Deutsche Bank application: don't let the word count limit you

It’s vital that you maximise every section of the application form, as your chance of being progressed to the next stage depends on it.

The application form for a graduate scheme or internship at Deutsche Bank isn’t a 30-minute job, as the employer asks applicants to answer big questions with small word counts, particularly towards the end of the application when you write about your work experience in as few as 50 words. Following that you’re asked to make further statements in support of your application and make observations about the firm, the role and the profession. Here the word counts rise but only to 100 to 150 words. You’ll have to take time and think carefully about what exactly the bank wants you to put across in your answer and how you can convey the information such tight constraints.

Deutsche Bank application form tip: structure your answer

With limited word counts to play with, you may not have the space to follow the traditional four-step STAR (situation, task, action and results) technique in your answers. So consider applying the CAR technique (context, action and results) instead.

When Deutsche Bank asks applicants: ‘What makes you a strong candidate for this division, considering the key attributes that would make someone successful in this business?’ (100 words), recruiters will expect you to pinpoint more than one of the requisite skills or qualities for the job, so make sure you read the job description and person specification.

To answer this question using CAR, view your skill or quality as the context, how you exercised this skill/quality at work, university or elsewhere as the action, and the outcome as the result. You might even be able to combine more than one skill or quality into one ‘CAR’, avoiding the need to write double. For example, if you were discussing how you have the rigour and intellectual determination required in the finance division, you could write about how in your dissertation or an extended assignment you were extremely thorough in evaluating and referencing your sources (rigour) and the way in which you contributed to your academic field or advanced your line of argument (intellectual determination).

Deutsche Bank application form tip: avoid an academic writing style and use these simple English tips

Having spent several years in college and university, where you probably wrote essays aplenty, it may be easy to slip into an academic writing style when answering the questions on the application form. Don’t do this, as you haven’t got enough space to accommodate it.

It’s essential that you avoid long, unnecessary, highfalutin words and long sentences. You might want to look at how some news headlines capture messages briefly, eg:

  • ‘Teresa May: Brexit means Brexit’ is almost like a bullet point. You could use the same construction to write a statement starting: ‘Decision-making: While volunteering at [X charity] I rewrote volunteer job descriptions…’
  • Another headline is ‘Interest rates cut’. It describes an outcome using a decisive verb. Your equivalent might be ‘customer feedback improved…’ when you describe the fruits of your labour.

The following uses both expressions above in one of a series of bullet points that sell the skills a candidate applying to Deutsche Bank might possess. It’s full of context, action and results:

  • Decision-making: While volunteering at [X charity] I rewrote volunteer job specifications to ensure better experience for customers of the charity. I identified the priorities of the role and I decided what to take over from old job descriptions and what new standards to introduce. This involved consulting with colleagues and the public. The volunteers liked the way I clarified how they established contact with customers, and customer feedback improved.’

Deutsche Bank application form tip: include one excellent example instead of three mediocre ones

When asked, ‘What extracurricular activities do you participate in?’ (100 words), it might be tempting to list all your interests outside education and employment. Not only would that be ineffective, it’d also be a wasted opportunity. It’s vital that you maximise every section of the application form, as your chance of being progressed to the next stage depends on it.

Choose one or two interests that relate in some way to the bank, division, role or industry. Deutsche Bank supports children’s charities and children’s medical research. Have you raised funds for deprived communities or volunteered for a charity? Activities such as these would certainly be worth mentioning. What was involved? What skills did you develop?

Deutsche Bank application form tip: choose facts that are specific

If you want your application to stand out and to be remembered, include examples and facts that are specific. So, when you’re asked, ‘Briefly explain the main role of your division of choice, how it contributes to the Bank and why you are interested in working in this division’ (150 words), don’t say something general such as: ‘I’m passionate about finance and believe my communication and analytical skills could be put to use in ‘X’ division.’ Instead, be specific.

Find a few things about the division that truly interest you and relate to your career aspirations, values or ethics. For instance, did you develop an interest in the group audit division during a ‘spring into banking’ programme and since then you have wanted to join the highly collaborative environment and find innovative solutions to problems?

Our 'How to get hired' articles are written by TARGETjobs editors and writers with job candidates in mind, helping you research and understand employers. Copyright of all material written by TARGETjobs lies solely with GTI Media.