How to Perfect Your German CV

Making the decision to live in another country can be daunting. I know all about the pressure of finding a job, living accommodations, learning the ropes of the differences in day-to-day life all present a bit of a challenge. The rewards, however, are numerous and you’re sure to have an experience you’ll never forget.

If you’re jumping aboard a plane to another country, one thing you’ll want to have in order is your CV. In most places a job won’t fall into your lap, you’ll need to work for it; so prepare yourself adequately your new life in Germany by making that CV stand out.

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1. To start with, you should always include a cover sheet with your name, address, phone number and email at the top right-hand side; while your place of birth, age, nationality and marital status should go at the bottom right.

2. Everybody that wants a job is expected to attach a photo, it’s unlikely to get very far without one. It should be from the shoulders up, with a nice smile, nothing too over the top, be professional. This should go at the top right-hand corner of the first page of the CV.

3. The correct name for the ‘CV’ in Germany is ‘Lebenslauf,’ and as such, it should be placed at the top of the first page. Nothing too big, though. It shouldn’t take up too much space.

4. Start getting into the details with a short profile. You should include a brief history, what type of job you’re looking for, your goals for the future and why you’d work well with the particular company.

5. Next comes the experience section — ‘Berufliche Erfahrung,’ which should be in reverse chronological order. Include the job title, dates (including the months), and the establishment within the first line of each inclusion; follow that with a simple list of tasks you carried out in your role.

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6. The education section should include anything that’s relevant to the job and is labelled ‘Ausbildung.’ Include the university name and course/s, it can be useful to list the subjects too if they are relevant, although grades are not normally expected.

7. Lastly, you can include a section titled ‘Sonstiges,’ use it to list other skills that help to make you stand out. This can include extracurricular activities, proficiencies you have with relevant software programs, personal skills and importantly any other languages you speak.

With a great Lebenslauf you should be well on your way to securing a great job in a great country. One last tip, depending on your level of the German language, you should write everything in German; it will greatly help your chances if you can show your abilities in the local language. Need some help? Send us an inquiry to find out how you can get your German up to scratch and take our free online German level test to quiz yourself!