subject / specialisation / thesis …
  • What are your personal strengths? What are your personal weaknesses? What bothers you most about other people and how do you deal with it?
  • It is especially important to know your personal profile for an assessment center.  How do you work, how do you interact and what role do you fulfil in a team? Here, you need to know exactly where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and to consider which characteristics you can use to advantage and which you should overcome or restrain.  

3. Assessment center – be clear what the company is looking for

  • Observers: The organisers are observers for the whole day! Pay attention to the different functions in the company and roles in the assessment center. The objectives of the exercises should always be clear and shape the activities. Pay attention to your self-presentation, interactions and eye-contact.  
  • Applicants’ opening/ introductory round: The following forms may be used: short portrait, partner interviews, group introductions. They should contain the most important details about your person in connection with the job - if possible, something original that helps you stand out from the crowd. The following points are under observation: confident self-presentation, eye-contact, fluent speaking and how you deal with mistakes, how your self-presentation is structured and organized, ideas, teamwork and initiative.
  • Group discussions
    • Forms: democratic discussions, ranking order of candidates, finding topics …
    • Contents: finding a balance between the group goals and your own objectives, listening, clarity in posing questions, contradicting or supporting, asking open questions …
    • The following will be observed:
      • manners (letting others finish what they have to say, showing attentiveness, objectivity)
      • initiative/leadership (summarising, if the discussion gets stuck; inviting silent participants to contribute; drawing attention to the need to not interrupt …),
      • orientation towards goals and objectives,
      •  presenting and defending your own opinions, dealing with conflict, treating others as colleagues
  •  Presentations/short talks
    • Forms: Freely elected topic (thesis), topic chosen by chance
    • Important: good structuring (greeting, introduction, methods, main part, summary, conclusions, thanks)
    • The following will be observed: how you present yourself, speech, general education, structured approach, formal aspects
  •  Role-plays 
    • Forms: e.g. employee/customer conversation, private problems, allocation of roles …
    • Content: clarity about your own role and its interests, clarifying the contents of the talk, structure of the talk
    • The following will be observed:
      • manners (letting others finish what they have to say, showing attentiveness, objectivity)
      • body language
      • structure of the talk
      • differentiation between the interests of the employers and private aspects
      • atmosphere, criticism of facts, not people
  • Case studies
    • Forms: finding solutions to problems
    • The following will be observed: ability to find solutions, ability to justify actions
  • Interview = job interview
  • Tests
    •  Be clear about what exactly is being tested, e.g. relevant characteristics: decisiveness in in-tray exercises   

4. Be prepared

  • Be well prepared. But don’t drive yourself crazy! Try to relax the day before.
  • Avoid time-pressure when travelling to the interview.
  • Pay attention to your appearance and manners:
    • dress
    • greetings
    • getting to know other candidates

To help you, the Career Centre offers individual advice sessions by appointment on this topic.

Competence Courses

Together with the Career Centre, the Student Advice Centre organises a programme of courses to help you develop your personal competences every semester.  Among other things, these are intended to help you prepare for the transition from university into the work of work.   

The varied programme of courses and events comprises a range of interesting workshops on planning your career, know-how for applications, and methodological competences. You will also find events on the topics of entrepreneurship, gaining experience abroad, and coaching for learning and examinations.




To maintain an overview over your applications, it is useful to create a digital folder marked "Applications". For every company that you apply to, you create a subfolder in which you save the job advert, your application documentation and other information that you have collected. You can also save information from online application tools.

You will then have an overview of the complete application procedure and all the information that you need, for example, for the job interview.


Interested? Find out more! about our degree programmes