German CV Writing Guide

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in Germany requires thorough preparation, starting with the obvious German cover letter and German CV writing and translation. You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in German jobs.

Do not underestimate the influence they can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.

A CV is similar to a resume in that it provides more details about one’s professional qualifications, experience and education. However, the term "Curriculum Vitae" most often called CV, typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one distribute the CV within the US, Canada or internationally (external to the US or Canada) or is seeking a faculty, academic, research, clinical or scientific position.

You can turn your current resume into a CV. A CV is similar to a resume in that it outlines your professional qualifications and history, but it does so with more detail by adding to the resume the detailed descriptions of your educational and/or professional experiences and personal information that may include nationality, date of birth, marital status, etc.

Prepare yourself - before writing your CV research the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your CV more effectively to each specific job and use of proper examples illustrating your achievements.

The aim of your German CV should be to persuade the employer to invite you for a job interview. For that reason, your CV is a marketing tool, which you should customize to the market in which you intend to use it. Write an introduction that contains many power keywords and action verbs. Scanners that are preprogrammed to select specific words notice these keywords.

When applying for a position in Germany, you may use either German or English, depending on the company and your fluency. Stick to one language once chosen.

The German CV is always in chronological order - ending with the most recent job. Typewrite your German CV on one to maximum two A4 format pages, depending on the length of your work experience. Germans respect perfectionism in all areas of business, so your CV should be concise, precise as possible and clear. Attach a photo, with your details on the back, or scan it to the top right hand corner of CV.

The aim of your CV should be to persuade recruiters to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your CV is a marketing tool, which should be adapted to the market in which you intend to use it.

Start with your personal details: name, address, telephone number, place and date of birth, civil status (habitually including your children) and whether you have a driving license. It is no longer common to include parents' names, they professions and your religion.

Often employers keep CVs on file for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code and e-mail are most important.

Follow with your complete education including junior and secondary school, college and university training. Detail names, locations, dates of attendance, diplomas, majors and degrees. Add honors and awards, internships, additional training and IT knowledge.

Having work experience (including apprenticeships) is one of the main selection criteria in Germany. List responsibilities you had in each job with dates, their locations and your titles - emphasizing areas relevant to the position for which you are applying.

Make your German CV more effective by providing examples to illustrate your achievements. Use power words and action verbs such as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated etc. Bullet point these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

Reveal your native tongue and describe level of fluency for the other languages with reference to the spoken and written levels.

Include your personal interests when they are relevant to the job only.

Make sure that there are no “gaps” in your German CV. However, if “gaps” exists, ensure to mention the reason. Discrimination laws are not as stringent in Germany as they are elsewhere in the world. Carefully consider what to leave out of your CV and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you.

It is more common in Germany to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic CV does not look the same as a standard CV, so make your CV scannable by avoiding for example lines, underlining or italic fonts etc.

Finally sign your German CV at the bottom right with the place and date in the opposite left hand corner.


Check the spelling and grammar of your German CV. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English or German language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your CV, send it to a professional for assistance.

art_remember German CVRemember that your German CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have a difficulty with your CV writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:

art_tip German CV

We recommend that you send your CV together with a cover letter. If you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing use:

Other German CV Info

If your German cover letter and German CV are ready, distribute them through the job search services to your prospective employers. When your German job search have been successful apply for the German visa with German work permit and start preparing for the German job interview using German dress code.

Check the job interview tips do's and don'ts, and find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your German CV!

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