The perfect email application

Get your new job quickly and efficiently: apply by email

Applying by email is increasingly replacing the traditional paper portfolio. No wonder, since the advantages of an email application in terms of efficiency, cost and effort are obvious. Apart from that, the double P means the “paper pile and postage” that go along the traditional postal service, burdensome for the human resources department. However, digital applications are not as simple as they are fast. We tell you which rules you need to follow when applying by email.

Email application, online application – comparable or the same?

Email application or online application? Both forms of application are digital – this much is clear. Still, the term ‘online application’ can be interpreted differently. It can either mean the online version using application forms on the company website or an email application.
An email application is the traditional application portfolio in paper format transformed into bits and bytes. However, often email and online applications are shoved in the same drawer. Check the job advertisement carefully to see which form of application is desired.

The subject and sender decide whether the email will be read or deleted

Choose your sending address with care: addresses like or seem unprofessional and can knock you out of the race to your dream job early. The same applies to the subject line: it should be striking, awaken interest and explanatory. You have to make an impression on the person you are writing to from the word go. The standard address,, has proven itself reliable. An original subject line like “Your new logistics expert” awakens the curiosity you want.
Tip: never send your documents to a general address like Make a phone call to find out the relevant person's address.

The right attachment

Like a classic application portfolio, an email application must also be written perfectly and structured logically. Both a CV and a cover letter should be attached. This is how to really shine with your attachments when applying by email:

  • A good scan is half the battle: make sure it is perfectly legible. You can also scan in photocopying shops by the way.
  • Everything in one PDF: make an impression with the quality of your content, not the number of attachments. Create a PDF file in which all the documents can be scrolled through one after another. PDFCreator can help you with this for free.
  • Maximum three MB: there is no room for any more in your attachment. This absolutely must include your cover letter, CV, work references and your last (academic) qualification certificate. Usually an interim reference from your current employer is enough. You can provide further references upon request – unless of course you are specifically asked.
  • Check before you click: is the attachment where it should be? Make sure that the PDF really does get sent.

Everything attached! And what’s in it? What your email application should contain

Stick to the three S’s: short, snappy, succinct. In a maximum of six lines, give the human resources manager an idea about your motivation, three core competencies and a short overview of your application attachments. Resist the temptation to copy and paste parts of your cover letter into the email. Rewrite it. And whatever you do avoid a read confirmation. It's better to wait a week and then enquire if the person has any questions or if further documents are required.
Tip: an email signature makes it easier for human resources managers to make contact. It should contain your phone number, address and links to your online profile on LinkedIn and Xing.