Boehringer Ingelheim
10 February 2016
Jana von Puttkamer
18

How to create a compelling job application

An application is a kind of self-promotion. You're not just submitting an application, you're well and truly advertising yourself. If you know what the addressee is expecting, you will be one step ahead. In this post, I will be providing insider tips about what matters when it comes to submitting an application – from the cover letter and CV to the attachments.

 

Writing applications can often be a fine balancing act – on the one hand your application has to attract attention, stand out from all the other submissions and highlight your strengths – on the other hand it’s not always advantageous to overdo it. If you're planning to apply to Boehringer Ingelheim, I can certainly recommend the traditional online application.

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In our sector, efforts to come across as particularly creative and playful are seen as counterproductive.

Your application should look clear and structured. What counts is a clear presentation of the content:

 

1. Is it clear from your application why you are particularly suitable for the advertised position? The most convincing approach is to focus specifically on the requirements of the advertisement as well as the job description. Use language which establishes a similarity between yourself (i.e. your qualifications, experience and skills) and the application profile that we're looking for.

 

2. Your motivation for applying is also a very important point. It should be clear from your application that you're genuinely interested in the advertised post as well as in our company. Is your interest in our company and sector credible (or are you merely using empty phrases that could just as easily apply to other companies)?

 

3. Last but not least, we'd also like to be able to assess the person behind the application. Does your personality shine through through the application (or do you use standard phrases such as "team-spirited", "able to work under pressure" and "flexible" that have little significance without examples to back them up)?

 

These are questions we ask ourselves when assessing your cover letter. It will certainly help your application if you bear these questions in mind when you're writing it!

 

In my opinion structure is the second factor which differentiates a good application from a not so good one. If you want your application to be clear and transparent, put the documents together in a structured fashion, using the traditional cover letter, CV and attachments format, and ensure there are no gaps or errors before submitting it. You should think of your application as your business card: it gives a first impression of yourself and the way you work.

 

Many applicants ask themselves lots of questions when writing a cover letter. Basically, we're looking for three pieces of information in a cover letter: we want to know who you are, what you can do and why you're applying. A cover letter in which you merely change the address and subject line and send it off to other companies is no use to you or us. Instead, make your cover letter unique! Show us what your motivation is in wanting to work in our sector and applying to our company. As well as this, use your achievements, experiences and successes to make it clear why you are particularly suitable for a position at Boehringer Ingelheim. It is also very important to make your personality tangible through the application. Every cover letter needs a personal, individual touch that differentiates it from others. The best way to do this is to ask yourself what it is that sets you apart from other applicants, as this highlights your uniqueness and suitability.

 

This may sound trivial and obvious, but please also think about the form your cover letter takes! Stick to the usual formal requirements and structure your letter so that it's easy to read and fluent. We're far less interested in applications that are difficult to read due to a lack of structure. Use conventional fonts and font sizes, be concise, brief and relevant, and use whole sentences. If possible, your letter should be no longer than one page. And seriously: have someone proofread your entire application. Typos, spelling or grammar errors can make it look as if you haven't put much effort into your application and that your enthusiasm for this position isn't particularly high.

 

Your CV tells your life story. When writing it, ask yourself if you're telling your story in an exciting and consistent way. As with the cover letter, it is naturally of fundamental importance that the structure is clear. Important facts should be indicated clearly using keywords, so you need to ensure a logical construction of the individual sections. Individual stages should flow into each other without any time gaps. Make sure the information you provide is both complete and comprehensible. You can use bold to highlight certain words in order to attract our attention to them. We also recommend brief statements – for example concerning your areas of responsibility in your internships, for example – as well as short comments, using keywords, on your main fields of study, as this makes it easier for us to be able to better assess your suitability.

 

Another tip: adapt your CV to every new position you apply for (i.e. not just the cover letter, which is what most people do)! You can do this initially with regard to the keywords you list in each bullet point. If you're applying for a position that involves, for example, project management, use keywords to highlight all your experience, activities and qualifications that prove your suitability for the post. You can even adjust the bullet points themselves in your CV.

