The attachments, together with the CV in table form and the cover letter, form your application documents. They contain documents that prove your qualifications and skills. This includes reference letters from employers as well as certificates from advanced training, letters of recommendation and credentials.
Employment and training reference letters are mandatory for the complete application documents. Which other attachments have to be included depends on the desired position. The attachment annotation belongs at the end of the cover letter or the cover sheet, not in the CV. Always include copies, not the original documents.
In the following you learn everything about:
1. Content of the attachments: Which attachments need to be included in the application?
2. Specify attachments: Note in the cover letter and order in the annex
3. Annex of an e-mail application: Wording in the e-mail, format, and file size
4. Application templates available for download: Samples and layouts for the application
Attachments: What should be included?
The job advertisement will tell you if you need to include attachments. Generally, employers indicate there which documents they want to see.
Attachments are not always necessary. Informal, unsolicited, or short applications don't need attachments. Be honest with your information anyway as the employer could request proof separately.
Caution: Never include original documents
Instead, make high-quality copies of your documents. Best use a scanner for that. If you have a high-quality phone camera instead, download a free app such as "Simple Scan". This way, you can create professional PDF scans without a scanner.
If a "complete, "detailed", "extensive" or "meaningful" application is required, the following attachments have to be included, along with the CV and cover letter:
Reference letters from employers
Reference letters from employers are the most important documents of your application. They give the employer an impression of your previous tasks as well as the quality of your work.
Include your complete references of employment. These can be for full-time or part-time jobs but also for internships. Generally, a maximum of three to four certificates of employment should be included in your application documents.
In case you have a lot of work experience, only choose the most current and relevant references. Focus on the last ten years of your work experience. References that are older don't need to be included. Except in the case where it is about a long-time position as this shows consistency as well as loyalty. You can also exclude references from less important part-time jobs if you can include more meaningful references of employment.
Caution: Don't exclude bad reference letters from employers
References from employers are very important in an application. A bad reference letter still looks better than one that is missing. If you leave the reference letter out it can cause mistrust and leave a negative impression.
Proof of vocational training
Proof of vocational training is, for example, school certificates, General Qualification for University Entrance, bachelor's or master's degree, apprenticeship certificate, or diploma. Only include the proof of your highest education. For example, if you completed a bachelor's degree, it is obvious to the employer that you have finished school. You then don't have to include your General Qualification for University Entrance unless it is explicitly requested.
Anyone who has completed an apprenticeship or degree always needs to include their certificate. Generally, one certificate is sufficient. If you have several degrees that are relevant to the profession (e.g. two bachelor's degrees), include both degrees.
If you completed your apprenticeships several years ago, only include the highest and most relevant certificate. Other older training certificates don't belong in your application anymore - focus instead on your practical experience.
Interim certificates don't belong in your application. In some cases, they can replace a diploma, however. In case it is required that you are a student, you can include an interim certificate as proof.
1. Download a template
Click on the desired template. We will send it directly to your computer via e-mail. Within five minutes you can start writing your application.
Certificates, school reports, and other records are proof of courses as well as advanced training which you also mention in your CV under the header "further education" or "additional skills". Every advanced training should prove that you possess the skills that are necessary for the profession. You can include a maximum of three to four documents.
Depending on the applicant group and the occupational area, further attachments can be included in your application. For example, this could be the following documents:
If a driver's license is required depends on the position and duties. If it is a requirement, you definitely have to include it.
The skills profile is a possible third page of the application. At one glance, it conveys your most important skills to the employer. The skills profile is optional, but it can emphasize again your strengths as well as your suitability for the position. It is recommended especially for career changers and the self-employed.
Avoid repeating the information from your CV. Only create a skills profile if it adds value to your application.
Work samples, publications, projects
For many self-employed and freelancers, work samples are an important part of the application. They give the employer insight into their activities.
Applicants in the creative profession, e.g. designers or authors, include a portfolio with descriptive samples in their application. For scientific professions, a list of projects should be included.
The job advertisement indicates if work samples are required. Adapt your portfolio to the employer and present projects which contents fit the position.
Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation and references from teachers, professors, and employers are very valuable in the application. You can include up to three letters of recommendation.
Proof of honorary posts
For pupils, recent graduates, and career changers, proof of working in an honorary capacity is especially relevant in their application. Include them particularly when they fit the desired position. There can be up to three in total.
Which to include depending on the position. The following can be required:
- Health certificate
- Certificate of good conduct
- Forklift operating license
2. Add content in Word
Install the designer fonts with just one click and open the template in Word. Now, you add your individual content to the finished layout.
Caution: Do not include outdated certificates
Don't include documents that are older than 5 years. For example, if you include a certificate for a course in Adobe Photoshop from 10 years ago, it could be like you haven't done any other training since. Furthermore, the employer could assume that you are only familiar with the older version of the program.
3. Send the application
Once you added your content the application is finished. Now, you can save it as a PDF or print it out and send it to the employer.
Tip: Have documents in foreign languages translated
Documents in foreign languages have to be translated by a sworn translator and need to be notarially certified. This also applies to documents in English, if the recipient does not speak fluent English.
How to choose the correct attachments?
Detailed information on positions as well as training and further education are given in your CV. Now, you have to document them with your attachments. The attachments should be as compact as possible. Try to limit the amount to about 10 pages. Choose attachments sensibly and include only the most meaningful and most recent documents.
