Missing cover letter, no company knowledge, homemade mobile phone photos over the curriculum vitae: Personnel managers currently rate the quality of the applications they receive as “below average”. Reason enough for a clarifying round! What do Austria’s personnel managers want from the candidates? What really gets them going when it comes to applications? And how can you impress them? Five factors you should pay attention to.
A promising job advertisement, an exciting task and your own qualifications fit the job profile like a glove on your eye. Yes! Dream job found. Application with curriculum vitae sent and done. They will then already get in touch…
Don’t be. Because others certainly had the same idea. In the worst case for you: hundreds. “I get around 2,500 applications on the table every year,” reports KTM personnel manager Alexander Pertele, for example. A huge amount, therefore, from which you should stand out with your cover letter. In order to be allowed to complete then at all the hot-awaited interview and/or the Assessment center.
An application letter is the first smell mark, which one can set as possible employees in an enterprise. If you convince in this first round, the foundation stone for a successful job interview is laid at least once.
Five minutes decide about luck and misery
It is essential to get to the point quickly: as an international study conducted by the German personnel service provider Robert Half shows, Austrian personnel managers spend an average of no more than five minutes to check out an applicant’s cover letter, curriculum vitae and certificates. Only one cigarette length have applicants thus, in order to convince the personnel manager in writing of their above average.
And more below-average application documents are likely to end up on the desks of HR specialists than one might assume: Austria’s entrepreneurs assess the quality of the incoming applications in a current survey of advertising data among 250 companies that advertise jobs with a modest school grade of 3.53. The results of the survey are based on a number of interviews with the most important companies in Austria, which are also the most important ones in the field.
There are plenty of tips for the perfect application – also in this blog and in our Career Center. However, despite the wealth of information available, the knowledge of what makes such a perfect application so special does not seem to have reached all applicants yet.
A study by the Graz-based “top-jobs-europe Consulting” has been devoted to the demands of HR departments. And already some few results from it, make clear, where the largest weaknesses lie with application letters.
Risk factor cover letter
“No letter of motivation and serial letters as cover letters”: Two things that Alexander Pertele experiences as the most frequent sources of error on the part of applicants. The KTM recruiter says what makes most of his colleagues’ hats go off. As the top jobs study, for which 900 companies were surveyed, now showed, exactly three out of four HR managers say that it is very important to them that a cover letter is individually designed (very important: 46.6 percent, important: 28.4 percent – see chart). A common shortcoming in this respect is that the letters “do not tell you what the person is applying for”. A basic requirement, one might think.
What every applicant – whether professionally experienced or not – should burn in his or her cover letter: You have exactly one A4 page of space to explain convincingly why you are the right person for the job. Already here it is important to score points with knowledge about the company and to demonstrate that it is your know-how that the company has lacked in the advertised position to date. That means: Research work! What exactly is required of me? What exactly does the company do? Why do I identify with this company and want to be part of it?
We have listed all the tips on what exactly belongs in a cover letter for you.
Challenge curriculum vitae
The curriculum vitae still holds great potential for uncertainty among applicants. How should it be structured? Chronologically or not? With or without a photo? Formal questions should not be the problem either: Questions about the structure and the perfect application photo can be solved by simply reading them. According to the above-mentioned study, 83 percent think the latter is important, so most of them definitely want to have a “picture” before they get to know someone personally. Studies have shown that beauty is a killer for job applications, but they should not be taken too seriously: In any case, try to show yourself at your best! At any rate a giant faux pas, says KTM personnel practitioner Pertele: “Application photos that you took of yourself with your mobile phone camera.
Secret code service certificate
Of course, it is common practice for many companies to leave it to employees who are doing well to write their own testimonials. But because this practice has unfortunately become all too common, it has also contributed to a certain devaluation of the flawless certificate of employment. All the more reason, on the other hand, to give weight to the evaluations of personnel managers who tell other colleagues what they think of their ex-employee through the flower.
For example, over the years, a real secret code has emerged in the testimonial language that should be deciphered before one starts to brag too proudly about one’s testimonial: If it is written, for example, that you have “stood up for your abilities”, this means nothing other than that your ability frame was quite tight. And if you are certified as having “demonstrated expertise and great self-confidence,” it usually means that your ex-chief thought you were a show-off.
Reason for disqualification “to be annoying”
Anyone who thinks they have found their dream job in an advertisement should in any case refrain from immediately shooting up a second letter if there is no immediate answer to the first one: six out of ten respondents stated to top-jobs-europe Consulting that they would regard multiple applications as “bad” to “very bad”.