The CV - advice on structure and more
Your professional history or curriculum vitae (CV) is the most important part of your application documents. It will give the most information about your development and your motivation. That is why the CV is often read first. Its content and layout will decisively influence whether the rest of the application is even looked at. It is up to you to interest the reader in your experience and skills.
Theoretically you can use the same CV for all your applications. Sometimes however it is advisable to adapt the CV to the relevant role and to emphasise particularly important skills. Your CV should be relatively short and give sufficient information on the most important career milestones. But take care not to make any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
3 Structuring tips for your CV
- Write your CV in a table form
- Use a clear and easily legible font or pitch
- Write briefly and concisely, but still including details
The correct structure of the CV
- Personal details: Name, address, telephone number, email address and date of birth. Details regarding parents or religious affiliation are seen as old-fashioned.
- Education: List your educational stages in chronological order, starting with the most recent education. Give the name and location of the school or university, subject or school type as well as beginning and end of your education. For academic education you can also include information on graduation papers (for example Masters thesis or dissertation topic).
- Work experience: Here you should list your career development so far, including the name of the company, date and duration of your employment. You should also briefly summarise your responsibilities in the role.
- Particular skills: Set yourself apart from the potential competition. This includes special language skills, expert knowledge beyond your education or so-called "soft skills", such as public speaking skills.
- Additional commitments: Do you volunteer in your leisure time, for example as the chairman of an association, pupil representative or working for a student organisation? Then you should definitely include that that in your CV.
What has no place in your CV?
Your IQ (if you have done a test), salary expectations or similar do not belong in a CV. Courses should also only be mentioned if they are relevant to the advertised role. Do you have any gaps in your employment history? If for example you completed your school education in June 1998 and only began your studies in March 1999, you should be able to give a reason for that. You should also be able to explain shorter gaps (around three to four months).