Proof of vocational training and references from employers always have to be included in the application. For further attachments, ask yourself which documents are of interest to the employer. Adhere to the following points and include documents that:
- prove the required qualifications for the desired position
- highlight your most important practical experiences
- illustrate your skills in the occupational area
- show your personal strengths
What to include in the attachments also heavily depends on the group of applicants:
Pupils: Vital for this group of applicants are school reports and internship certificates. Confirmations of part-time or holiday jobs are advisable even if the job has no connection to the desired position. They demonstrate your first practical experiences and work enthusiasm.
Students and trainees: These applicants also include their vocational training certificates and references from their first work experience. Proof of internships, courses as well as social commitment add value to the application. This also applies to letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, or employers.
Recent graduates: For this group of applicants, every proof of practical experience related to the desired profession needs to be included in the application. These can be internships and references from employers for part-time or full-time positions. Courses, seminars, and honorary posts which are related to the profession also highlight your motivation.
Applicants with a lot of experience: If you already have a long career behind you, choose the most recent as well as most meaningful references for your application. Your highest qualification is also a must. Certificates for further education that are not older than 5 years give your application added value.
Particular occupational groups: For some occupational groups, specific documents are a prerequisite for the profession. Go by the industry and the job advertisement. Depending on the profession and requirement, you can include, e.g. driver's license, skills profile, work samples, health certificate, etc.
List attachments: Note in the cover letter and order in the annex
In the classical application, you refer to the annex right at the end of the cover letter. This way, the employer knows that your application contains attachments and what they are.
This reference is optional. If you want to include it in the cover letter, leave three blank lines after the name and the signature.
Then display the attachments in a list, left-justified:
- Certificates of further education
- Driver's license
The register can take up a lot of space. Don't shorten your cover letter only to be able to include a list of attachments. In order to include the attachment in the cover letter anyway, you can do the following:
- Present list of attachments right-justified
- Instead of three blank lines, only insert one or two blank lines
- mention the attachments in one line next to each other, separated by a comma
Alternatively, you can present the register on the cover sheet.
Caution: Do not artificially inflate your application
Don't include documents just to make the application longer. If HR managers have to comb through a long attachment list without finding anything of interest, it might have a negative impact on your application!
Register as an additional page
Instead of a list at the end of the cover letter or a cover sheet, you can integrate an additional page as a register. In the case of applications with a lot of pages, it makes the application clearer.
Add this page after the cover letter or the optional cover sheet. This is an example how a register as an additional page looks like:
Order of the attachments
Include the attachments in your application portfolio after the CV or the motivation letter.
There are no set rules for the order of the attachments. We recommend the following order:
2. Training certificates (for applicants with little work experience this is in the first place)
3. Proof of further training and continuing education
4. Work samples (if necessary)
You can list the attachments in each category either chronologically or in reverse chronological order. The standard nowadays is the reverse chronological order. You start with the most recent document. The oldest one is at the end. Usually, this order also reflects the one used in the CV in table form.
Alternatively, you can put documents that are of particular importance first. This way, they immediately catch the employer's attention.
Annexe of an e-mail application
If you submit your application in digital form - for example as an e-mail application - scan all documents in high resolution. Integrate the attachments into one PDF file together with the cover letter, CV, etc. Give the file a logical name. For example:
Pay attention to the file size as e-mal providers have a size limit on attachments that can be sent. As a rule of thumb, the whole document should not be more than 2MB.
Indicate in your e-mail that the application documents can be found in the attachments. For example like this:
"Enclosed, I am sending you my application documents."
"I am sending you my application documents in the attachment."
"you can find my application documents in the attachment of this e-mail."
"As discussed by phone, I am sending you my application documents attached."
"Please find my application documents attached."
In the case of application forms, attachments, if required, need to be uploaded as single files. Create individual files for each required document and upload them to the relevant box.
Pay attention to the required format and file size so that they are sent correctly. Name the files sensibly so that they can be clearly assigned, for example: "Letter of recommendation_JohnSmith.pdf"
Tip: Add a jump label to the attachments
integrate jump labels into the register of your PDF documents that lead to each corresponding document (e.g. to the letter of recommendation from employer XY). This makes your file easier to read as the employer can find the relevant attachment with just one click.
The employer does not have to scroll through many pages. Your application will be clearer and easier to navigate.
Tip: Send the e-mail application to yourself
In order to make sure that everything is perfect, you can send your application to yourself. For this, use a second e-mail address or send it to a person you trust. This way you can check that after sending the documents, everything is displayed correctly.
Tip: Check the file size
This way you can find out the size of your PDF file:
Right-click on the file, click "Properties" and then "Size". Add the file as an attachment to your e-mail. Most e-mail providers warn you if the document is too big and won't let you upload it.
If the file is bigger than 2MB, you can downsize it, for example, with PDF24. Upload your file to the program and download the downsized version. The PDF file can also be put together in this program.
Application templates to download
With our samples and templates, you not only save time but also effort. All application templates are correctly formatted and structured. Additionally, they convince with high-quality and modern designs.
Simply choose application templates that match your desired position and your personality and download it. You can edit the template in MS Word and fill in your details. Then print out your application or save it as a PDF - done!