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Some easy rules will help you to get noted with your online application.

Since we are currently recruiting for our magazine and other projects, we get a lot of online applications. Here are a few easy hints how you make a better online impression and improve your chances of getting an interview invitation when applying for a job with us or any other international company or NGO.

People in charge of hiring typically get tons of email a days. They also use spam filters in order to be able to handle their email load. Your email is easily lost, missed or just ignored, because it did not look professional. Following a few easy guidelines improve your chances of being noticed and will help you to make a good first online impression.

  1. No empty emails: Don’t ever send an empty email with just a Word document. Since you are not in the employers address book your email will almost certainly end up in it’s spam folder and will probably never be read.
  2. Use a good subject. “CV” is not. Your future employers might have many open positions to fill and is typically getting many applications for the same job. Having one hundred emails with the subject “CV” is a nightmare when trying to get an overview over your applicants. Better describe the position, give a lead and add your name, e.g. “freelance journalist,, CV Yourname”
  3. Write an introduction. A short one is fine, but you should give some context to your application. This is the right place to mention if you or this position were recommended by someone or if you had previous contact with the person whom you are applying to. Not writing an introduction will significantly increase the risk of being blocked by the receiver’s spam filter.
  4. Prefer PDF attachments. Word documents can contain malware (something like viruses). So they are considered a potential thread if they are sent from strangers – and this is what you still are to your potential employer. Therefore, again, the risk to be sorted out by the spam filter is much higher. If possible it is better to send you CV as PDF documents. Exception: Some companies explicitly ask for Word documents, because this is what their recruiting software prefers.
  5. Combine documents. For someone reading applications it’s difficult to handle emails with 8 or more attachments. If you want to attach references combine them in a single PDF. Your email should not exceed 4 attachments. The less, the better.
  6. Add your name to the filenames. The interviewer will typically end up with numerous files called ‘resume.doc’ or ‘cv.pdf’. Make sure you do not get lost in the crowd by giving your files an individual name, e.g. ‘cv-myname.pdf’.


Well, that’s it. With these simple improvements your online application is much better to handle and makes a professional impression. Good luck with your job search!