I am anxiously waiting for a reply as I had a personal job interview for a small company around my city, where both of the bosses interviewed me. The staff is pretty young. They're all about my age, I believe. As my feeling tells me, we had a good connection. They asked me quite a lot of thoughtful questions, not a single one of these stupid standardized human resources question. (I'm planning on posting some of those as well...)
Anyway, I might be a little over-qualified as I've got a phd and speak several languages. They believe that one of the bigger companies could offer more opportunities. Not that those bigger ones are trying very hard though. It takes several months just for the bigger companies to answer. Of course, there's a lot of competition as well and the human resources has a lot of work to collect and sort out candidates.
Recently, I've discovered the blog "From Science to Business" << click >>. It's made by a female biology phd searching for jobs. She made two internships and wrote more than 100 job applications in three months, just to get 4 job interviews. I think, that's quite a lot of applications and quite little output. Seriously, I don't even know, if I could have applied for 100 jobs in that period. Maybe only if I didn't match the profiles...
She believes that the cover letter isn't important so she used standardized cover letters for all the applications. I don't know about that... I believe the cover letter is indeed read. I got quite a lot of questions from there in my interviews.
A staff member of jobvector.de gave a big talk on a career fair about even personalizing the curriculum vitae. I don't do that either because I haven't worked in the industry yet. Maybe in the future, when applying for the second of whatever job... An American executive coach told us about the American way of writing cover letters. He pointed out that they are the most important part of the application. It needs to be sharp, especially the first sentences. He thinks that Germans need to sell themselves a lot better in order to get the job. Most German companies in that fair disagree by the way... ;-) but I can't deny that most American professional talks have been excellent and entertaining while most German professors think their talks are the best when nobody understands what they're talking about.