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Common mistakes in job applications

What you need to avoid when applying for a job in Germany.

Martina Schüttler-Hansper, 25.02.2019
Bewerben in Deutschland: Typische Fehler vermeiden
© pablocalvog/istock/Getty Images

Spelling mistakes in the application

One error might be tolerated, but if your application has more than three spelling mistakes it will almost certainly be rejected.

Misspelling the company name

If you spell the name of the contact person or the company wrong, your application will face immediate rejection.

Not explaining gaps in your CV

You must be able to explain gaps in your CV of longer than two months. There are various reasons for gaps in employment, such as a stay abroad, further training or retraining, an application phase, preparing for self-employment and starting a family.

Mailshot instead of targeted covering letter

Only a personal covering letter aimed at the respective company offers good chances of success.

Missing documents or certificates

Most job advertisements state precisely which documents you need to submit with your application. Wordings like “übliche Bewerbungsunterlagen” (usual application documents) or “aussagekräftige Bewerbung” (informative application) mean covering letter, CV and certificates/testimonials.

Unprofessional application photograph

Anonymous application procedures without an applicant’s photograph, name and age have not yet become the norm in Germany. An application photo is no longer mandatory, but still widely used. Because it contributes to first impressions, it must be a professional photo. Do not use holiday snaps or portraits from a photo booth.

Forgetting to sign

Not only the covering letter, but also the CV must be signed by the applicant. A missing signature is interpreted as a lack of attention to detail. If you’re applying for an office job, this can lead to an immediate rejection.


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