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January 6, 2022

CV, certificates and cover letter: Online application check of the DAX 40 and top start-ups in Germany

 CV, certificates and cover letter: Online application check of the DAX 40 and top start-ups in Germany

“You can’t send this application without a cover letter.” - “Wrong, cover letters are outdated!” If you want to know, which documents
Read our analysis to find out which documents are needed the most in an online application for IT positions in the DAX 40 companies and 46 of the highest funded Start-ups in Germany.

Our own Taledo recruiting experts compared the data so can know what to bring in your next application.

Study period: December 2021

Cover letters less is (no) more (needed)

The cover letter is often just an option to bring a personal touch in your application at the end of 2021.

It is no longer mandatory in many companies. Like in our previous evaluation is the cover letter obligatory in about 20 % of large corporations. In this case 22.5 % of the DAX 40 companies.
As opposed to Start-ups: cover letters are optionally 87 %, mandatory just 8.7 % and not needed 4.3 % within the test group of 46 highest funded Start-ups in Germany.

CV still most important document

The CV remains mandatory in almost all checked companies.

In 10% of the DAX 40 companies and 20% of the Start-ups it was possible to submit an application without a CV. It is rather doubtful that there can be a successful application without adding a CV.
The ATS was most likely not configured right or the note, that a CV is compulsory was simply forgotten to add.

Still, a well-structured CV is the heart of every application. The rule of thumb also applies to applications for AI-based systems: If the CV is easy for a human to read, then it is also easy for the AI to read.

Certifications: almost non-existent in Start-ups

The solar equipment manufacturer Heliatek is the only one of the start-ups we checked that relies on the submission of credentials. Around 28 % of the other start-ups in our survey only offered this as an option. A large part, on the other hand, has no interest whatsoever in these documents. In five of the DAX 40 (12.5%) it’s still mandatory to give your credentials in an application. 70% of the DAX 40 companies give the option to submit your references and 17.5 % don’t have credentials as a necessity at all to finish an application.

Pre-registration: old-fashioned or appropriate for large companies?

Just one of the 46 surveyed Start-up companies needs a registration before you can submit your application documents. In this case, it’s the solar system Start-up Sonnen. 

Most other start-ups focus on an application process that is as short as possible.
More than half (around 52.5 %) of DAX 40 companies still rely on pre-registration before filling out application forms. 

Here, however, it is often possible to transfer all the necessary data directly for an application for another position in the same company. This is particularly advantageous if there are many similar positions advertised in an already established company. Another way to avoid having to enter all the data over and over again is to create a web-based application profile: Taledo offers applicants the opportunity to present themselves to several hundred companies in this way. 

Among the start-ups that have implemented a quick application procedure, LinkedIn dominated as a possibility for automatic pre-registration. In nine out of 10 cases, the US.American career network could be used.
At DAX 40 companies, on the other hand, there were just as many options for a quick application with Xing as with LinkedIn.

Overall, applications at start-ups were more efficiently designed, while most DAX 40 companies tended to rely on extensive procedures.


The CV is by far the most important document and forms the core of every successful application. 
If we look back at our research from previous years, which you can find here, we can definitely see a trend. If you still need a little help writing your own CV, you can read our tips for successfully creating a CV in the blog post "5 steps to creating a perfect CV layout". 

References, on the other hand, are being forgotten, especially in start-ups.

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