If you have found an interesting template, you can enlarge the cover sheet to preview it. Simply click on the sample. Further information on the use and design of the cover sheet can be found at the end of the page.
Additionally, for every cover sheet, there is the complete application template available for download including templates for the CV in table form, cover letter, and motivation letter. You leave the best first impression with a professionally designed application.
Application templates are available to download here.
Classification of the cover sheet in the application
Even though the name suggests it, the cover sheet is not the first page of the application documents. Instead, you place it in the application on the second page, directly after the cover letter and in front of the CV.
The order of the application documents is always as follows:
- Cover letter
- Cover sheet (optional)
- Motivation letter (optional)
In the classic paper application, the cover letter is loosely placed on top of the other, stapled, documents in the application folder. The cover sheet is then the first document in the folder that the employer sees when they open it. The structure of the e-mail application is based on the classic application. Therefore, the cover sheet is also the second page in an e-mail application.
Once the employer has read your cover letter, they see the cover sheet. Employers often skip the cover letter and instantly look for the CV in table form. Either way, the cover sheet is one of the first documents the employers see. Therefore, the first impression is crucial.
Including a cover sheet: Yes or no?
The majority of employers are against cover sheets. Results from various studies regarding the use of cover sheets in applications show this.
The cover sheet is considered outdated. Applications should be as concise as possible and the cover sheet does not contain any additional information. Instead, some information from the cover letter and CV are being repeated which expands the application unnecessarily. If you consider adding a cover sheet to your application, weigh the advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of the cover sheet:
- Attracting attention and recognition factor: When designing the cover letter you have a lot of creative freedom. For example, you can present your photo significantly larger. This helps to attract attention and to stand out from the crowd.
- Easier to influence the first impression: A cover sheet offers more scope for the design than the cover letter which normally lies on top. Colour, style, and structure can be designed according to the aimed position in order to leave a perfect first impression.
- Clarity: The cover sheet provides the opportunity to give the reader an easy and quick introduction to the application. Vital information of the application is being highlighted on an additional special page.
- More space for information: Some information that is normally included in the CV or the cover letter, can be placed on the cover sheet. Those are, e.g. the photo or register. This way, you are less likely to run out of space on your other documents.
Disadvantages of the cover sheet:
- Additional page: Employers want to get an impression of the applicant as quickly as possible. An additional page increases the time they need to look through the application. If the application is well structured and designed, a cover sheet is basically redundant.
- No real added value: The purpose of a cover sheet is to provide a good visual impression. The content, however, does not primarily mean to convey your skills and arguments.
- Duplicate information: Usually, the information on the cover sheet is merely a summary of information that can be found in other parts of your application. The application is artificially expanded which can leave a negative impression.
- Large application photo: A cover sheet particularly highlights the application photo. Therefore, you should only use photos that were taken by a professional photographer. Otherwise, good intentions can backfire. A large application photo could also convey a wrong impression of you and be perceived as narcissistic and egocentric. In most European countries the trend is even against an application photo due to anti-discrimination laws. An extra-large photo might add the wrong focus. Especially if you primarily want to convince with your professional skills.
We recommend only including a cover sheet in your application if the job advertisement explicitly asks for one. Usually, applications are most common in conservative sectors.
But you can also score in a creative professional with a well-designed cover sheet. Especially, if knowledge in layout and design is required for the profession. In this case, the cover sheet of the application is simultaneously your first work sample with which you can demonstrate your skills.
Structure and content of the cover sheet
There are no set rules regarding the contents of the cover sheet in an application. Generally, the cover sheet should provide a short overview of the most important information. Therefore, you can include the following information:
- Name and personal data
- Application photo
- Desired position
- Name of the company
The structure and content of the cover sheet are always the same. It does not matter if you are applying for a job, university, apprenticeship, or internship place or if it is an unsolicited application.
First and foremost, the cover sheet should make it clear that this is an application. Therefore, the cover sheet should have a big and clear headline like "Application" or "Unsolicited application".
Tip: Find a motto or quote
Write a short slogan or quote that matches you and the applied for the position. Ideally, it emphasizes your personal strengths and highlights the characteristics that are needed for the profession.
You should include information about the company you apply to on the cover sheet in order to make it easier to clearly and quickly assign the application. These include:
- Name of the position and (if available) the reference number
- Full name of the company
- The location (if there are different locations)
If you name the employer, they will immediately feel personally addressed. You show that you have created the application for this individual employer and that it is not a mass application.
On the cover sheet, it has to be clear who is the applicant. State your full name. You can include your contact details but this is optional. This also applies to the inclusion of a short profile of your qualifications. You can find examples of this in the cover sheet samples above.
You can provide the following personal information:
- First and last name
- Postal address
- Phone number
- E-mail address
- Link to professional Social Media profiles (such as LinkedIn and Xing) or your own website
Caution: Contact details are also in the CV
If you include your contact details on the cover sheet, they should also appear in the CV in table form. This way, the contact details are always available even if the cover sheet is not.
The application photo is optional in the application but it is very suitable for the cover sheet. The application photo conveys a very personal impression. Make absolutely sure that it is a current and professional application photo from a photographer.
In contrast to the CV, where the space for the photo is limited, you can display a larger photo on the cover sheet. A photo in landscape format, a square, or even around the photo is also possible.
