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One of the final steps towards a job is to pass through the eye of a needle and be called in for an interview. This requires a job application that stands out and is tailored to the specific job for which you are applying.

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How to write a good application

Your application has one purpose. To make the employer so interested that you and not one of the many other applicants will get through an interview.

The challenge is to ensure that your application is specific, personal and about the future of the company – and, of course, that it is tailored to the job for which you are applying.

1. Analyse the needs of the company

The application is a sales letter, and together with your CV, its purpose is to make the reader want to see you. The application should not include everything: just the most important information. Therefore, before you start writing your application, you should familiarise yourself with the job itself. And the company.

2. Write a catchy heading

Make a personal heading that quickly tells who you are – for example “Export engineer specialising in market analysis” for a job as a sales engineer. The heading should describe why you would be a match for the job.

Did you know?

Source: Excerpts form ‘Recruitment Analysis 2018’, Ballisager consultancy firm


of the companies prefer a maximum of 1 page?


of the companies are turned off by "focus on your own gain"?

3. The crucial motivation

Your motivation for applying for the job should shine through the application. You should therefore describe your motivation for the job right at the beginning of your application. This will give the employer a reason to read on. You should write why you find the company interesting and why you find the job interesting.

4. Describe you background and underpin your competences

The most important part of the application is what you can offer the employer. Write a clear description of how you meet the professional requirements in the job ad and the tasks you would be particularly good at. Explain how your experience and your competences can be used in the new job. What tasks can you carry out, what knowledge can you contribute and what would this mean to the company? Give short examples and results that show that you have carried out similar tasks or that you have ideas for how to address the challenges. This will show your experience or ideas and make the employer confident yhat you know how to take on the tasks and challenges involved in the job.

Do you want me to read through your application before sending it? I know what employers are looking for and what to make sure to highlight.

- Majbrit Ølgaard, career counsellor, IDA

5. Highlight relevant personal competences

Professional competences are not the only competences that have to match what the company is looking for. Your personal competences also play a role, but they will not be assessed until the interview. Therefore, your personal competences should only be described briefly in the application.

The best advices from IDA's career counsellors

Focus on what YOU can contribute to the company and be specific with regard to the job

- Sanne Mattebjerg

Use headings that say something about you professionally above each paragraph

- Majbrit Ølgaard

Visualise yourself in the job - imagine that you have been working there for 6 months and describe your workday

- Sanne Mattebjerg

Avoid standard phrases and clichés: "I have read with great interest...", "I hope that my application has caught your interest..." because the reader will skip this anyway

- Majbrit Ølgaard

If you apply electronically, you should combine the apllication and CV in one document and send it as a PDF file

- Sanne Mattebjerg

According to the companies: The three most common mistakes in an application are:

The application does not describe the professional match between the applicant and the job.

The applicant’s motivation for the job is not clear.

The application lacks concrete examples of the applicant’s competences.