6 Tips for Creative Applications

The same old text applications without an individual message are the sad daily routine for personnel decision-makers in companies. German DAX companies receive several hundred applications for individual positions. Recruiters actually only have a few minutes in the selection process. But what if the recruiters only have seconds to sift through an entire, painstakingly compiled application portfolio?

If an employee is supposed to look at 300 applications a day, which folder will he spend more than 60 seconds on? One of the 299 whose cover letters are identical down to a few words? Probably not. You can only stand out here with a really creative application. The aim here is to attract attention immediately. Because dull, meaningless application documents immediately end up in the return or rejection folder.

Who is eligible for a creative application?

If you appliy to a company in the media industry, as a designer or copywriter, a creative application is of course a must, and samples of your work are often used to enhance the impact of the documents. However, even in less creative industries, those responsible appreciate a creative approach, as they are very much oriented towards the extraordinary messages of the marketing industry. You should only consider using a creative application in industries that place a high value on seriousness. Examples of industries that value a serious appearance are lawyers, insurance companies and banks. Here you need to carefully consider how much leeway you have to stand out from the crowd.

1. Breaking out of the usual pattern

You can spruce up the design of your application. A specially designed cover page in your own design, a cover letter in the company's corporate design or an application in landscape format are all very special ideas that are guaranteed to make you stand out.

An application is nothing more than advertising on your own behalf. Here you can make use of the wisdom of the advertising industry. A tried and tested advertising formula is AIDA, for A for Attention, I for Interest, D for Desire and A for Action. In your cover letter, you can start with Attention, i.e. attracting attention. Just deviate from the usual introductory sentences, such as "I am applying to you because ...". This will set you apart from the competition. Because only with individual sentences can you generate the attention that your documents need. For example, you can start your cover letter with a question. You provide the answer at the end of your cover letter, creating the perfect framework.

A specially designed CV also arouses the interest of recruiters. Dare to deviate from the usual form and add an individual touch. With a creative overall package consisting of a self-designed cover sheet, a special cover letter and a refreshingly different CV, you will make people want to get to know you better. The first step towards your dream job.


2. Scoring points with references

What recommendations from former colleagues do you have, in addition to references, that you can include with your application?Colleagues with whom you had a good relationship will be happy to write you a few lines in which they present your work performance and soft skills in a positive light. Give some thought to what work performance at your previous employer was really satisfactory. In two to three paragraphs, write out the recommendation that you will show your former boss or department head in a short meeting. Ask them to help you. They will usually be happy to comply with your request. The letter of recommendation is then placed in front of the references. Such individual references are usually much more valuable than the typical job reference, as they once again bring your special features to the fore.

3. The Mindmap

A special type of cover letter is a graphic, or more precisely a mind map. With this graphic, you can show at a glance what there is to know about you.In just a few seconds, the recruiter can gather all the essential information about you. Definitely an unusual, refreshingly different application. You are sure to attract attention!

4. The video application

When looking for really creative application ideas, why not try a video application? You can use videos to focus your application on your personality and character. metru can help you with this. With one video each of your cover letter, your CV and your special skills, you can make your application stand out from the competition.You can create a video application quickly and easily using a smartphone. The special app from metru helps you with the recording. Later, metru merges your videos with your written application into a PDF and you can send the finished file as a link or PDF to your desired company. HR managers are sure to enjoy the change of pace and look at your video application with enthusiasm. A little extra tip: Video applications are particularly suitable for unsolicited applications. After all, the position you are applying for has not even been advertised yet and you have to convince the recruiter in the shortest possible time that you would be an asset to the company. In a video, you convey information much faster and therefore have a better chance of landing the job.


5. Your application as an application flyer

An application flyer is a creative application in DIN A4* in landscape format with a zig-zag fold or also in a simple fold to DIN A5*. The application flyer offers enough space on the front and back to present your personal details.

Page 1 of your application flyer

The front of your application flyer can be structured like a cover page and contain your name, a large photo of yourself and your contact details. You can also briefly outline your professional career in the form of a table. You can also put qualifications that you would like to emphasize on page 1 to create a focal point.

Page 2 of your application flyer

Your training and/or studies have a place here. You can also mention any further training courses you have attended. Which schools have you attended? List the most important schools on page 2. Can you provide evidence of any particular successes? Write about them in the middle of page 2 to focus on your strengths. At the end of the flyer, you can offer your potential employer further information. You can see this type of application as a kind of teaser, i.e. a small taste of who you are. If the company is interested, you can still send them your full CV and a letter of motivation. It is best to include your contact details on page 2 so that the company knows how to get in touch with you.

The application flyer can also be used at an application fair or a contact forum for companies and job seekers. Here you can present the application flyer like a short application to interesting companies and introduce yourself immediately. Your application flyer can therefore be a good basis for an interview. By explaining the details of the flyer, you can bring your CV and your skills into the conversation. The perfect way to market yourself and impress potential employers.


6. The application photo

A passport photo is definitely not the right photo for your creative application. Since you are applying for a job here, it is worth the effort of having a professional application photo taken. A relatively small financial investment of less than 100 euros is enough to be able to shine with first-class photos for up to four years. HR managers want to know who is behind the application and get a first impression of you from the photo. Authenticity and likeability, for example, are features that are often appreciated. Your employer of choice has no other chance to get to know you in a conventional application: only your photo shows them who you are. Your smile, your facial expression and your clothes form the first impression. This is how you will initially be judged, so it is a big mistake to underestimate this part of your application. Just think in advance about how people in your desired industry appear. How are they dressed and what do they radiate? This will help you prepare perfectly for your photo.

Be creative and step out of line

An unusual application is a winner. Nothing is as boring as the same old application on the recruiter's desk. A creative idea already helps with the cover letter, which can also be spiced up considerably with an application video. Your personality comes across more strongly in the application video than in a purely text-based cover letter. The application photo from the professional photographer for application photos is tailored precisely to your desired industry. The photographer will give you tips on your posture and capture the right look for you. The application flyer as a new and clear short form of the CV can present the profile briefly and in an attractive design. And last but not least: despite all the unusual design, don't forget to proofread it again.


* (or US Standard Letter or whichever standard format prevails in your respective country)