Cover letter: samples, examples and top tips

The Cover Letter is nothing to be afraid of. But respect. In the cover letter, your motivation for the job is properly expressed – or not. Most important is the text. Whether your Cover letter The success of your application depends on how you structure the text, what you focus on and how skilfully you formulate it. We will help you with this..

Cover letter sample

What you shouldn’t do: At Application letter Simply rattle off the highlights of your professional career to date. So don’t just pour your resume into body text. Avoid redundancies! It is better to make it clear to the addressee in the cover letter what your motivation for the advertised position is: why you have applied, why you are the right candidate for the job and why the company should take you. The so-called AIDA model offers a very good orientation framework for this:

  • Attention: attract attention.
  • Interest: Arouse interest.
  • Desire: Trigger the desire to want to learn more about you.
  • Action: Initiate the invitation to the interview.

Here you will find several Templates for your cover letter as WORD document and PDF to download and edit:

Application Letter Internship Template

Cover letter: Samples, examples and top tips

Cover Letter Internship Template PDF.

Cover Letter Training Template

Application letter training template as PDF.

Application letter working student template

Application letter working student template as PDF.

Application Letter Customer Service Representative Template

Application letter customer service representative template as PDF.

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Structure cover letter

The Letter of application is enormously important for the overall impression of your application. It should be on top of a complete application folder – no matter if it is a regular or a short application. What you should be aware of: With the Cover letter you can positively distinguish yourself from other applicants. How you express yourself, what your focus is – this shows the recruiter what kind of personality he is dealing with. This is where you need to generate interest and lay the groundwork for application success. Therefore, important: The cover letter must be clear, concise and, of course, free of grammatical and spelling mistakes. Formal includes the cover letter One page, maximum two pages. For an email application, you can place the cover letter directly in the mail. You then attach the tabular resume and your references in a PDF document. You can also include a cover page, but it is basically superfluous. Here’s how to build your cover letter:

  • Letter of application (cover letter)
  • Cover sheet
  • Resume
  • Testimonials , work samples, certificates

A survey some time ago showed that applicants spend an average of 74 minutes on their application letter. That is a lot of time. To shorten the duration, simply follow our best and most important tips. We guide you Step by step through the application letter – from the introduction to the main part with reference to the closing part. This is how the cover letter is structured:

Address line

The letterhead always starts with your contact details at the top. This includes your s..

  • First and last name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Personal website, Xing or Linkedin address (optional)

Underneath – as you are used to in a normal letter – the recipient’s. Indispensable information

  • Complete company name incl. Type of company (z.B. GmbH, AG etc.)
  • First and last name of contact person
  • Address

Already in this Part of the cover letter often happen the most embarrassing mistakes. Sometimes it comes to a letter error, then again to an error in the company name. Please do not sloppy, but be sure to proofread and have it read! Otherwise you already mess up the so important first impression.


Right in the letterhead insert the date. Please make sure that the date is current – preferably the date of dispatch. Otherwise, let it be known that you have a old cover letter have put on resubmission. It is usual to write the date in the form TT.MM.YYYY. Like this: 01.06.2020. You can also simply delete the superfluous zeros: 1.6.2020. Decide on one of two options. It doesn’t matter which one – your application should not fail because of it.


The subject line follows the letterhead. It is often the first thing that catches the eye and provides orientation in terms of content – so do not underestimate its effect. First of all, please refrain from using the little word Subject before the subject line. This used to be common, but is no longer so today. One line should not exceed the subject line – that would clearly be too long. It should be short, crisp and meaningful. It is best to refer to the job offer or the position you are applying for. A subject could read something like this:

