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CV - Germany

The "Curriculum Vitae" (CV) or "Lebenslauf" is where your work or other experience is laid out in a more outline-type form. Along with the more literary and personal cover letter , it should clearly show any interested employers exactly what they can expect from you and why they should hire you! CVs vary by country as well, so take into account the following notes we have prepared for you.

In Germany, applying for a job requires a bit more documentation than in other countries. German employers want a lot of information about a candidate even before they make their first decisions on who to accept for an interview, so you must send them a packet with:

  • a cover letter
  • a "Lebenslauf" (CV)
  • a passport photograph
  • school certificates
  • testimonials of previous employment.
"Curriculum Vitae" is called "Lebenslauf" in German and is shorter than most other European CVs. It is a brief, factual statement of what you have done and achieved and should be no longer than one page.

Most Germans would have a "Lebenslauf" heading on their CV. "Curriculum Vitae" in German is "Lebenslauf".

Personal Information (Persönliche Daten):
Lastname and Surname/s, Place and date of birth, Address, Contact telephone number/s, fax and email.

Professional Experience (Arbeitserfahrung/Berufspraxis):
Company name and sector. Dates, duties, achieved goals, etc. (use the order that is better for you depending on the experience you want to emphasize: from the oldest to the newest, or vice versa).

Studies up to secondary school (Schulausbildung):
Title, place, city, dates of studies (it's better to list it on a chronologically inverse order).

Studies after secondary school (Studium):
Title, place, city, dates of studies (it's better to list it on a chronologically inverse order) Final Grade Average, Honours, Majors, Title of Thesis/Dissertation, Study Abroad Experiences.

Other Education (Nebenberufliche Tätigkeiten):
Courses, seminars, congresses or conferences that are relevant in relation to the position. Long or prestigious courses are also interesting. Point out its duration in hours. Do not write down the ones that are not interesting or not recent. (On a chronologically inverse order).  

Miscellaneous (Sonstiges):
Information that you didn't know where to place, like geographic and job mobility, driver's license (pointing out the category) and military service. You could also include subcategories like:

  • Computer Skills:
    Programs, Applications, Word processing, Spreadsheet, Database, Internet, etc.
  • Publications and other Professional Activities:
    Follow the same steps as on the professional experience.
  • Languages:
    Which ones and what is your level: high, medium or low. Point out if you can translate, speak or write. Say which titles you have, if any.

Other things to keep in mind

  • The "Lebenslauf" must be short. One or two pages at the most.
  • Print an original copy for each application, with high quality paper.
  • Be neat: take care of the presentation, design, spaces, spelling, don't use abbreviations, emphasize the sections and things that are important by underlining or using bold type, etc.
  • Make sure it's organized, so the information can be found easily.
  • It's good to date the CV.
  • Sign your CV.
  • Make a different CV for each job you are applying to, in order to adapt it to their needs.
  • Include a passport photograph in your application. Attach it to the right upper corner of your Lebenslauf. Some organizations will not consider an application without a photograph.
  • Write it with the third person of the singular form.
  • Give emphasis to your qualities without lying.
  • If you have finished the military service, say it. If not, just don't say anything.
  • The employer expects confirmation of all claims you make in the Lebenslauf in the form of papers and other documents including:
    • copies of major educational documents
    • if you are still in school, the grades you have obtained in your degree so far
    • photocopies of brief testimonials (different from references, see Important Tips) from previous employers.
  • Give job titles of relevant previous employment and brief details of main duties - do not include low level holiday jobs in restaurants, etc.
  • You don't need to include details of interests/achievements or names of references. However, testimonials are expected, which are similar to reference letters and are described earlier.
  • Saying your marital status is optio
  • If you have studied abroad, don't forget to mention it!
  • And finally, check your whole CV again.
Now that you have written your CV you can compare it with our model of a German CV.
Or learn the rules for how to properly prepare an Internet CV.  
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