Happy Monday Reader -
Cover letters. No one wants to write one (including me) when applying for jobs. Especially when you have to write a different cover letter for each company you apply to. It’s not only tedious and time-consuming but also really hard. Finding the right way to tell a story about yourself and tell the company why they should hire you is no easy feat.
I’ve seen a lot of cover letters in my day and written many myself. As such, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes and even made my own mistakes as well. Like that time, I wrote the WRONG company name in the cover letter. 😳
Today, I'm here to tell you about the common mistakes you should avoid when writing a German cover letter:
1) Not bothering to write one - The single biggest mistake that people make when applying for jobs in Germany is not taking the time to write a cover letter. I think submitting a CV should be enough, but unfortunately, many employers still expect to see a cover letter, and not offering one could potentially cost you the job. So as much as we all hate cover letters, we need to play the game to have a chance in today’s competitive job market.
2) Writing a novel - A cover letter should never be more than a page and should include anywhere from three to five paragraphs maximum. Anything more than that will bore the reader, and they may toss your job application to the “no” pile. A cover letter should be a summary, short and to the point, and make the reader curious enough to read your CV and contact you for the first interview.
3) Making it look like a piece of snail mail - Many people go overboard when composing cover letters, including the company address, their address, and even their signature. Unfortunately, many publications and content creators tell you to do this; I don’t understand this practice. Who even sends letters in the post anymore? If you’re uploading a cover letter to an applicant tracking system or sending it by email, this information isn’t needed, and it’s completely unnecessary.
4) Not customizing it - Many use the same cover letter repeatedly. While there are some elements of a cover letter that you reuse occasionally, it should always be customized for the job to which you’re applying. You should draw some points from the job description when you talk about yourself and show them why you’re uniquely qualified for that position. Suppose one job description calls for an experienced manager who excels at conflict management, and the following one calls for an experienced manager who knows how to solve problems. In that case, you should embed the words “conflict management” or “problem solver” into your cover letter. While it seems silly, including keywords like that will remind the reader that this is what they are looking for from the person who’d eventually fill that role.
5) It’s full of errors - This is a point I frequently repeat for a good reason. So many people submit cover letters full of errors. While we should all be graceful with one another and allow for mistakes, some recruiters or hiring managers may see errors as a sign you’re careless and don’t pay attention to detail. This could give them yet another excuse to reject your job application. Sadly, a cover letter should never be dismissed for these reasons, but that’s how it is. So proofread your cover letter and make sure it's error-free. You can also get someone to review your cover letter - ask for an exchange in our Facebook group, hire a professional, use a tool like Grammarly, etc.
We have tons of cover letter tips. Read our step-by-step guide: A Definitive Guide On How To Write A German Cover Letter
That's all for today! I wish you all a lovely week ahead and see you in the next one.
Founder - The Berlin Life