Immigrating to a new country includes numerous challenges. One of the most common aspects is job hunting. Thankfully Tali Lichtenfeld, an experienced recruiter and career coach in Germany is willing to share her 5 tips to creating a German-style resume. Before we even start I’d like to address the language issue, which many of my clients struggle with: Should I or should I not attempt to write in German?
Many try to impress the potential employer by having a local friend translate their resume. DON’T do that!
If your German is not up for an interview in German don’t send a resume in German! If you have some German skills – write it down in the language section, adding the relevant level you’ve achieved, preferably attaching the last test scores.
Germans LOVE papers 🙂
If your German is not perfect – a good application will persuade the recruiter that you possess many other skills that would benefit their company.
Transform your English resume to a “Lebenslauf”/German style resume
1. Include a Professional Photograph
A German style resume includes a small professional photo/“Bewerbungsfoto” on the right upper corner. I know this may be nothing like what we’re used to from other countries, but in Germany, they expect to see that nice photo of you greening from the corner, and any resume without it would be suspected as hiding something in the worst case or at least defiant. You don’t want either.
2. Personal Details
In Germany, they expect to find under that heading also the date, place of birth, nationality and marital status. Failing to mentioned those may result in someone contacting you to request those details for the sake of a work permit or some other bureaucratic reason.
The German recruiters expect the resume to arrive at their inbox in a specific layout, length and format, accompanied by specific documents. They’re not being mean, they’re just busy processing a lot of data. In addition, any “missing” document or data may be viewed as a problem (Germans do NOT like risks) and might lead them to discard your resume. The resume should include the following sections: ‘Personal Details,’ ‘Professional Experience,’ ‘Education and Training’, ‘Computer skills’ and ‘Language Skills.’
TIP: Don’t use too many fonts and styles, make it easy to read.
4. Facts and Figures
Keep to the facts, keep it clear, keep it modest. For example: use specific dates, starting from the most recent study and include a detailed work description. Do not try to squeeze your CV onto one page (an experienced candidate’s resume could be 2-3 pages easy). Write in length using accurate details, use numbers such as the volume of the budget you’ve worked with, the number of accounts you managed, etc.
5. Cover letter
Don’t miss out on that cover letter, as it is as important to the German recruiter as your CV itself. According to a study in 2013, 39% of HR managers in Germany rejected applications without a cover letter.
It should be no longer than one page, it should contain your motivation and interest in the specific job and company and explain why you are the right person for the job. Write it as a formal letter, addressed to the relevant recruiter(s) and bearing in mind what can you offer that makes you their dream candidate.
Have more questions about adding to your German style resume? Struggling with integrating into the German job market? Contact Tali to set your free introduction meeting and find out how coaching can support you!
Do you have any questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio and photo.