How to write your CV in German
If you want to work in a German-speaking country, then you need to have a version of your CV not only written in German, but also in the style and layout of a traditional German CV. Here is some advice from recent graduate Lloyd Bingham to help you out.
1. Open with the basics
There’s no need to write 'Lebenslauf' in big letters at the top. Everyone knows what it is. All you need is Name, Adresse, Kontaktdaten, Familienstand and Staatsangehörigkeit in a 'Persönliche Angaben' section.
German CVs tend to be accompanied by a passport-sized photo in the top-right corner, as well as including 'Geburtsdatum und –ort.'
2. Summarise your Lebenslauf
Sum yourself up and what you do in ‘Profil’ under your 'Persönliche Angaben' section. Maybe you have 'sehr gute Kenntnisse in...' or 'große Erfahrung in...'
Also mention your area of study, e.g. 'Spezialisierung auf dem deutschen Sprache und Kultur.'
Don’t just list promotional adjectives about yourself. Anyone can say they’re 'adaptable' and a 'well organised' on paper. Your CV should go on to prove who you are with your education and work experience.
3. Education, education, education
At this stage in your life, you won’t necessarily have much work experience, so emphasise your current education and relate it to how it would be useful to the post you’re applying for.
Under an 'Ausbildung' section, include your Universität and details of your studies, e.g:
09/2007-07/2011 Studium der Fremdsprachen an der Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, GB
Studiengang: Französisch, Deutsch und Spanisch
Hauptfächer: Sprache und Kultur, Deutsche Geschichte, Sprachwissenschaft
Andere Fächer: Niederländisch und Katalanisch
Also include your 'Sekundarschule' and the relevant qualifications such as 'Abitur' (A levels) and 'Mittelstufenabschluss' (GCSEs). It is usually sufficient just to list the subjects, not the grades.
4. All in a day’s work
List your 'Berufliche Erfahrung' in reverse chronological order. Whereas British CVs will use buzzwords such as communicated, led, organise and adapted, German CVs are much more to the point, as you’d expect.
For each job, note the dates, title and establishment in the first line, e.g.
10/2009-05/2010 Englischer Sprachassistent am Lycée Saint-Exupéry in Toulouse, Frankreich
...followed by a simple list of tasks carried out in your role, such as 'Führung...' or 'Organisierung...'
5. Standing out
If you have other skills that make you stand out, say so. Under 'Sonstiges', mention if you’re an 'EU-Führerscheininhaber' or if you have 'Microsoft-Office-Kenntnisse'.
Don’t forget to list and grade your 'Sprachkenntnisse', e.g.
Englisch – Muttersprache Deutsch – sehr gute Kenntnisse Walisisch – gute Kenntnisse Spanisch – Grundkenntnisse
You may want to list these in a separate section if you are studying or specialising in language. That way, you can go into greater detail about your language studies and include information about any courses you may have taken.
When you’ve Germanified your CV, send it to a native speaker or have your German teacher check it over.