How to craft a cover letter that works in the German job market?

49% of the hiring managers said they are more likely to read a job application if it is accompanied by a cover letter.

Even then, 80% of the applicants avoid using a cover letter and lose their chance of getting noticed by potential employers.

So, how do you ensure that your job application gets in front of employers, and how do you nudge them to read your application?

The simple answer is to craft a compelling cover letter that acts as a sales pitch for your job application.

A cover letter should be directed to a hiring manager or the potential employer. Generic cover letters are very likely to get rejected.

Prof. Dr. Rolf Winter

There is no one-fits-all format for a cover letter.

But, I can share with you a format that worked for me in the last 5 years of my job search in Germany.

It also helped hundreds of GIC members get past the screening round when applying for jobs in Germany.

As per my experience both as a job seeker and a hiring manager, the cover letter should have the following three parts

1. Who you are?

This is the first section of your cover letter where you introduce yourself to the potential employer.

Use this section to precisely introduce yourself without going too much into the details.

You can include your current profession, your highest qualification, location, visa status, etc if applicable.

Here is an example of a good cover letter that includes this section:

I am a highly organized, thorough and motivated IT professional offering 5+ years of experience in all facets of qualification testing/integration testing which includes Requirement Analysis, Test-case Development, and Test Automation. Currently, I am working as a Senior Automation Test Engineer at Synechron Technologies, Hyderabad, India.

Remember: Do not include too many details. The idea here is to give a short introduction and let the hiring manager quickly jump to the next section of the cover letter.

2. What are your accomplishments?

The next section in your cover letter should talk about your biggest accomplishments.

This is the section that can be used as a sales pitch where you can briefly talk about what you did as an individual or as a team and how this impacted the employer.

If you have numbers and statistics to quote, better to include them.

Here is an example of how you can write a simple yet engaging “accomplishments” section in your cover letter.

My first practical experience was with WABCO India in Chennai, where I worked in the Vehicle Dynamics Business unit, developing various electro-pneumatic valves and systems such as the Trailer Control Valve, Pneumatic Door Control System, Lift Axle Control System, and Hill Start Aid system for non-ABS vehicles. I led brake system layout optimization and value engineering initiatives using a frugal engineering approach. After WABCO, I joined Daimler India Commercial Vehicles in Chennai as a Brake System Integrator, responsible for the complete brake system layout and packaging, including pedal assembly, air processing units, valves, brake tubes, foundation brakes, and ABS. I represented the region in Daimler’s brake system modular strategy project and led cost reduction initiatives, achieving annual savings of 1 million INR. Additionally, I contributed to implementing ABS for all truck models and concept proving the electronic APU (eAPU) with a fuel efficiency improvement of 0.5%

3. Why you should be considered for this role?

This is a very important section and the most overlooked one as well.

You have introduced yourself and also included your accomplishments. Great! But why should the hiring manager consider you over hundreds of other applicants?

This is the section where you can precisely inform the hiring manager how you will bring value to the company.

Be specific and do not use generic words and examples in this section.

A great example of a cover letter that uses this section well is shown below:

The Python backend engineer role open at Ecosia suits me well, mainly because of my experience building an email parsing system in my last role. The system I built used SendGrid as an email provider, and I created a FastAPI-based microservice that was able to parse the incoming emails. I used SendGrid’s inbound parse capability to achieve this goal. Looking at the job description, I understand that the project needs someone with relevant experience in building email systems that can automatically handle incoming emails and assign context to each one of those emails. I am sure that my previous experience will be a great addition to the team if I get a chance to work with the Ecosia product team.

Important considerations

There are a few things to note while you craft your cover letter.

  1. It should not be a generic cover letter that you use for all your job applications.
  2. Always try to modify the cover letter based on the job description and add some element of personal touch.
  3. Never use an AI-generated cover letter. Most ATS systems are smart enough to detect AI-generated content.
  4. Instead, use AI for spell-checking and grammar correction once you have finished your cover letter draft.
  5. Make sure that your cover letter is not longer than a single page.
  6. Always save your cover letter as a PDF file.
  7. Don’t rush when you create your first cover letter. Spend as much time as you need as this is one of the most important documents that can help you get a job in Germany.

In Summary

I hope you now have a better understanding of how to craft a cover letter that works in Germany.

It is a simple document that can make or break a deal. Here the deal is your employment opportunity.

Please spend some time understanding and crafting a cover letter that includes the three main sections discussed in this post.

Once you implement this change and start applying for jobs with the new cover letter, you will start seeing results.

Feel free to share your feedback in the comment section and let me know if this helps.

Whenever you are ready, there are 3 ways we can help you with your job search in Germany

1. The GIC Community: We built an active discord community of thousands of professionals who are searching for a job in Germany or moved to Germany and are helping others to make their move. Join the community and learn from others.

2. The GIC+ Membership: This premium membership grants you additional privileges to speed up your job search in Germany. Some of the benefits of joining the premium tier include weekly meet-ups, access to visa-sponsored jobs, access to the job search planner tool, and more.

3. The Job Search Support Service: We have partnered with Senior HRs and Recruiters from Germany who will help you customize your profile to meet the requirements of the German job market. This is different from what is offered by the traditional international job consultancies.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only. We strongly advise readers to conduct their due diligence or consult with a professional legal or immigration consultant before taking any action based on the content of this post. "Germany Is Calling" or the author of this post does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or applicability of the information provided.