Application tips when searching for a job in Austria – Here is how you can get your dream job

Aleksandra Izdebska
You have set your sights on your dream job in Austria. Now the challenge is to convince your future employer on the basis of your application. The way you prepare the application documents is one of the decisive factors determining whether or not you will be invited to personally introduce yourself and come to a job interview at the company.

Online or analogue?

A large number of job vacancies are also advertised online in Austria, as in many other countries. In most cases, it is also possible now to apply for jobs via digital platforms or e-mail.

Several years ago, it was still customary for applicants to send in their application dossiers per post. In our digitalised world, the search for jobs and the application process has been shifted to the Internet.

Unless otherwise agreed with the company, one can assume that the application documents can be sent online.

There are several rules relating to the form of the application which also apply to an online application. If you are trying to get a job in Austria, make sure the following application documents are included in your application: 

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Application letter / Motivation letter
  • Samples of your work (if requested by the company)
  • Education certificates
  • Reference letters

The documents should be sent in a PDF format if possible. It is recommended to put together a kind of digital “application dossier” and integrate all the individual documents into one PDF file. In this way, none of the documents can get lost and the original design is maintained.  

1. Curriculum Vitae

The curriculum vitae (CV) is definitely the most important part of your application documents. In it you present your education and training, your work experience and additional qualifications.

In Austria it is customary to arrange the curriculum vitae in a tabular form. If possible, the CV should not have a length of more than one page, but an absolute maximum of two pages.

You should include the following information in your CV:

  • First and family name, academic title if you have one
  • Address, telephone number, e-mail address
  • The different stages of your education, other advanced courses and seminars
  • Military or civilian service
  • Internships
  • Professional career path including specific positions, focus and scope of your work
  • Foreign language competencies (with the European framework of reference)
  • Special skills and interests
  • Date and signature (add a scanned handwritten signature to the digital CV)
  • Voluntary information: date and place of birth, marital status, nationality, children, driving license)
  • Including a photo is recommended

Here you can find a sample Europass curriculum vitae in German and a Europass curriculum vitae in English.

2. The application letter / motivation letter

The letter gives you the opportunity to explain to the potential employer why you are the suitable person for the job and what has motivated you to apply for it.  

Even if many applications are now processed online, it is still recommended to invest time in designing your application letter. Here are a few tips for you:

  • The cover letter should be in the form of a letter, if at all possible. A complete letter will include the following:
    • Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address
    • Recipient and his/her address
    • Subject of the letter
    • Date
    • Correct personal form of address
    • Signature
  • Adjust the contents of the application letter to the specific potential place of work. The text should not be a repetition of the curriculum vitae. Present the reasons why you are precisely the right person for this job.  
  • It is customary in Austria to include your academic title. Use this when you write your address or in greeting the recipient (e.g. Dear Ms./Dr. Sample Name).
  • Address your letter, if possible, to the right contact person (Mr./Mag. Sample Name). If the contact person is not mentioned in the job advertisement, ask the human resources department who the letter should be addressed to.  
  • Avoid spelling mistakes. Have another person proofread your letter.  
  • Keep the letter brief. The letter should not be longer than one A4 page.  
  • Scan and include your handwritten signature at the end of the document.

In most cases you will not fulfil all the requirements listed in the job advertisement. Nevertheless, you should still trust in yourself enough and risk sending the application. There is hardly anyone who fulfils all the desired criteria included in the job advertisement. Moreover, you can still further develop your expertise and skills.

3. Samples of your work (if requested by the company)

Some companies would like to check to see if the applicant can actually assume responsibility for the future tasks and can demonstrate practical experience in the desired area of work. For this reason, they sometimes give the applicant specific tasks to fulfil. In some jobs, for example involving editorial work, the human resources department may ask to see samples of articles written by the applicant and previously published. If you apply for a job in the field of graphic design, it could happen that you may already have to design a corporate identity or logo beforehand.

The intention is not to subject you to an examination but to find out more about your style and how you approach the topics.

If you submit or send it sample work, it is important to add comments on what you want to express with your work and what your underlying thoughts were.  

4. The job interview

The application documents have been received, and you have been invited to a job interview. Normally the job interview will take place on the premises of the potential employer.  

If you apply from abroad, the job interview may be held online.  

Prepare for the job interview by doing research about the company beforehand. In this way, you indicate your interest in the company. Think about the ways in which you fulfil the requirements well and why the responsible managers should decide in your favour.

Companies do not only present their products but also part of their corporate culture on the website and social media platforms. Look at photos of events. In this way you can draw some conclusions about the dress code in the company. Make sure you have a well-groomed appearance but remain authentic in your style of clothing. You will make the best impression if you feel comfortable with the clothes you wear.

If the job interview is held online via Skype, Zoom, etc., make sure that you have a stable Internet connection. Test your equipment ahead of time before the interview takes place. In this way you can avoid stress situations caused by technical problems and completely devote your attention to the personal interview.

One important point is to be punctual. It would be better for you to come a few minutes too early and wait than to rush and to begin the job interview when you are out of breath.

Prepare for the type of questions your counterpart is highly likely to ask you. For example, a typical question in personal interviews is to explain your strengths and weaknesses. Prepare your responses to show the potential employer that you would be of value to the company on the basis of your specific qualifications and character.  

In any case, you should also prepare questions which you would like to ask the interviewer. In this way you will find out more about the position you are applying for, and also demonstrate your interest in the company.

It is normal to be excited during the job interview. But do not forget that you not only have to sell yourself, but the company has also shown its interest in you. For this reason, the interviewer should also strive to make a good impression on you.  

After the job interview, always ask when you can expect an answer or a decision. In this way you know at what point in time you can follow up with the company.

Here you can find more information on application processes in Austria.

5. Recognition of foreign qualifications

In principle, people within the EU are permitted to work internationally, practice their professions and offer their services. However, several professions are considered to be “regulated professions” for which special rules apply. You can find more information on the recognition of diplomas and qualifications acquired abroad on our website.

Are you still looking for your dream job in Austria?

Take a look at the ABA - Work in Austria job board.

Aleksandra Izdebska
Market Director Poland, Greece, Romania

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