Aachen (dpa / tmn) - "I hereby apply ..." Most people are aware that applicants with such an entry do not make an impression in the cover letter. But how is it better?

"The text ideally triggers an eye-catcher for the HR decision-maker and convinces him that it is worth inviting the applicant to an interview," summarizes business trainer Michael Fridrich.

First of all, it is not quick. Applicants must take the time to write a letter of motivation. You need to make it clear why hiring him or her is an added value for the company. However, the letter of motivation should not be longer than one A4 page.

Step 1: research

So how do you start? Step one should be: "Research, research and research again", emphasizes Ute Gietzen-Wieland, business and mental coach. According to her words, those who apply must deal intensively with the respective industry and the company and collect arguments as to why you are right for a certain position.

"Real interest is shown in how individually applicants draw up the letter of motivation." Form letters in which applicants only exchange the recipient addresses and the title are out of place. The same applies to standard phrases. "Applicants must be aware that, depending on the position, up to 400 applications and more may arrive at a company depending on the position," says Gietzen-Wieland. The first 20 seconds are crucial to arouse curiosity.

Why are you the right candidate?

There are no standard recommendations for an introductory sentence. "Applicants have to come up with something and show that they stand out from the competition," says Gietzen-Wieland.

"It makes sense to take the decision-maker perspective," emphasizes Fridrich. So instead of permanently using the word "I" in the text, it is better to use the word "you". For example: "You choose a candidate who has the following qualifications" or "You expand your team with an employee who has these and those skills."

Structure: Divide the cover letter into four parts

From Fridrich's point of view, an ideal letter of motivation is divided into four parts: Part one describes why an applicant is applying to this company. In part two, the candidate does self-marketing and gives reasons why it is worth hiring him or her.

"It is also ideal to list strengths and link them with results," says Fridrich. For example: "Because of my specialist knowledge and my leadership skills, I managed a team of 20 people for years." In part three, the applicant should highlight his added value for the company. Then part four concludes: "I am happy to be invited to an interview."

The no-gos in the letter of motivation

Fridrich recommends that you use no subjunctive in the letter of motivation if possible. For example, not to write. "I would be happy" or "would be nice". Applicants should also be confident. A statement like "Maybe I could fit into your team" is not particularly convincing.

Candidates who are overqualified for a certain position also run the risk of failing to convince a recruiter with a letter of motivation. "Such an application then quickly looks desperate," says Gietzen-Wieland.

In their view, it is also not appropriate to express any criticism of the previous employer. It should also be clear that the text should not have any spelling or grammatical errors. To make the letter easy to read, applicants should structure it visually, write in short sentences and make paragraphs.