I will apply for a fixed-term position (max. 6 years contract) at a German university and the part on the necessary documents and information that should be send to the university reads as following:

Please send all required documents (curriculum vitae, copies of certificates, lists of publications and courses taught, details of third-party funding and cooperation arrangements; also include teaching evaluations and plans for future teaching and research) along with a completed application form (see link above)

Hence, it does not mention a letter of motivation. The 'completed application form' is basically a short CV.

Now, I am wondering whether such a letter might not be even necessary, but because I am not very experienced with such applications, I was wondering whether others have seen similar job application descriptions or experiences with such (unmentioned) requirements.

  • 4
    Likely you should say something about motivation in your plans for future teaching and research. It would be pretty natural there.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 20:22
  • 1
    What Buffy says. I never got what you would write into such a separate letter of motivation anyway. Nobody wants to read your well thought-out version of the story about why you wanted to become a professor ever since you were ten. And your current motivation is much better shown along with the details of your plans, a separate letter calls for redundancy.
    – Karl
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 21:02
  • Can you please edit your question to clarify what kind of position you are applying to? Also, does fixed position mean permanent position (there are not many such positions below professor) or fixed-term position (though I do not think it matters that much for this question)?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 9:10
  • Required documents vary widely by position even within fields. Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 12:42
  • Plans for future teaching and research can be quite personal and informative. As a commission member I'd be far more interested in what the applicant is planning to do than what their "motivation" is. I tend to find motivation letters rather pointless when it comes to assessing the applicant. So I'd assume that if they don't explicitly ask for a motivation letter, they think that they can well do without. Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Provide what is asked for. Adding additional documents won't help much as they are hard to evaluate and integrate into a process when not required. If you have a cover letter to accompany your application and it isn't too space limited you could give a very short version of something like a Statement of Purpose within it, saying a bit about long term goals and how the position would contribute to that.

And, as I wrote in a comment, your "plans" documents can contribute a few positive ideas as well, especially if they don't have rigid space limitations.

It is a matter of how you organize the important messages you wish to convey.

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