Jaroslav Plotnikov

IT Work in Germany: TABU & Mistakes in GERMAN Resume

Which details are not allowed in German job application

Picture: http://studiberatung.com

 

It seems a little strange to me that in Germany, a country of rules and regulations, there is less tabu for an job application than in America, which is considered a country of freedom. Perhaps this is the reason why foreign job seekers in the German IT industry often combine their American and German resume formats, in order to meet the expectations of German HR managers.  

In this article you will learn the regulations and unwritten rules of writing an job application. Being well-informed, you can break these rules more effectively ?

 

What doesn’t belong in a German CV

In the past, this information belonged in every CV. Today they are no longer usual. So don’t mention this:

Amateur photos in CV is TABU

It is also considered rather tasteless to place the Smartphone pictures, group pictures and pictures with a low resolution in a CV.

Gaps in the curriculum vitae is TABU

Time gaps are not permitted in German CVs.

Gaps in the CV make HR manager uncertain. And this uncertainty triggers an unpleasant feeling in a German HR manager. The first reaction – to put aside your “unpleasant resume” to take a closer look later. And guess what happens to the “uncomfortable” documents that are put aside? 🙂
So help the personnel manager to avoid this unpleasant feeling and fill or explain the gaps.

The periods of life without professional activity should be filled with something. An experienced personnel manager will quickly discover them anyway. And suspect something worse.

So fill the gaps with whatever, e.g. volunteer projects. Even “help in my private circle of friends in creating and optimizing web pages” or “self-study in the following disciplines / courses…” significantly better than idle times that last longer than a month.

Another extreme is a straight CV without downtimes, illness and unemployment. Everyone knows that a continuous work with smooth transitions between workplaces is hardly possible within many years. An excessively straight-lined resume looks  more suspicious than one that reflects life as it is – with phases of recovery, unproductive times and one or two changes of life direction.

Gaps that are larger than half a year require a short commentary on the CV.

For those gaps which cannot be “closed”, prepare a plausible explanation in advance. Expect to be asked about them in the interview.

Consider the following questions about each gap: What is behind this time gap? Unemployment? Illness? Phases of reorientation? Vacation?

 

Some Tabu in a German letter of application?

Avoid common phrases

” Herewith I apply…” Standardized formulations are TABU.

Question: How can I use standard formulations if my German / English is just advanced (and I don’t have the level of a native speaker)?

Answer: a HR manager understands that you have learned English as an adult by reading the textbooks. So show a rational amount of creativity, look for the “golden middle”:

  • show no creativity in structuring CV and cover letter,
  • show some creativity in the formulations of your application,
  • show particular creativity in the “message” of your application – what your skills and personal qualities can give the company, what the company gains through your employment – in the first three months and in the near future.

Several-page cover letter is TABU

The cover letter must be a maximum of one page. Best case: 200-300 words.

Mistakes and typing errors are TABU

For German applicants, mistakes are generally unacceptable. IT professionals outside of Germany fortunately have the so-called foreigner bonus (Ausländerbonus) – the HR staff close their eyes to orthographic and grammatical errors.

However, the foreigner bonus does not excuse you from the ruthless search for neglect errors and typing errors, such as:

  • the correct spelling. Wrong: Opencart / Github / Genkey group Co. Correct: OpenCart / GitHub / GenKey Group Co.
  • within a letter, the same word should always be written in the same way. Correct form like “GenKey Group Co” is always to be written in the same way and not as “Genkey” or “GenKey group Co”.

More examples are given in the article The check list for your CV

Recommendation: for maximum optimization of your application, hire a professional editor. It will cost you 10-30$, and it’s worth it! Such editors can be found on upwork.com or just write me an email:info@yarve.com

 

What doesn’t belong in a German CV

In the past, this information belonged in every CV. Today they are no longer usual. So don’t mention this:

Amateur photos in CV is TABU

It is also considered rather tasteless to place the Smartphone pictures, group pictures and pictures with a low resolution in a CV.

Gaps in the curriculum vitae is TABU

Time gaps are not permitted in German CVs.

The periods of life without professional activity should be filled with something. An experienced personnel manager will quickly discover them anyway. And suspect something worse.

So fill the gaps with whatever, e.g. volunteer projects. Even “help in my private circle of friends in creating and optimizing web pages” or “self-study in the following disciplines / courses…” significantly better than idle times that last longer than a month.

Another extreme is a straight CV without downtimes, illness and unemployment. Everyone knows that a continuous work with smooth transitions between workplaces is hardly possible within many years. An excessively straight-lined resume looks  more suspicious than one that reflects life as it is – with phases of recovery, unproductive times and one or two changes of life direction.

Gaps that are larger than half a year require a short commentary on the CV.

For those gaps which cannot be “closed”, prepare a plausible explanation in advance. Expect to be asked about them in the interview.

Consider the following questions about each gap: What is behind this time gap? Unemployment? Illness? Phases of reorientation? Vacation?

 

 

* – in Germany after primary school (Grundschule) there are four ways of further education – Gesamtschule, Gymnasium, Realschule, Hauptschule (see Wikipedia article “Education in Germany”)

Sources: Duden Ratgeber, Handbuch Bewerbung, 2012 Duden.Neuhaus, Karsta und Dirk. Bewerben und Arbeiten in den USA und Kanada.ILT-Europa Verlag 2009.


© 2018 Jaroslav Plotnikov ( All articles )

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  • 1. Gaga (27-07-2018)

    Thanks your article is very helpful.

    Reply