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Tips for your career: Many companies rely solely on digital applications

By email, online tool and video call: The use of digital technologies in the application process is standard. Every company in Germany now allows job applicants to apply for jobs online. Four out of ten companies (42%) even rely exclusively on digital application documents. This is at least partially the case for the remaining 58%. This is the result of a representative survey of over 850 companies in Germany.

Some companies have even digitized the entire hiring process, from application to contract signing: one in six companies (16%) conduct job interviews exclusively via videoconference. 63 percent partially do so. Every eleventh company (9%) relies exclusively on digital assessment centers or online testing procedures, 44% partially. 3% have employment contracts signed exclusively with a digital signature, another 26% do so partially. Digital proofing work is also commonplace in some companies, with 1% enabling it exclusively and another 18% partially.

“Digital application processes are more efficient, less time-consuming and more convenient than classic application folders and face-to-face interviews. Also, a digital application process uses fewer environmental resources. During the pandemic, both employers and employees have come to appreciate these benefits,” says Bernhard Rohleder, CEO of Bitkom.

Six tips for a successful digital application

  • 1. When sending by email, please make sure that all documents are saved in one file in PDF format. HR managers don't want to have to click through various attachments. It's different with online application tools. Cover letter, CV, certificates and work samples often need to be uploaded separately in the space provided.
  • 2. The PDF file with the application documents should have a meaningful name, such as that of the applicant, not just “Application.PDF”.
  • 3. If the application is sent by e-mail, in addition to the subject “Application”, it must also contain the exact description of the position offered.
  • 4. Documents must be scanned legibly and straight, individual pages must not be flipped and no lines or paragraphs must be cut off. What seems so obvious is not standard at all. About one in two digital applications do not meet such simple standards. If things need to be done quickly, high-quality scans can also be achieved with a smartphone, an appropriate scanning app, and a little care.
  • 5. The application file can become very large, especially if you scan many references or work samples. Sometimes employers set an upper limit on file size, but even if this is not specified, you should avoid sending emails larger than 10MB, including all attachments. PDF files can be reduced in size using a variety of tools without significant loss of quality on screen or when printed.
  • 6. And finally: precisely because online applications are so quick and convenient, there is a risk of prematurely pressing “submit”. Digital applications should be completed and checked just as thoroughly as classic documents.
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