Curriculum Vitae

The form of CV differs between countries as national customs and standards differ. The CV should be typed on standard size A4 paper in a brief and precise style. Before delivering your CV, it should be first checked by another person.

CV consists of:

  • name and surname
  • address
  • telephone number (including international code of your country)
  • date and place of birth
  • nationality
  • marital status*
  • parents' name**
  • siblings' name*
  • level of education (for foreign countries it is suggested to find out the equivalent level of education)
  • skills and expertise
  • professional skills / practical training (period and details
  • other information (hobbies, personal interests, language skills, driver licence etc.)

* For German CV only.

**Your parent's marital status, religion and profession is not needed in an English, French or Spanish CV.

General advice:

All skills and expertise that you have acquired during practical training or by professional occupation should be pointed out as long as they are relevant to the position. All other activities and skills of less importance for the job may be briefly mentioned. Include your language proficiency (possibly where acquired) and computer and administrative skills. If you have a driving licence you can include this as well. Honorary activities or membership in clubs and associations during your school and university days are of high interest for potential employers, as they give some background about your character. You should avoid writing on the reverse side of the page and labouring the point.

Letter of application

The cover letter should be as short as possible, not exceeding one page. Like the CV, it should generally be typed, but may be hand-written. If possible address it to a particular person. The letter of application should be explicit about why you are applying for a particular position, and where applicable in the particular country. The application serves to awaken interest in your person and to be invited for an interview. Of course, it is hardly possible to travel abroad for a meeting; hence, you should consider to make a telephone call.

It is good to keep a copy of your application letter as a reference for the interview. Make a note  of the person in charge so you can later refer to them. Never write about the salary expected, but rather wait for the personal interview.
Constructing a letter of application:

  • your address, place and date
  • postal address of institution or organisation
  • opening formula
  • expressing your intention ("I wish to apply for...")
  • information regarding your skills and expertise according to the context of your current situation (e.g. finished school, student, seeking a job)
  • stress steps of your career, importance according to context
  • expressing reasons of why you are applying for that particular job and why you are the suitable candidate
  • request for an interview
  • closing formula

English Speaking Countries

British CV are short and consists of two pages at most. Longer ones may just be ignored by the staff manager. What matters most is to point out your skills and expertise as concise and conclusive as possible. However, it is the practise to begin with the personal data.  Certificates, references, photo, date and signature do not belong to the CV.

Generally, an English tabulated CV contains the following sections:

  • personal details
  • education or educational background
  • work experience (special skills/hobbies)

Letter of application:

The letter of application should have a date at the top left hand corner (it is not necessary to give the place). The date may be put in either as "14 April 2004" or "14th April 2004"; and remember: 1st , 2nd, 3rd, 4th. If you have already met somebody of the institution or association or if the actual name of the person is known to you, you should write "Dear Mr Smith" or "Dear Mrs Wilson". Otherwise, your letter might be ignored. If there is no actual name known to you, you should open your letter with "Dear Sir or Madam". A reference line (e.g. "Re: job application") should be placed between the opening formula and the text. Your letter should come straight to the point.  The closing formula would be "Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully", (note the comma) and then your name.

French-speaking countries

Headings are underlined or typed in capitals to attract attention. In section "Fiche d'identité" the surname (typed in capitals) is before first name. Date of birth is given with the month written in words (2 avril 1985). If you have  previous experience with practical training or work you should give details such as duration, place, name of the firm or institution as well as your tasks and functions. Language skills in reading, speaking, and writing are to be categorized as proficient, good and basic (bilingue, courant, bonne maîtrise, notions). If you have previously attended language course holidays you may give the duration, place and teaching institution. Foreign applicants should have a good knowledge of the French language to have a chance. Information under "Divers" or "Hobbies" are important to the employer to better asses the applicant, his social attitude and ability to work in a team. For the same reason travel activities should be mentioned. A photograph of yourself is not necessary.

Generally, a French tabulated CV contains the following sections:

  • Fiche d`identité (Personal Details)
  • Formation (Education and Educational Background)
  • Expérience (Work Experience)
  • Divers ou Hobbies (Special Skills/ Hobbies)

Letter of application:

In the top left corner of your letter, give your name and postal address, telephone number and preferably the best hours to contact you. On the right you write the date and below the name, postal address of the institution you wish to apply with and - if applicable – care of ("à l'attention de Monsieur Y or Madame Z". If you are writing to the holder of a particular post or if you know a person by name, you should begin with "Monsieur le Directeur du personell" or "Monsieur Z" or "Madame Y", otherwise the opening formula is "Messieurs,". To close your letter you may use one of the following formulations:

  • "Recevez, Monsieur/Madame, mes salutations distinguées"
  • "Je vous prie de croire, Monsieur/Madame, à l'assurance de mes sentiments distinguées"
  • "Je vous prie d'agréer, Madame/Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs."

Spanish-speaking countries

Spanish CV is usually short, consists of one page. Only some CVs are given in great details. In addition to your name, address and phone number, add your ID number given in Spain. The CV should have your signature and date. There is interest in Spain as in France to know about the applicants memberships in clubs and societies. Hobbies and spare-time activities are given to make a feasible assessment of your personality. Under section "Formación" you may mention travels abroad and regular activities. Language skills like reading, comprehension, speaking, writing are rated "very good", "good" and "basic" (leer, entender, escribir, hablar, muy bien, bien, regular). You may add your photo.

The CV contains the following sections:

  • Datos personales (Personal Details)
  • Estudios / Formación (Education and Qualifications)
  • Experiencia (Work Experience)
  • Idiomas (Language Skills)
  • Informes (Additional Information)