Attachments and referees


Certificates and references are required with job applications. Which ones you attach depends on your age and professional experience. Recruiters normally expect to receive all references from previous employers, plus certificates showing your university degree and/or vocational training. If you do not yet have much work experience, you should also attach your last school report.

If there are no attachments or they are incomplete, our recruiters will not be able to get a full picture of you. You should therefore include certificates and references that you do not find entirely satisfactory. Even if you have many years’ experience, we will need the certificates showing your highest educational qualification (e.g. high-school leaving certificate) and vocational or professional training (e.g. PhD). We do not just look at your grades; we also consider many aspects of your personality, skills and competencies which are outlined in your cover letter (letter of motivation) and resume (CV).


Selecting and checking attachments

You should only include certificates from training courses you have attended since qualifying if they are of relevance for the specific position. For example, a certificate of attendance from a course for safety or quality officers or an accounting course that extended over several weeks might be relevant. By contrast, you can omit certificates from short courses: normally they just inflate your application.


The dates and content of documents showing your academic grades and any further training should match the data included in your resume. It is amazing how often we find that the information in resumes differs from the certificates submitted - even in applications from highly qualified people. Therefore here is a piece of apparently self-evident advice: double-check everything or ask someone you trust to check it for you.


Referees are a valuable addition to your application

Referees are not a standard requirement for job applications in Germany - unlike other countries where they are often essential because employers do not issue references. However, including referees is a valuable complement to references from previous employers. If a former line manager, mentor or professor has given you an assurance that he or she would act as referee, you can name him/her in your application. In this case, you should include the referee’s  name, company and contact details in your resume. Please make sure the information is up-to-date. Incidentally, referees should always be at least one level above you in the organizational hierarchy.


The "third page”

A “third page” giving brief details of papers published, research projects and referees is normally an essential element of applications from scientists. This is where candidates highlight their scientific profile and accomplishments. For applications in other fields, it is a “nice-to-have” addition, for example, if you have published academic papers.

Checklist for attachments


  • Make sure you send all necessary attachments
  • Make sure the data match your resume
  • Relevant certificates (e.g. educational qualifications, bachelor's/masters degree, PhD)
  • Convert cover letter, resume and attachments to one (!) unencrypted PDF
  • Attachments up to max. 5 MB (total) / individual attachments max. 3 MB


  • Irrelevant attachments
  • Forged documents
  • Omit references from former employers
  • Too many separate PDFs