Let's suppose you're a newcomer applying for your first management position and are therefore unable to point to any "real" disciplinary management experience. You could then use a separate bullet point in your CV that lists all your experiences that prove your managerial skills (e.g. managing a volleyball team, class representative, first project management, etc.).

What we don’t expect in your CV, by the way, are details about your nationality, religion, marital status or a photo as we value social and specialist skills rather than outward appearances or personal details. For us, competence is also shown in the design of a CV, which should also be convincing. We prefer a tabular overview in US American style (i.e. the most recent information is listed first in each section).

 

The attachments round off your application. They provide "evidence" of your suitability and motivation and consist of all documents that qualify you for the job. University graduates should attach their university results, any relevant internship certificates and also include their high school diploma. And please leave out any documents that are not relevant to the position.

 

If you stick to these rules, you have a good chance of clearing the first hurdle on your way to your dream job and receiving a personal invitation to subsequent selection procedures.

 

In my next posts, I will be revealing how to get through the Assessment Center successfully as well as giving tips on how to be convincing in interviews, so stay tuned!

"Writing applications can often be a fine balancing act. "
Jana von Puttkamer

18 comment(s) for 'How to create a compelling job application'

Comments

Good morning Jana, Thank you for sharing with us all these important points. I have couple of question, in my CV should list my skills before my education, how much details about the role in the different positions I have had? what about the length of both the cover letter and CV? All the best, Andres

Hi Andres! It is great to read that you like the article. Let me try to answer your questions: Whether you list your skills before your education or vice versa is up to you and also depends on the job you’re applying to. If you’re applying for instance for a Post-Doc-Programme, I would list the education first. There is also no regulation on the number of details. Just follow one easy rule: list the details that are relevant for the job you are applying to. Since recruiters have busy calendars, try to keep it short. One to two pages for CV and cover letter will do. Best, Jana.

Good morning Jana, thank you for answering my questions. I will keep all your suggestions on mind for my next application to Boehringer Ingelheim as soon as a see a opportunity that fits with my skills and background. Could I send you my CV? Thank you! Andres

Hi Andres. If you're planning to apply to Boehringer Ingelheim, I certainly recommend the traditional online application through our job portal. We only accept online application that reach us through our job portal. Make sure you have your CV ready as soon as a new position in your field of interest is available. Best, Jana.

Good morning Jana, Thank you for your helpful guidance in generating an effective job application. I have a question specific to the Boehringer Ingelheim online application process. On a current posting, there is a request to attach a resume, however the application does not ask for a cover letter. Do you recommend also uploading a cover letter with the resume? Or would someone who included a cover letter be deemed as lacking attention to detail and unable to follow instructions? Thank you for your time, Robyn

Hi Robyn, thank you for your comment. Sometimes, application requirements can vary from country to country. I would suggest following the instructions from the posting you’re referring to and provide a resume instead of a cover letter. Both the cover letter and resume share the common purpose of proving that you have the right skills for the job for which you are applying. Best, Jana.

Dear Jana Thank you so much for such an insightful article. It was really an interesting read. I am in the process of applying for an internship position at Boehringer Ingelheim. Since the job description does not provide the details for person-in-charge of recruitment, who should I address to in my cover letter? I am afraid writing Dar Sir/Ma'am wouldn't make my cover letter personal? Please advise.

Dear Pooja, first of all thank you for your compliments! I am glad that my advice helps you to formulate your application. Concerning your question I can imagine that it is sometimes tricky to find an appropriate term, if there is no contact person mentioned. Instead of “Dear Sir or Madam”, which indeed sounds impersonal, you might use “Dear Boehringer Ingelheim Recruiter” or “Dear Hiring Manager”. All the best for your application process! Jana

Nivel piece of advise

Hello, Jana ! thank you for the article , very clear and concise . I just have a question regarding the difficulties newly graduates face when applying to jobs at innovative institutes like Boehringer Ingelheim. I don't have much experience in my pocket , only the experience I've gained throughout my undergraduate studies. Do you think that will make it even harder for me to get an entry level job ? other than showing my passion to the field in my cover letter, what else do you recommend me to do/add ? Thank you!

