A well-crafted resume is necessary if you are considering applying for jobs in Germany or working in a German-speaking environment. Even though the concept of resumes may be universal, there are still significant regional variations in how we should write resumes to best suit local hiring practices. So, how do you create a resume that will impress German employers and stand out from the competition?
In this article, we will walk you through each step of creating a resume for Germany. We will go over everything, including how to style your resume and include the appropriate sections and comprehend the German labor market. So sit back, and start crafting a winning resume that will catch the attention of German employers!
What Is a German Resume Format?
The German resume format, also known as the "Lebenslauf," typically follows a standardized structure that includes personal information, professional experience, education and training, skills, and other optional sections like volunteer experience and hobbies.
German employers often prefer a chronological listing of work experience and education, emphasizing the applicant's qualifications and accomplishments that align with the job qualifications they are seeking. Formal language and style are also important in a German resume, reflecting the applicant's attention to detail and professionalism.
What Sections To Include in Your Resume
We will review the crucial components of a German resume and offer hints on how to arrange them well. By adhering to these recommendations, you can write a clear, concise summary that shows your abilities and work history and persuasively pitches you to potential employers.
1. Personal Information (Persönliche Angaben)
You will have to list your details. This section is essential to your resume as it provides the employer with information about who you are and how to contact you. Ensure to include the following:
- First and last name: Usually, Germans have one first name and one last name. However, for those with longer names (such as having two first and two last names), using the name you prefer to be called by and your last name on your German resume is recommended. It can help ensure clarity for the employer on which name to use.
- Date (Geboren): Written DD/MM/YYYY.
- Nationality (Staatsangehörigkeit): This can help the employer understand whether they need to provide you with a work visa.
- Marital status (Familienstand): This information is optional and often considered outdated. However, some employers may still request it.
- Contact Details: Include your Phone Number (Telefonnummer), Address (Adresse), Email (Mail), and Online profile, e.g., Linkedin. Ensure your email address is professional and appropriate for job applications.
- Passport size photo
When creating your Personal Information section in a German resume, keeping it concise and pertinent to the position you seek is crucial. Avoid including irrelevant personal details such as your social security number or religious beliefs. Please stick to the essential information and ensure it is accurate and current.
2. Professional Experience (Persönliche Erfahrung)
The Professional Experience section is crucial for highlighting your employment experience and showcasing your relevant qualifications. In your German resume format, each previous role must be listed separately, with dates of employment in the left-hand column and corresponding details on the right-hand side. These details typically include the following:
- List of prior positions ordered chronologically.
- Include the job title, company name and location, employment dates, and a brief description of the duties and accomplishments of every position you mentioned.
- Highlight relevant work experience that matches the job requirements.
- Maximum 3-5 bullet points detailing each position. Start each bullet point with an action verb and quantify your achievements whenever possible.
- If you have gaps in your employment history, explain them briefly and honestly.
Suppose you have any volunteer or internship experience. In that case, it is more typical for German resumes to list that information in the same section as other paid work experience, provided it is relevant to the position. It would help to organize these responsibilities into your career timeline, showing when and where you assumed them.
3. Education and Training (Schul-und Berufsbildung)
Depending on your needs and profile, you can put this section before or after the work experience section. If you are a student or new to the job market, having a solid academic background at the beginning of your German resume might impress the hiring manager more than listing only your work history.
This section should be organized chronologically, with your most recent education or training listed first. Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating your Education and Training section:
- Include the institution's name, the certification or degree you earned in your study area, and the dates you attended.
- If you have multiple degrees or certifications, list them in reverse chronological order.
- If you are a new graduate with little professional experience, consider going into more detail about your schooling and academic accomplishments.
- Include them separately under the "Professional Development" or "Additional Skills" sections if you have proper training or certifications not affiliated with a particular academic institution, such as language courses or certifications specific to your sector.
- Incorporate solely the educational details pertinent to the position you seek. For example, if you have a degree in a field unrelated to the job, including all the components may be optional.
- If you have not completed a degree or certification program, indicate your current status (e.g., "in progress" or "anticipated graduation date").
While producing a German resume, you should illustrate the equivalents for your credentials and grades if you decide to include them. This is because different educational systems exist in other parts of the world.
Additionally, German hiring managers will understand if you have attended a school using the International Baccalaureate (IB) grade system.
As you proceed to higher education, German universities are divided into multiple sectors, and the applicable one will be based on your specialization.
University or College (Universität)
Teacher College (Pädagogische Hochschule )
Art of College (Kunsthochschule)
Institute of Technology (Fachhochschule)
Training Center (Administration Fachhochschule)
Applicants must frequently submit official certificate translations for their German employment applications.
4. Skills (Fähigkeiten)
Making your German resume stand out may seem challenging because recruiters typically want only factual information rather than persuasive arguments. However, adding a skills section to your resume could help catch the hiring manager's attention without appearing boastful.
To do this, use bullet points to list a mix of soft and hard skills related to the vacancy or sector you're interested in.
- List of relevant technical, language (also the proficiency level), and soft skills
- Highlight skills that match the job requirements
- Driver’s license: If a job requires you to drive the company car for events or other purposes, it is important to include your driver's license and specify what type of vehicle you are qualified to drive.
Additionally, include any important accomplishments or certifications.
5. Volunteer Experience (optional)
The volunteer Experience section is optional but can be a great way to showcase your skills and dedication outside of paid work. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Include any volunteer work or community service you have participated in, especially if it relates to the position you are applying for.
- Describe your role in the organization and your responsibilities.
- Highlight any leadership positions you held or any accomplishments you achieved.
- Be sure to include the dates of your volunteer work and the organization's name.
Volunteer work can be a useful addition to your German resume and show your character, work ethic, and dedication to improving your town.
6. Hobbies and Interests (optional)
Feel free to provide any interests or hobbies relevant to the role in this optional section. Note that Germans enjoy facts, so if you include this section, keep it succinct and to the point. Here are some key points:
- Keep this part brief and concentrate on accomplishments that speak well of you and may apply to the position or field you seek.
- Avoid mentioning political or controversial interests because this could hurt your hiring chances.
- Provide examples of your innovation, leadership, teamwork, or dedication in your actions.
- Sports or physical activities demonstrating discipline, tenacity, or a competitive spirit can be considered.
- Do not add pastimes seen as frivolous or time wasters, such as watching TV or playing video games.
Just briefly mention hobbies and interests that showcase relevant skills or achievements. Avoid including irrelevant hobbies or interests.
7. References (optional)
A references section is optional and may not be necessary to include in your CV. Have the following in mind:
- Only include references if specifically requested by the employer or job posting.
- If you do decide to provide references, be sure first to get their approval and let them know what position you are looking for.
- List your references in a separate document rather than directly in your resume.
- Include each reference's name, title, company, phone number, and email address.
- Consider including testimonials from former managers or coworkers who can attest to your professional background.
Remember to include the References section only if specifically requested, as it is not always necessary. Be sure to obtain permission from your references and provide their contact information in a separate document.
Look at Examples of German Resumes
German resumes can be a helpful way to better understand the format and style expectations. Look at the example of a German resume below: