Curriculum Vitae

Unfortunately, there is no one perfect formula for creating a CV.

CV templates should only be used to get a feel for the structure and the layout of a CV. Copy & Paste is not very helpful in this case as most HR departments know these books quite well.

Your personal qualification profile should be the deciding factor on how your CV is structured. Pre-designed examples can never compete with an authentic CV and they fail to establish a desired connection to the position and company.
Fitting your CV to the job
Mentioning Foreign Language Skills
Student Jobs and Work Experience

For further assistance we offer to look over your job application documents.



Fitting Your CV to the Job

Not only should your Letter of Motivation be customized for the job, your CV should also reflect the position for which you are applying.
Possible Customizations:

•    More or less information under the University section? Important exams, research papers, grades, special projects should be mentioned or left out?
•    Which areas of focus should be mentioned in your studies
•    Concrete responsibilities in student assistant jobs, part-time positions, or internships should be included or not? When yes, how detailed should the list be and which order and key words should be used?
•    Emphasize certain language skills or not?
•    Special computer skills should be emphasized or not? Only mention the computer programs or software that you are especially good in using or mention them all?
•    Listing volunteer work? If yes, then how detailed and important to make the list?
•    When more than one stay abroad is in the CV, do you give them a separate section? Should they have their own section or should they be put in with work experience or studies?

Customizing your CV to fit the job requirements

Not only should your cover letter be customized to fit the needs listed in the job advertisement, your CV should also be adjusted as well.
Possible Changes:
•    Lengthen or shorten the university section? Should I include or leave out my midterms, grades, special projects completed?
•    What concentrations should I mention in my studies?
•    Do I list concrete tasks in student jobs, part-time positions or internships? If yes, how in-detail should it be and with how many points and in what order?
•    Should I mention special language skills or are they not so important?
•    Should I push certain computer skills to the forefront? Do I mention the individual skill levels of each program or do I just list the skills?
•    What about volunteer work? If I mention it, how in detail?
•    If I was often abroad, do I mention that in its own section or does it get sorted in with the domestic counterparts?

[Translate to english:] Tipps zur Darstellung von...

Mentioning Foreign Language Skills

There is no real set standard when speaking about foreign language skills when writing a CV. The following key works are commonly used and can be used to help you in classifying your skills accordingly.

Basic … is the level you have when you have completed a language course or had 2-3 years of a language in school.

Intermediate … is the level used with more than three years of experience in school.  

Advanced … is for when you use a language actively both inside and outside of school. If you are able to use the language for conversations over E-mail, telephone calls, and general workplace communication then this is the appropriate level to use.

Fluent … means that you speak the language at a near native level and all forms of communication in both the workplace and at university are able to be delivered in the foreign language.

Caution: Be careful when writing fluent. Sometimes, the language can suddenly change during your interview to the language you put down as fluent. A test to show what you got!
Native speaker…. is used when you have the language skills of a native speaker of the language. If you grew up in the country, speak the language daily and it is the language you are strongest. If you speak more than one language as a native speaker, you can have two native languages.

Tipp: Immigrants should put the language they speak best as the their native language. If they speak both at roughly the same level then a native language level for both is acceptable.
Native Speaker is the highest level in the list.


What do you attach to you CV?
•    University degrees and certificates
•    Grades and courses transcript if you have not graduated yet
•    Job and internship certificates
•    High School diploma

Work examples, language or computer certificates, certificates from training courses, and prizes belong in the attachments as well but only if you believe that they are relevant for the position you are applying for. This is different from job to job, so exercise caution in what you attach, it is better to attach less and offer to send additional documents than to attach too many.
References are uncommon in Germany, but if you are applying in Germany, you can also include them in the attachment.
For “Mini-“ or short CV’s just include the most important documents.

What do I not include in the attachments?
You do not have to present all documents that you mentioned in you CV! Applications usually contain too many certificates rather than too few.
Course certificates or those from workshops do not belong in the attachments, especially if they were short.
Copies of contracts, presentations, research papers, and other similar documents also do not belong in the attachments unless stated otherwise.
Original or certified copies also do not belong in applications. Only use scanned copies.

How do I create an attachment?
The attachments should be organized by a scale of importance.

With an online application, put all the attachments in one PDF document. Pay attention to the maximum size allowed (3MB) so that the file will not be too large.
When you wish to send only a few certificates (less than 5), you can simply attach these in the same document following your CV. This is also the case for online applications. When you have more than around 5, please create a table of contents.

Tips for creating an appendix for attachments:
•    You can use your personalized letterhead here
•    The individual attachments can be listed with keywords
•    Try to organize them according to their importance and general theme
•    Describe the attachments so that the description tells the reader exactly what kind of document is to be expected.
•    Do not attach transcripts you printed yourself, get them from the university
•    Sometimes certain certificates can be over 5 pages. Attached only the relevant pages