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References in the application: What is really important!

We are accompanied by reports and certificates throughout our lives. It starts with the primary school report, continues in high school until graduation and with every job there is a report card. Which certificates belong in your application documents when you are looking for a job? As so often in life, there is no blanket answer to this, but always an individual solution.

Which certificates belong in the application?

Credentials and certificates are an assessment of our performance, they serve to document our skills and knowledge for ourselves and for others. When applying for a job, they are also proof of the type and duration of training/employment. In this way, a personnel manager can verify and check the information from the CV and cover letter.

But - not all certificates belong in every application. Let's start with the young professional. Here, the school leaving certificate and training certificate may be important, as well as evaluations and certificates for training, internships and part-time jobs.

The older and more experienced you get, the less important school reports become, for example. When applying for a management position in middle age, who is still interested in the school leaving grade? For jobs as an experienced professional, work references have priority. So be selective about what finds its way into the application documents as an attachment in your case.

The last two to three references are mainly relevant for the job application of experienced professionals. It is nice if you can provide an interim reference from your current employer, as you cannot provide a final reference for an existing employment relationship.

Scope of the annexes for certificates

It is very important to note that an entire online application should not exceed 3 MB in size. For this form of application, combine your entire application file as one pdf document and check the size before sending it. If it is more than 3 MB, you can reduce the file size with an additional programme or you have to omit attachments.

For yourself, all certificates are probably important and, as an applicant, you would like to give your future employer an insight. There is a simple solution for this: the reference overview. This will make it easier for a personnel manager to get an overview, and in the best case, you will do a little advertising for yourself and slim down the file size of the online application.

Creation of a certificate overview

It is quite easy to create this overview. First, you sort the certificates you have exactly according to the structure in your CV.

An example: You have arranged your CV chronologically in ascending order as a young professional. Your personal details might be followed by the headings "Training", "Studies", "Work experience/career" and "Other experience". Sort your documents in exactly this order, so it is easy for the recipient of your application to make a comparison between your CV and the overview of certificates.

You create a new document with the heading "Certificate overview" and divide it into two columns. In the left column you can enter the date of the certificate and/or the time of the respective activity. The right column contains the issuer of the certificate (school, university, chamber of commerce, employer, etc.). In principle, you could leave it at that - but it can be advantageous to provide the recruiter with more information.

You can enter the type of employment - as in the CV - and quote small passages from the reference. "Ms. Mustermann always worked to our complete satisfaction" - it doesn't get much better than that and that should be mentioned, right? Pick out the highlights from your references and give them a fitting place in the reference overview. This way, the reader can get important information even though he or she cannot read every testimonial in the appendix itself. If they are interested, the company will ask for the document in question.

Our tips:

  • Create a checklist for the compilation of your documents and pay particular attention to completeness.
  • Always remember that the first stage of your application for a job is the interview. Be prepared to be asked about your references and things that may not be quite right in them.
  • Take a look at our samples and templates for a certificate overview and find out more in various articles on certificates and certificate overviews. You can also read our article on theInterpreting job references.
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