Dear Mashael, Thank you for your comment, it’s great that you have mentioned one important thing: Passion. It’s clear, that someone who applies for an entry level does not have as much experience as a professional. Rather, it is central that you differentiate from other applicants. Show us your personality and tell us what makes you so special! Show us your passion and relate your skills to the specific job requirements! Use concrete examples, so that it become obvious that you have all the soft skills the employer is looking for.

Hi Jana! Thank you so much for your article. I have been looking for something like this for weeks. I applied to Boehringer but withdrew my application due to lack of confidence as I thought I might not be accepted but your article has given me the courage to apply. I have one major concern. Do I have to have all the experience or desired skills/abilities listed in the job ad to be able to apply and get accepted? Thanks!

Dear Gracella, it makes me really happy that you feel encouraged to apply. Yes, I know it’s not easy to find out if your own experiences, skills and capabilities are sufficient for the vacant position. In my opinion, the higher a skill is mentioned in the job requirement list, the more important it is. For instance, if someonesearch for a PhD, it is not sufficient that the applicant has a master’s or bachelor’s degree. If the vacant position requires professional experience in a certain field you should have experience in that field, even if the length of that experience does not match the job posting exactly. Please also consider the wording, if you see “preferable”, “desirable” or “advantageous” then it would be a plus and it’s not a must. On the other hand, if you spot expressions like “… is a must”, “extensive experience in…” then you should take them literally. Most importantly, you should ask yourself if you can see yourself doing the job as described in the “your responsibility” section. Would you enjoy this role? If the answer is yes, then I would recommend applying for the job. All the best, Jana

I am from Pakistan. I have degree of Pharm-D. I came to Austria-Vienna for MSc EU Regulatory Affairs from Danube University Krems. As I am from under developing country and over there eCTD submission format is not came into implementation in Regulatory Affairs field yet. I need paid Internship to learn about eCTD submission by practicing it while my Internship. I got two job offers from Germany, they liked my previous experience of 3.5 years in Regulatory Affairs field but when they ask about eCTD submission knowledge, then I couldn't satisfy their requirement and couldn't acquire those jobs. To establish my career in Europe, It is important to get experience of eCTD submission. Boehringer Ingelheim is just 53min away from my place in Vienna, Kindly on minimum pay allow me to get Internship in Regulatory Affairs field. It will be great help in establishing my career. Please help me in this matter. I'll be grateful to you-Thank you. Best regards

Dear Shehleeza, we are very happy that you want to work with us. You can find all our vacancies, also internships, on our Global Job Portal (https://tas-boehringer.taleo.net/careersection/global+template+career+section+28external29/jobsearch.ftl?lang=en). It is also possible to create a Job Alert. Information how to do this you can find here: http://careers.boehringer-ingelheim.com/faqs. We wish you all the best!

submission by practicing it while my Internship. I got two job offers from Germany, they liked my previous experience of 3.5 years in Regulatory Affairs field but when they ask about eCTD submission knowledge, then I couldn't satisfy their requirement and couldn't acquire those jobs. To establish my career in Europe, It is important to get experience of eCTD submission. Boehringer Ingelheim is just 53min away from my place in Vienna, Kindly on minimum pay allow me to get <a href="http://www.facebook.com">html</a>

Dear Tabitha, we are very happy that you want to work with us. You can find all our vacancies, also internships, on our Global Job Portal (https://tas-boehringer.taleo.net/careersection/global+template+career+section+28external29/jobsearch.ftl?lang=en). It is also possible to create a Job Alert. Information how to do this you can find here: http://careers.boehringer-ingelheim.com/faqs. We wish you all the best!

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