The cover letter: How do I arouse interest?

Many recruiters say: A cover letter that is free of spelling errors, standard text modules and empty phrases has cleared the biggest hurdles and the application will be examined more closely. But that’s not enough to land on the A stack!

The following are particularly important:

A conclusive statement about why you, as an applicant, are exactly the right person for this position at this company. Admittedly: It’s not always easy, but it is feasible. Ideally, the most important arguments that speak for you can already be conveyed in the first sentence of the cover letter.

There are 5 tips to make a good first impression, both visually and in terms of content:

1. The first impression – arouse interest visually

The layout of the cover letter

With a modern layout, which may also contain colored elements, the application will definitely attract attention because this approach is not yet that widespread.

The layout of the cover letter should be based on DIN 5008, but that offers enough leeway for an individual design of the letterhead.

Here are two examples:

A large number of other variants are conceivable.

Please also note the general tips on layout, for example font and size. The most important thing is a uniform design of all documents so that the application conveys a coherent overall impression.

The application becomes even more individual and eye-catching with your own logo, signet or monogram on the letterhead. However, the design should be appropriate to the location and, in case of doubt, a simple design is preferable.

2. Eye-catcher for the application folder – a special bracket

The cover letter can be attached to the application folder with a special paper clip.

This has several advantages:

On the one hand, a special bracket is an eye-catcher for the personnel decision-maker, on the other hand it is practical: The cover letter is where it is attached in most HR departments: with a paper clip on the folder. On the other hand, it is firmly connected to the folder and the space in the folder can be better used for a clear sorting of the documents.

3. The subject line in the cover letter

A two-line subject line can attract more attention:

Application as …
Our phone call from …

The prerequisite is, of course, that you have already called before applying. Tips on making calls, for example which questions can be useful on the phone, can be found here.

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4. The first sentence of the cover letter

Under no circumstances start with a standard sentence like

I hereby apply …
I was pleased about your job advertisement, because …

Here are three alternatives

As a graduate engineer, I have 3 years of experience in project management, 5 years of experience in advising customers and 4 years of experience in sales.

Some researcher:

Are you looking for a graduate engineer with experience in project management? Who can lead a team and work success-oriented?
I can offer you:
-…
-…
-…

Still a researcher:

Do you want to know the 3 reasons that I am the right person for your job?

5. PS or NS – the suffix as an eye-catcher

“PS” stands for postscript and means a supplement to the actual cover letter text, which is inserted after the signature. The more modern spelling is “NS” and stands for the suffix.

In terms of content, the PS or NS can be used for important additional information, for example special knowledge and experience, times of unavailability or special opportunities.

For example:

NS I’ll be in Munich on September 7th and have time in the afternoon to get to know each other.

Notes: The common spelling “P.S.” does not correspond to DIN 5008 although it is widely used.

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