How your application can lead to your perfect job

Are you looking for a permanent position? Or perhaps you would prefer the flexibility that temporary employment offers? Whichever the case, you will have to get through an essential stage: writing your application. Whether they’re brief or exhaustive, certain documents definitely have to be included. The curriculum vitae and cover letter are a must.

The different types of application

Standard application

A standard application is mandatory and comprises at the very least:

Complete application

The complete application, also known as the traditional application, comprises:

  • a curriculum vitae including a photo, which is not mandatory but is often appreciated.

  • a cover letter

  • copies of your various work and further education certificates

  • copies of your academic or professional diplomas or degrees

  • any document that may add meaning to your application (volunteer work, level of competitive sport, publication of your research work, etc.)

The complete application provides proof of your academic background such as copies of your diplomas, certificates, master’s degrees, licences, etc. Language certificates will attest to your ability to express yourself in other languages. Work certificates and references as well as letters of recommendation describe your professional background.

You could also mention up to three people as references. Your future employer may contact them to ask them some questions. These references do not necessarily have to be your employer or manager. They may be former colleagues or a teacher if you are a recent graduate. Mention your interests if they are important. Mentioning “cinema” is less important than being a cinema-lover passionate about the work of Michel Audiard and volunteering at the cinema for three years. The “2018 Berlin Marathon” says more about you than simply “running”. 

Finally, send your complete application via e-mail, an online form or by post.
 If you are contracted for an interview, plan to print out your complete application along with duplicate copies so you have it at hand in your interview.

How to present your application

Presenting a standard application

The standard application is often sent by e-mail. It can also be sent in an envelope “as it is”. If the recruiter is interested, a complete file will be requested from the candidate, who will then have to send it as a hard copy by post. Please note that it is strongly discouraged to use the same cover letter for all applications. You must take the time to take an interest in each company you are applying to and adapt the content. The recruiter needs to feel that the letter is addressed to that company precisely and that you know where you are going.

Presenting a complete application

Depending on your experience, a complete application may be voluminous. It is therefore important to keep your reader focused on the essentials: your skills and motivation (CV and cover letter) and to help them easily refer to your documents without getting lost.

To make your profile easier to read and to guide your recruiter, do not hesitate to link the document, separate the different parts, number the documents and include a table of contents so that the reader can easily find their way around the document.

The cover letter can be attached to the file so it can be accessed at any point. Feel free to put the CV in a strategic location (on the left page of the file for example or on the cover letter of the application file using a transparent sheet) so that the recruiter can refer to it at any time.

In terms of the elements that make up your application, the order of the documents presented must form part of a proper strategy. Each document has to add something to your application. It is better to omit parts that are not “in line” with your objective rather than to overload the reader with parts that are unrelated to it.


Just like the presentation of a person, the presentation of an application file says a lot about the person submitting it.

Be careful that the copies or scans of your diplomas are clear and in focus, arranged in a coherent order (chronologically or by topic). If you are applying online, group the same type of documents (certificates for example) in the same pdf file to avoid having 14 documents attached to your email. The spelling must be perfect, as you have, in theory, had plenty of time to check it and/or have it checked. The layout must be harmonised and coherent. Use the same font throughout the document. Be careful to present the dates in the same way throughout the file.

Write an application in English

Many international recruitment specialists have noted that Anglo-Saxon pragmatism has led to the motivation e-mail replacing the traditional cover letter. Accompanying the CV, it is a maximum of 15 lines.

If a candidate applies in English, they have supposedly mastered the language of Shakespeare. Be careful, however, to make adaptations from oral to written form at an early stage.  Prioritise clarity and simplicity (straight to the point). A direct and spontaneous tone will be appreciated, as Anglo-Saxons attach as much importance to personality as to the training path.

Be careful to use polite expressions. To start the letter, you could use for example: “I am writing in reference to / with regard to / on behalf of…”. If you have been referred by someone, mention it as follows: “Your name was given to me by… “.


Say that you are available to provide any other information: “If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to let me know” or “If you need any further information, feel free to contact me”


Finish your letter with a thank you: “Thank you for your consideration regarding my application…”. Please note that expressions such as “Kind regards”, “Best regards” or “Sincerely yours” are reserved for colleagues or acquaintances.

At the end of the email, specify the number of attachments (CV + cover letter for example) with “2 files attached”.

Using keywords in an application

When you respond to a job offer that has been published in the press or on the Internet, your application is likely to be among hundreds of others. In this case, some companies pre-sort candidates according to keywords. Robots read the parts of your application and hold onto the profiles containing a certain number of keywords. It is therefore advisable to mention your most recent qualification in your cover letter. Feel free to use the adjectives mentioned in the advert (if they apply to you) in your cover letter.

Mentioning skills in an application

There are two main types of skill :

  • Transferrable skills: those that you have acquired in your past experience and that you can use in your future position. For example, the ability to manage a team, a sense of initiative or communication skills. In order to make them credible, they must be exemplified through a professional achievement.

  • Specific skills: These are qualifications that are directly relevant to a particular position. For example, you are familiar with specific accounting or inventory management software or a particular computer programming language, etc.

Make sure you are also as factual as possible. It is better to have a few specific skills than a haze of vague skills.