  • Application as Key Account Manager
  • Application as product manager, reference number: 123456/20
  • My application as a media designer
  • Application for an apprenticeship as a baker

salutation in the cover letter

The more personal the Salutation in the letter of application, the better. This includes the infamous Dear Sir or Madam from. Try to find out who your exact contact person is and talk to him or her personally. This shows that you have made an effort, that you are able to research facts, that you are professional and that you really care about the job. Only in the absolute exception, if you really can’t find out a contact person, you help yourself with a Dear Sir or Madam. To the polite Dear.. but you should by no means do without it. A flippant Hello, Servus, Greetings or Good morning is not appropriate for an application. Stick to the classic instead – by the way, even if you know the recipient well personally:

  • Dear Ms. Meyer
  • Dear Mr. Muller

Letter of application introduction

Your strongest argument belongs at the very beginning of the application letter. So feel free to start with a big bang. You must explain your motivation for exactly this job without delay – with an original sentence if you like. It should also be immediately clear that you are interested in the company, products, services and corporate culture. Weave in current figures or a reference to press reports. But please be brief and to the point – no longer than three to four lines. Do not overdo it by buttering up the company. A spoonful of honey yes, but not a whole jar. Basically: Emotions work. You may be the perfect candidate in sober terms, and you may have all your facts straight. However, if the recruiter – figuratively speaking – does not like the tip of your nose, your chances will drop dramatically. This is true for all professions. Therefore: Put some passion into the cover letter. It is not so difficult. In your cover letter, you must convey which projects you have successfully completed, how and why – and why this qualifies you for the advertised position. Therefore elementary important in the application letter: the first sentence. Avoid standard introductory phrases such as "I hereby apply…" This is boring and sounds bureaucratic. And it says about you: You couldn’t think of a good first sentence. The same applies to old-fashioned phrases such as "It is with great pleasure that I read your job advertisement…" Interchangeable, arbitrary, impersonal. Even worse, "I’m a team player and a confrontational person…" Everybody is – at least this sentence is written in almost every job application. But how can you start the cover letter instead?? For example, by using a concrete example to make it clear that you have talent and passion. If you are a graduate, you can emphasize your major fields of study or internships; if you are an experienced professional, you can emphasize previous positions and projects you have successfully completed. But please refrain from quoting famous intellectual greats at all costs. Fremdschamgefahr! It is you who is applying, not Goethe, Schiller or Hemingway.

Introductory sentence examples

Optimal: Get to the point quickly in a personal way. If you have already had contact with the recruiter, you should definitely refer to this in your cover letter. This is how you reduce distance and emphasize the first things you have in common. But it’s not a must. Start with a sentence that makes clear the motivation for your application – or your enthusiasm for the company’s products and services. Your motivation for the job is most important element of the cover letter. Right at the beginning! For example like this:

  • Dear Mr. Mustermann, I have been dealing with XX for some time now. When I saw your job ad, I immediately knew that the position was perfect for me. This position is exactly the challenge I’ve been looking for…for a long time

Cheekiness wins. This is not true for every application, but for some it is. Of course, it also depends on the personality of the recruiter. Does he like it factual or does he appreciate a pinch of humor? In this context again the hint: Do not underestimate the power of emotions. Humor appeals to the emotions. So you can also try it this way:

  • Dear Ms. Mustermann, you are looking for an experienced and creative developer for whom passion, motivation and organizational talent are more than just empty words? Your search has come to an end today: Here I am!..

Admittedly, this is bold. Some would even say: brazen. But chutzpah is definitely more promising in a cover letter than excessive modesty. Apropos: Especially men should not appear too modest. Recruiters don’t like that at all, as Laurie Rudman from Rutgers University in New Jersey found out some time ago. It makes them seem weaker, unambitious and insecure. However, there are other alternatives for a good introduction. For example, the storytelling approach:

  • Dear Mr. Mustermann, it takes exactly 15 minutes by bike from my door to the company door. I have stopped the time exactly. It means: while colleagues are still stuck in traffic, I could be the first one in the office in the morning…

This is also funny, but at the same time represents a real added value. Of course, in all cases these are only suggestions. Please do not copy them verbatim. Because personnel managers are not idiots. If you find an unusual formulation, you might want to google its origin. You need to find your own style in the cover letter and your own introductory sentence, which also fits the rest of the cover letter. Unfortunately, it is not possible without your own performance and brainpower.