Generally, you can create the cover sheet without a photo. The large photo is the eye-catcher and the vital element of the cover sheet. If you don't want to use a photo, think hard about whether to include a cover sheet at all. Without a photo, the cover sheet is basically just an iteration of the other information and therefore redundant.
Furthermore, you can also draw attention to your other documents with a short overview of the attachments. The register is a brief list that is placed underneath the other information. For example, it can look like this:
- Letters of recommendation
- Driver's license
How do I create and design a cover sheet for an application?
Downloading one of our cover sheet templates is the easiest way to create a cover sheet. Proceed as follows:
1. Select a suitable template: Look at our professional cover sheet templates and choose one that matches your personality as well as the profession.
2. Download the template: Simply download the cover sheet Word template to your computer. You can start editing within a couple of minutes.
3. Edit the cover sheet in Word: With one click, install the designer fonts and open the template in MS Word. Insert your information into the finished layout. You can customize fonts, colors, and other design elements to your liking.
4. Add additional content to your application: Every template contains a CV, cover letter, and motivation letter, which you can instantly use as well. Add your information to finalize your application. All application documents are visually coordinated and therefore perfectly match the cover sheet.
5. Save and send the application: Now you can save your application as a PDF file or instantly print it out and send it off.
You can also create the cover sheet yourself, of course. Most suitable for this are word processing programs such as Word or OpenOffice. If you can handle graphics programs such as GIMP or Photoshop, you can also use those.
You have a lot of freedom in regard to the design. However, generally, the following applies: Less is more. Your cover sheet always has to look professional and the design of your application should not distract from the content of your application.
In both modern as well as conservative professions you are on the safe side when using a classic cover sheet. Even small details and variations are enough to show your individuality.
The employer draws conclusions about your personal characteristics, diligence, creativity, and way of working while looking at the cover sheet. Therefore, proceed with caution and make conscious decisions in regards to the design in order to convey the desired impression. The design of your whole application should match your personality and the profession.
Caution: Consistent design
In order to leave a professional impression, all your application documents should appear visually consistent. Therefore, use the same colors and font settings for the cover sheet, cover letter, CV, etc.
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.
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.
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.
Design and layout
There are no set rules regarding the design, layout, and format of the cover sheet. You can either create the cover sheet in portrait or landscape format. As the application documents are presented on A4 pages in portrait format, the cover sheet has to blend well with the whole application. We, therefore, recommend designing the cover sheet in portrait format as well.
Make sure to present the information on your cover sheet in a logical order and clearly laid out. Leave enough space on all sides. Spread the information appealingly on the cover sheet so it doesn't look crimped.
Colors of the cover sheet
Colors indicate certain characteristics. Therefore, choose the colors for your application carefully. A brief overview of the effect of colors:
Blue: appears competent, reliable, hard-working, professional
Red: appears spirited, attractive, confident, entrepreneurial
Yellow, orange, and pink: appear friendly, creative, social
Green: appears down-to-earth, social, sincere, reliable
Purple: appears mysterious, creative, self-assured, unique
Black: appears professional, classic, technical, leading
Choose a maximum of three coordinated colors. Don't use too bright colors and don't make the cover sheet too colorful. That appears unreliable and also puts a strain on your and the employer's printer cartridges.
Tip: Use the company colors
Every company uses a certain color combination for its recognition factor. You can see this, for example, on the logo, the company's website, or on their products. Use the same colors in order to indicate that you are a good fit for the team.
Fonts to use on the cover sheet
The writing on the cover sheet carries the information and influences the perception of your personality. In the first place, the font in the application has to fulfill three points:
- Good readability
- Similarity to common fonts in applications
Fonts can convey certain characteristics such as creativity, friendliness, reliability and therefore match different occupational groups. Choose one that conveys the desired characteristics and matches the sector.
Avoid using twirly fonts. These can look intrusive. Best choose a classic font or one that looks similar to the classic ones, for example:
You can combine up to two different fonts on the cover sheet. For example one for the headline and one for the text. Additionally, you can highlight certain information like this:
- Bold or italic type
- Different font sizes
- Different font colors (maximum two)
There are no set rules for the font size on the cover sheet. Use two to three different font sizes in order to structure information. It is important that the overall impression is harmonious.
Tip: Show your cover sheet to someone else
The effect of the cover sheet is very subjective. It is best to ask friends or family how your cover sheet looks to them. Simultaneously, let them check for any spelling or typing errors.
Tip: Use white space
In the design, the white space is the blank, "empty" space. The amount and placement of the white space determine the impression. A lot of white space is classy and professional. Therefore make sure, not to overload your cover sheet and leave sufficient white space.
The cover sheet offers you the opportunity to integrate graphic elements. This way, you can stand out with your creativity and show your personality. Look at some of our cover sheet templates to get inspiration. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Colored footer, header, page column
- Background graphic with a subtle pattern or color gradient
- Colored borders around the application photo or other contents
- Curved or streaked separating line between sections
- Small graphics at the beginning of a headline or in listings
Especially for creative professions are visual design elements useful. However, your cover sheet should not appear overloaded as that leaves a dubious impression.
We advise to use visual elements sparingly for conservative companies and sectors.
Tip: Do a test print
Even if you submit your application in PDF format, many employers print out the documents. Therefore make sure that even printed the cover sheet looks like you want it to. Especially colors can look very different on screens and on paper.
Also, keep in mind that colored elements use a lot of printer ink - yours and your employer's. In order to save ink, use colored accentuations instead of large colored areas.