If you want to apply for a job in any country in Europe, you need to take into account all the differences there are between the US and European application documents.
In the US, what you typically would send out when applying for a job is a resume. In Europe, the document you would send out to potential employers is similar to a resume, but there it is called a CV (which is not the same as the US CV format)
A popular option in Europe is using the Europass CV format.
We are here to help, in this article, we are going to answer some of the most important questions about the Europass CV:
- What is a Europass CV?
- How to write a Europass CV?
- What are the advantages of the Europass CV?
- What are the disadvantages of the Europass CV?
And once we are done, we are going to leave you off with some great writing tips, and an example of a Europass CV to get you going.
So, if you are ready to learn about Europass CV, let’s dive in.
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What is a Europass CV?
The Europass CV is a popular CV template that is often used Europe. It is the European equivalent of what we call a resume in the US.
It provides an easy way to create a CV that would be recognized all over Europe, and it also lets you create a matching cover letter for your application.
When it comes to layout & design, though, the Europass format can be lacking, since it results in VERY long CVs (resumes). It also defaults to including some unnecessary information and can look quite dated. There is more on the advantages and disadvantage of the Europass format, but let's take a look at a more modern alternative, with the same timeline layout that Europass is known for.
How to write a Europass CV?
Europass has provided a specialized website that allows you to build your standardized European CV for free, you can check it out right here.
The only thing you need to do before start using their free tool is create a profile, which should consist of your personal information, work experience, education and training, and personal skills.
But all that is not in vain, as that helps you create as many Europass CVs you want by selecting the information you want to include in each document.
To get the best out of your Europass CV, you need to do 5 things:
- Present your experience clearly – highlight examples of your skills and experiences matching the job you are applying for and pay close attention to the details published in the job offer
- Tailor your Europass CV – make sure you update the ‘About Me’ section to highlight why you are the best person for the job and focus on facts and main points that match the job you have in mind, rather than listing your full detailed history
- Make your document readable – make sure your Europass CV is easy to read, use clear and simple language, and strong verbs (e.g., managed, developed, increased)
- Use reverse chronological order – always list the most recent experience on the top, followed by previous ones. In case of long gaps in working or learning, include an explanation
- Polish and proofread – check for spelling and grammar mistakes, provide a professional e-mail address, and add a professional photograph of yourself.
Advantages and disadvantages of a Europass CV
Now that you know what a Europass CV is, and how you can write one, let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Europass CV
Even though Europass CV is widely criticized, it has some key advantages that we need to take a look at.
First, it is completely free to use, and allows you to create, store and share CVs in 29 different languages. The Europass format also allows you to create a matching cover letter for your application.
Furthermore, the format is recognized internationally among hiring managers, which means that they understand the format, structure, and layout the second they open your CV.
Last but not least, it helps you create your application documents quickly without omitting any important information, like your work experience, volunteer work, academic background, skills, etc.
However, the advantages of the Europass CV are quite limited. Other than the ones specified above, that format can be considered as an advantage only if a candidate has no time or resources to invest in a good CV, or the hiring manager is not interested in the quality or design of the document.
Disadvantages of Europass CV
Now that we know the advantages of Europass CV, let’s take a look at why is it so criticized.
The most common Europass CV disadvantages, described by many sources, are:
- Outdated CV designs
- Questionable CV builder interface
- Bugs on the website
But the biggest deal-breaker for users is usually the design, which has the following issues:
- Questionable text formatting
- Gapping white spaces that leave lots of space unused
- A way too big logo of Europass that takes up a great deal of space
- Huge spaces between bullet points and text
- Justified text that spaces words out in a weird way
- Most of the information is displayed on the left side of the page, which leaves the right one almost completely blank
Using a Europass CV can leave you at a disadvantage from other candidates, as it make your CV less memorable, so you should carefully consider using it.
However, if your potential employer requires you to send out a Europass CV, you should not hesitate to create one.
Writing tips for Europass CV
If you are determined to create your Europass CV, or your potential employer requires you to provide one, you need to get the best out of it.
That’s why you should follow a few simple writing tips to get the best results.
Make your writing compelling
The first thing you need to do with your Europass CV is really grab the hiring manager’s attention with your words.
Make sure you use strong action verbs and vivid adjectives to describe why you are the right person for the job through your qualifications, achievements, and skills.
Don’t forget to scan the job listing for any important keywords. You need to use those to both grab the hiring manager’s attention, and pass through any ATS (Applicant Tracking System) the company may be using for pre-selection.
As your design won’t help you get the job, you need to make your words do it for you.
And clichés are definitely something to avoid anywhere in your CV.
You need to make your CV sound original, so make sure you use language that hiring managers haven’t seen a thousand times before.
A great way to stand out from the crowd of candidates is showing your qualifications in a detailed manner.
Using facts and hard numbers to quantify your work-related accomplishments makes them stronger and more memorable for the hiring manager.
Consider the CV length
Just like with a US resume, you should limit your Europass CV length to a one-pager.
In this case, it would be a bit more difficult because of all the white space issues, but you can make it work by keeping your text as short as possible.
The best way to go is removing any words that cause your text to go over to a new line with a single word standing on the second line.
By trimming such words, you can effectively eliminate the white-space problem from your Europass CV and show everything you need to in just one page.
You can go for a two-pager if you think it’s better, but you need to make sure you have enough experience and skills for such a long document.
Lastly, there is still one thing you need to do, and you should never forget about it.
What you should be particularly on the lookout for are:
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- Inconsistent punctuation
- Broken website links
- Incorrect contact information
- Long or unclear sentences
If you want to be extra careful, you can always ask some family and friends to proofread it for you as well.
Example of a Europass CV
And, as promised, we are going to leave you off with an example of a Europass CV to get you going.
We are all done, now you know what a Europass CV is, and all its pros and cons.
If you have decided you need to write your Europass CV, make sure you follow all the important steps in writing one:
- Present your experience clearly, so that the focus would fall on your most relevant skills and experience
- Tailor your Europass CV to the job you are applying for, just like you would do with a standard US resume
- Make sure your document is easy-to-read, and uses clear and simple language, along with strong verbs
- Use reverse chronological order (your most recent entries come first)
- Make your writing compelling, so that you would grab the hiring manager’s attention with your words
- Avoid clichés, as they are widely disliked and the chances of your CV being remembered would sink
- Be specific and use some examples and hard numbers to quantify your work-related achievements
- Make sure your Europass CV does not exceed one page (unless you have lots of relevant work experience)
- Proofread it to eliminate any spelling and grammar errors
Take a look at our example of Europass CV, and create your own for your next job opportunity in Europe.
Make one that's truly you.