by Victor-Andreas März

Are you about to apply for an internship or entry-level job? You can literally find thousands of opportunities on the internet; just have a look at some of the more popular job websites that offer you these jobs:

  1. - international
  2. - international
  3. - international
  4. - international
  5. - focused on Germany
  6. - focused on the UK

A good job description provides you with basic information about the company, a short description of the role in this job, what the academic requirements are towards this job and any other experience that is required to qualify for the job. If you are a successful applicant, you will typically be invited to a first interview or some kind of assessment centre. I personally know of examples where the first step in the qualifications process – your job application: CV & Cover Letter - required a relatively small effort compared to the work that followed throughout the rest of the application process (multiple rounds of interviews, assessment workshops, psychological assessments, background checks (incl. friends and family). Hence, try to be as selective with which job offer you respond to as possible. You don’t want to waste your time on opportunities where you will have little chances of success and require a lot of effort on your part.
The way you can be selective is first by setting yourself some realistic criteria on the job you want to apply for, such as picking the industry and functional area that interests you, i.e. being a business analyst in the financial services sector.

Typically, a large international company gets hundreds of job applicants on a single position in the junior categories. This means that you need to get through the “filters” that are set by the Human Resource Department to qualify potential candidates for an interview. Obviously they don’t want to invite everybody, even if they have exactly the right qualifications. My most successful applications were generally when I over-performed in the categories that were required to do the job. I typically would not hear back from a company in the event that I missed just one job requirement.

For example, during the last two job applications that I took part in, I made it to the final round in both cases. The reason for this is that I was very selective. The first potential employer selected me and 13 others from over 600 applicants. The second employer selected a group of 35 out of over 950 applicants. Again, make sure you know your strengths and overachieve in the requirements for the job – this is the easiest way to make it through. On top of this it gets even harder for graduates as boarders disappear and access to talent for companies is increased.

Okay enough stats - Let’s get practical and analyse a potential job offer together:

[Illustration 1 - download article to view]

Before I start reading about the company or the job, I typically start from the bottom – looking precisely through what is required from me to perform this job. This is the most important section, because it qualifies you for it or not. If I think I perform well across all requirements I continue reading from the top.

If you don’t know the company, go research it out on the internet. You need a high level understanding of what it is the company does and if your personal values align with that company – i.e. if you don’t like companies that exploit developing countries then it might not be such a good idea to work for a company that mainly uses sweatshops to produce their products. Also, have a look at their financial performance (if data is publicly available) and assess in what situation they are in. It’s much less stressful and typically more fun if you work for a company that is in growth mode. You don’t want to start working for a company that is cutting costs at any possible corner (and potentially your job, just after you started!).

Now, have a read through the high level role description and make sure you fully understand what you would be required to do in this job. If you are unsure, again, use the internet or ask friends what this job is all about. A good source are blogs and job testimonials. Some people also reach out directly to people that are doing the job – utilising internet platforms such as, or

If you still feel that you qualify for the job 100-110% and you are happy with the company, their values, strategies, situation, it is a good time to prepare a customized cover letter (CL) and a curriculum vitae (CV). In my case, I strongly believe that it has helped to customise both the CL and CV to each job application, and I have followed this method frequently in the past. It has also helped me to improve it over time as I gained feedback from many potential employers.

In the next article we will have a look at how to line up the “right jobs”. Hopefully by the time you graduate you will have gained a diverse selection of jobs across your favorite industries. You’re final task during your studies will not be defending your thesis but rather lining up some job offers. How to do that is going to be the discussion in the next article.

Live Your Dreams
The Introduction

Live Your Dreams
Develop a Strategy for Your Studies

Live Your Dreams
Gain Practical Experience Early

Live Your Dreams
Learn How to Read Job Descriptions

Live Your Dreams
Line Up the Right Jobs

Live Your Dreams
Develop a Transition Strategy

Live Your Dreams
Avoid the Young Applicants' Common Mistakes