A curriculum vitae (of a CV) is no stranger to the job market. In fact, many high-profile jobs would like to see a CV placed on their hiring manager’s desk rather than a basic resume.
But what about in Germany? Do the Germans require a CV in their job market? The answer is yes! Although, a German CV can be a little different from your typical CV in the United States.
First, a CV in Germany is called a Lebenslauf, and it can be beneficial during your job search in Germany. Plus, Germany has its own set of rules when it comes to writing a CV for the job market. Sounds hard? It’s not. In fact, it takes some know-how, as well as some common sense, in order to pull off a winning CV for the German job market.
So, if you’re looking to score a job in Germany, then listen up! In this article, we’ll take a brief overview of what your CV should look like for the German job market. Follow these tips, and you’ll come out on top!
Let’s dive right in!
Germany’s CV Requirements
First and foremost, Germany has its own requirements, when it comes to presenting a CV to potential employers. With a work culture that’s world’s away from the United States, Germany requires certain elements in a job seeker’s CV.
With that said, we will now look at the various requirements that you must follow to write a presentable CV:
Usually, a U.S. CV or resume won’t go past one page. However, with a German CV, it needs to be no longer than two pages. In fact, one page is recommended since you’re being to the point with employers. Employers don’t want to be bored with detail; they want to know what you can do and what kind of person you are.
Next, know the terminology.
As mentioned earlier, the term for CV in the German language is Lebenslauf. This is especially useful whenever you’re applying for jobs in Germany because the terminology here is different from that of the U.S.
Now, when it comes to first impressions, you’ll need to look visually presentable to employers, especially in Germany. That’s why you’ll need to have a professional-looking photo in your CV. It must be of good quality and formatted for business ventures: no party photos or any of those pictures you post on social media.
If you don’t have a good-looking photo for your CV, you can opt for a professional photographer to take great pictures of you, or you can also opt for not adding a picture of yourself.
Now, technically, this is usually reserved as the first part of your CV. Your personal information is the first thing that employers should see to know that you’re a person.
With that in mind, here are some personal details to have in this section:
- Your first and last name
- Your birth date
- Your nationality
- Your marital status
- Your contact information
- A passport-size photo of yourself
Now, while having a short description of yourself and your skills, experience, and qualifications are ideal for this first section, they can be separate sections.
Now is the time to talk about your career paths thus far. That’s where the personal summary comes in!
In your summary paragraph, you’ll need two to four lines of detail. This should come after the photo and personal info. Plus, it should summarize your work experience. If you have any volunteering work experience, then mention that as well. Essentially, you’ll be explaining your strengths and goals briefly in your career. In other words, you’ll be answering the following questions to the best of your ability:
- How would you explain your work experience?
- What is your most notable strength(s)?
- How would you demonstrate your ability to create and innovate?
Your Educational Experience
As for your educational experience, you’ll need to be as detailed as possible while still holding to the no-more-than-2-pages requirement.
In this section, you should mention your education (including secondary school and higher education). For colleges and universities, remember to include the name of the schools, along with the degree programs you have studied. You can also add relevant coursework that you’ve taken during your college career.
Your Work Experience
For your work experience, it’s best to stay relevant when mentioning your past jobs. With that said, you’ll need to list your work history in reverse chronological order. That means adding your most recent job first and then going from there.
As for the format, here’s how you should write down your job:
- The name of the company
- The dates that you’ve worked for said company, AND
- The company location (i.e., city, state).
- Your position with the company
- Your responsibilities and achievements (4 to 8 bullet points) in that position
As you add these sections to your CV, you’ll also need to add additional sections to make your document stand out more to German employers. Additional sections include:
- Your skills, add it at your discretion. Although this section isn’t mandatory, it can still give employers a great idea of the type of person you are and what you can do for them.
- Your volunteer experience - this is a desirable part to have in your CV. Since volunteering is a universal cause, you’ll get great recognition from German employers.
- Your references, of which you can offer written connections to employers in Germany. In fact, written references are called Arbeitszeugnis.
So, there you have it!
Writing a CV for German employers isn’t as hard as one might suspect. Writing a German CV has some similarities to a regular U.S. CV, despite the notable differences mentioned in this article.
Plus, like U.S. employers, German employers expect a lot from job seekers, especially when seekers are from a different country. That’s understandable.
So, the next time you present a CV to the German job market, be sure to refer to this brief overview. By following these simple tips, your CV will avoid being shamelessly tossed out and might snag an employer’s attention.
About the author: Emily Henry is a writer and editor at Boomessays and Paperfellows. She is also a contributing writer for OXessays. As a content writer, she writes articles about resumes, career trends, and business marketing.