Working in Germany: How to write the perfect cover letter in English

Working in Germany: How to write the perfect cover letter in English
Photo: DPA
Looking for a job cover letter that will catch an employer's attention? German careers columnist Chris Pyak gives a good example.

Just a few days back I got a message from Michelle, one of my clients in the Expats Job Offer Miracle.

She just had just gotten off the phone with a manager that I had introduced her to.

READ ALSO: Six golden rules for creating the ideal German cover letter and resume

The impressions from that phone call were still fresh, so she wanted to apply for the job as quickly as possible. Here is the first draft of the cover letter that she sent to the employer.

While you read her letter, imagine that you would compete with Michelle for the same job. (Because you do compete with someone like Michelle for the same jobs.)

Here's the letter:

Dear Mr. Walter,

I had the pleasure of speaking with your colleague, Janine Meier, regarding your biggest challenges you are trying to solve with the Junior UX Researcher position. My understanding of one of these challenges is listening and developing a strong message to your customers through user research.

Recently I conducted six user interviews to test a mobile app prototype where users can reach out to experts in virtually any field. Through speaking with the participants I learned that the browse function wasn’t meeting the needs of the users because they weren’t able to view all experts.

During the next iteration I modified this feature in order for them to have the ability to view the full range of experts. We will see in the near future how this performs through another round of testing.

I look forward to discussing this topic with you further.

With warm regards,

Michelle

Whether writing by hand or computer, there are a few tricks to writing a cover letter than catches an employee's attention. Photo: DPA

Here's a few interesting things about this letter:

1. As you can read, the person that I had introduced her to wasn't the right contact person. That happens. We have to take a shot at our best options when we reach out.

2. Clearly it did not matter. Once the two ladies began to talk, they immediately built trust and a bond. As a result, her conversation partner was more than happy to introduce Michelle to the actual manager for this job offer.

3. Notice how honest Michelle is. She doesn't know yet if her changes in the design improved the results. Instead of making up some fake story, she tells it like it is: “We will see.”

READ ALSO: 10 German words you need to know when looking for a job

If you were the manager, would you like to interview Michelle for the job?

The candidate who was:

  • interested enough to ask what you actually want to achieve?

  • who made an effort to reach out?

  • who gives a concrete example of how she could help you?

  • who comes with a recommendation from your co-worker?

Reaching out to managers before you apply, sending a personalized, specific cover letter: That's one of the strongest tools for job seekers.

I want you to have more success in your job hunt. That's why I give you 8 pages of advice on how to write the perfect cover letter. You find them – and everything else that you need to convince employers to hire you when you are “unusual” – in my book:  “How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans”.

I wish you success.

ABOUT CHRIS PYAK

Chris Pyak is the Author of “How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans“. The managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH has worked in four different cultures and lived in five different countries.

Chris returned to Germany in 2011. His mission: Bring the Immigrant Spirit to his home country. Chris introduces international professionals to employers in Germany.


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