Cover letter entry: Not like this, please!

How you shouldn’t go into the cover letter? Here are a few examples:




Main body in the cover letter

The Main body in cover letter Should not consist solely of bullet points. You should highlight the key strengths and skills that are important for this job – and only those. Quality goes before quantity in this case. Concentrate on your personal qualifications and your soft skills in the letter of application. These are particularly important to many recruiters. However, it is really difficult to work out one’s own soft skills without using phrases. But firstly not impossible and secondly also extremely important for the Success of your cover letter. What doesn’t go down well are typical empty phrases and "I" formulations such as:

Monotonous, arbitrary and also self-centered. Many cover letters contain such "I" phrases. This is a great opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. Describe very briefly a project in which your teamwork and communication skills were expressed and contributed decisively to the success of the project. Of course, it’s best to phrase it in such a way that your communication skills are already visible in the cover letter itself. Example:

As part of my previous job, I launched and managed the XY project. I won over colleagues by… The project was a complete success and was successfully completed in six weeks.

Another example:

When a production stoppage threatened at my former company, I was able to get several team members to help out at short notice after hours and on weekends by quickly contacting them and arranging for them to do so. I was able to avert the scenario of a major production stoppage many more times.

But this must fit into the context. Experienced recruiters will recognize it if you formulate mass cover letters and then just exchange names. And make sure that the skills and anecdotes you relate really do relate to the job advertised and the job advertisement. If not, you should not complain about a rejection.

Company reference in the cover letter

Always make a connection between yourself and the company. What added value do you offer your desired employer?? You want the HR person to realize that you are something like the natural candidate for the job. You can already make a reference to the company in the Introductory sentence of the cover letter produce – or not until later. There are no fixed guidelines for this. Prerequisite: You actually have the required qualifications, are willing and able to contribute and integrate yourself. Relating these personal preferences to the company and the job is the best way to do it. Here, too, you need to be selective, because you don’t have more than five to seven lines of space for this. Once again, therefore, the advice: refrain from stringing together lists. Class beats mass, not vice versa. Set highlights and sharpen your story. No personnel officer is interested in aimless ramblings. The successes you have achieved in the past can be put to particularly good use. Describe – using concrete examples or figures – how you solved which problem:


For more than 15 years, I have been developing and selling solutions in the field of… Since I have optimized the sales processes in a targeted manner, I have been able to increase sales by XX percent during my time as a key account manager at company XY. Customer satisfaction also improved at the same time from XX to XX percent.

Tip: Research beforehand in the media which qualifications and competencies are particularly important to an employer in this position. If you anticipate this well in your cover letter, you will significantly improve your chances of being invited to an interview.

Cover letter concluding sentence

The content End of the cover letter Form your salary requirement and earliest possible start date – if this information is requested. In the closing sentence, thank the applicant for his or her interest and tell him or her that you are looking forward to an interview – without coming across as a supplicant. Behind this, put a reasonable greeting and your signature. If there are gaps, interruptions, job changes, resignations or similar in your resume, then mention them in your cover letter – but briefly. And be prepared for the personnel manager to ask you about this in more detail in the job interview. In principle, you should sound friendly, open and motivated. Not only the first impression decides, also the last one. This also includes a pinch of self-confidence, because after all you are exactly the right candidate for exactly this position. They have something to offer: Your competencies, motivation, willingness to perform and and. The company should notice that. Nevertheless, many job candidates make a small but crucial mistake in their cover letter. They lapse into the subjunctive.

