Structure, norms and rules of the most common form of the German CV
Write the first name and then the last name. This is the most common order in Germany. Don’t put a comma between first and second name. Write your name exactly as in your passport.
Write the address in Latin letters. Remember to add the postcode.
You don’t need to enter nationality. If you do, enter the citizenship.
Place the photo at the top right.
In this section set your “life milestones” with start and end dates (day accuracy is not necessary, months accuracy is enough).
In general pay attention to two things:
a) there should be no gaps in your resume!
b) all entered life milestones should be confirmed with relevant documents (certificates, testimonials, etc.)
Tip: If the gaps are too big you should prepare plausible explainations.
Here you can enter additional information about your qualification. You can list further education and relevant workshops without a strict chronology.
To determine the language level, the self-assessment is a sufficient measure. Levels: beginner – elementary – intermediate – upper intermediate – advanced – proficiency.
These six categories correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (ECFR): A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.
Russian – native speaker
English – Fluent (B2)
German – basic knowledge (A1)
Tip: find the Wikipedia article Common European Framework of Reference for Languages * It helps you with self-assessment. If you can understand some German, maybe this article will be helpful too: Test your German in 20 minutes by Goethe-Institut
Hobbies are optional in the German resume. If temptation is overwhelming, place your hobbies on the last line of this section.
Both the date and the signature are of high importance. The date confirms that the information is up to date. The signature documents the accuracy of the information. Sign the printed CV with the dark blue (not black) ink.
See also: TABU & Mistakes in GERMAN Resume
Tip: Sign the PDF of your CV. It is rare and it looks seriously.
* – synonyms: curriculum vitae, resume, Lebenslauf
Today the chronological table curriculum vitae (Tabellarischer Lebenslauf) is the most common form of the curriculum vitae in Germany. “Tabellarisch” means “in the form of a table”. But you won’t find the table there. Nevertheless, this name has become established.
In Germany, as in the USA, a curriculum vitae can be thematic or chronological. However, the structure of an American and a German curriculum vitae is different.
The chronological format is the most common in both countries. Why?
The chronological curriculum vitae can be read quickly and easily. What do you think, how does an average German HR-manager** read the received resumes?
Since the chronological curriculum vitae is easier to read, it is not advised to arrange the life periods strictly according to thematic characteristics – school, university, internship, employment, further education. Rather, arrange these stages as chronologically as possible.
There is both rising chronology and descending chronology. Rising chronology – you describe your life from school and end with today’s situation. Descending chronology is exactly the opposite.
Rising chronology has become much established. Most HR managers prefer the rising chronology due to habit. And it is well known how strongly most people hold to their habits.
Because of the convenience and popularity in Germany I personally consider the rising chronology for recommended.
There are no regulations on the length of the summary. One to three pages are normal.
Please think twice before you try to impress your employer with an endless list of your skills and experiences. Maybe you should leave only the most essential in it? You can find out what is essential according to the following principle – how strong is the correlation between theskills and experiences given in your resume and the desired job?
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