The point is: a subjunctive weakens the whole statement. It may sound modest and likeable, but it’s not the way to go. Even with a company, it’s not as if it "would like to direct its gaze into the future". It looks to the future. You doubt your own abilities and make yourself look small. Therefore: No subjunctive at the end of the application letter! Much better: what in advertising language is called a call-to-action. Studies show that consumers respond positively to prompts. You click on the article if you are encouraged to do so, you call the hotline if it is suggested to you, you comment if you are asked to do so. Therefore, also use such a call-to-action in your cover letter. Actively ask the employer to do something that meets your needs. It could look something like this – without the subjunctive:

Or is that somehow uncomfortable for you? In this case, simply close with your possible start date: I can already promise you to start the position on xx. November to start. This is another way of assuming that you will get the job. A mind game – no question, but not an ineffective one.

How do I explain a critical phase in the letter of application??

Life is not a… well, you know. Maybe you dropped out of school or dropped out of college or lost your job twice in a row. There are certainly good reasons for this, but how do you explain them to the recruiter?? That could be difficult, because especially in Germany Testimonials and certificates is the most trustworthy. If you can’t prove your skills in writing, you usually won’t get the job. And that, although formal degrees or certificates would not be necessary at all in many professions. Keep this in mind if you lack certificates or similar: You have to prove your skills. However, you can also do this in another way, with references and work samples for example. Example: You are applying for a job for which the Baccalaureate A prerequisite is. Now, however, you "only" have the specialized baccalaureate, but otherwise bring along all the necessary competencies. What do you do? Correct answer: apply anyway. There is of course room for maneuver in companies as well. No candidate meets 100 percent of the requirements. So take heart if you sometimes only achieve 90, 80 or even 70 percent. In such cases, it becomes all the more important to use your To work out your motivation correctly. How hot are you for the job? What soft skills do you have?? If you convey those well without meeting all the formal requirements at the same time, your chances are not bad at all. Then – in addition to the cover letter – a cover letter might be just the right format to get you closer to the job. But be careful: don’t justify yourself in them, but offer something to the employer.

Cover letter tips

Develop your creative streak to the full – nice, but not always promising. It is difficult to get past some basic rules and formalities. Basically a good choice: an application according to DIN 5008. This makes things easier and clearer for the HR manager – plus point! You should follow these basic rules when writing a letter of application:

  • PaperIt is best to use high-quality paper for your cover letter, not simple copy paper. When sending sheets, be careful not to disfigure them with stains, creases or dog-ears. Also good: Sharp laser print that does not smudge.
  • WritingPlease do not choose an extravagant squiggly font for your letter of application! This always looks latently affected and is more difficult to read. Fonts such as Helvetica, Verdana, Times or Georgia are better.
  • Font size: Remember the 11-13-15 rule. Body text has font size 11. Date, addresses and subheadings have a 13-point font – gladly also bolded. Use 15-point font exclusively for your name at the top of the cover letter. By the way: With the crooked sizes you stand out from other applicants. In fact, most fall back on Word’s default setting: 12.
  • Line spacingLine spacing should always be consistent in an application. This also applies to indents, line and the page margin. A one-and-a-half-line line spacing is nice and airy – and two centimeters of page spacing on the left and right.
  • LengthCareer starters should not write more than one page for their cover letter. For older professionals it may be two pages. But: Always remain compact, short and precise.
  • Sentence structureAvoid nested and relative clauses that run over several lines. Short main sentences have a stronger effect. Try to use a lot of verbs in your cover letter. But not so many adjectives and complicated word nouns ending in -ung, -heit or -keit.
  • IndividualityNever write the same application twice. Recruiters can tell if you’ve made an effort or a lazy effort and simply copied the cover letter.

Cover letter checklist

It all belongs in your cover letter – sorted from top to bottom:

  • Address of the sender with name, telephone number, e-mail address
  • Date of completion (on the right)
  • Address of the recipient with company, first and last name
  • NO application photo (goes in the resume)
  • Subject
  • Personal salutation
  • Introduction and introductory sentence
  • Short description
  • Company reference
  • Reference to other skills such as foreign languages (if available)
  • References such as contact persons from previous jobs
  • Reference to notice periods and possible starting date
  • Range of salary expectations (if requested)
  • Closing sentence and greeting
  • Signature
  • Attachments such as resume, references, certificates

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