- an opening that tells why and for which position you are applying
- a body section selling the candidate and why they are a good match for the job
- a closing that requests interview and motivates action from the employer
Willkommen im Career Service International!
Du interessierst dich für eine internationale Karriere und hast noch nie oder selten eine englische Bewerbung geschrieben?
Hier findest du alle wichtigen Tipps, die du bei deiner Bewerbung auf Englisch beachten solltest!*
*Da dein Englisch mind. B2, besser C1 für den internationalen Arbeitsmarkt haben sollte, sind alle weiteren Infos direkt auf Englisch. So kommst du direkt ins Englisch denken!
Job Applications: Writing Resumes
General Tips for English Applications
“A resume is a document used by job seekers to help provide a summary of their skills, abilities and accomplishments.”
When writing a Resume (US) or a CV (GB/AUST) in English is it IMPORTANT to NOT just translate your German “Lebenslauf”. Cultural differences, company practices, and even legal requirements mean that a resume in English is just different from a German one. Here are the top 12 Tips for English resumes:
Make your name stands out, not the word resume or cv. In fact, leave the word “Resume” OFF of your application. The biggest word on the page needs to be YOUR NAME. If someone has your file open on a computer, your name should “pop” off the page.
Find a unique “touch” for your design and stay consistent. Make sure that your resume (cv) and cover letter match in design.
If you are just starting out your career and are under 30, stick to one page! 2 is only allowed in exceptional cases. Never use 1 ½ pages, it is not considered nice design. White spaces should be equally distributed. If you are young, it can be seen as “arrogant” if you already have 2 pages. You can find really nice and easy design tips for making a beautiful layout out if you use the free program Canva.
The most interesting part of an English resume is the DESCRIPTION of jobs and experiences using ACTIVE VERBS of the tasks and responsibilities you have had in previous jobs, studies and organizations. Do not just write the title of the position without active verbs, no one will know what you actually did! Change the verbs in each entry. (See active verb list!). Use at least 3 verbs for each job.
Leave out: Photo, date & place of birth, family info (no married/ no kids / no parents info, school before high school, hobbies unless related to company, today’s date, signature).
Make your content as EASY to understand for others as possible: Consider including either an Objective or Summary at the top: Objective: what your employment goals are with the company you’re applying to OR Summary: quick recap of your skills and experiences that highlight your value to the job (1-2 sentence). In USA definitely include, in Europe it’s good if you are applying for a job that was not listed.
Make sure that you also make it EASY to read the things you have done by making HYPERLINKS to 1. your Linkedin page (yes you need one even as a student!) 2. the places you have studied and worked.
Make the resume is tailored to the job with key words that fit the description. You should use the words in the application, but also be able to use synonyms of your own in addition.
Make sure not to forget key, rather obvious information (For example: You speak German) or use the EXACT words they need, in case the resumes are automatically read by a computer.
Add country codes to phone numbers (+49) and add the country, not just the city.
Find the appropriate translation or explanation of educational information so that international people understand. Also use the word “Abitur” when describing it. Sites to help translate: https://www.bildungsserver.de/glossar.html also see: https://www.karriereakademie.de/deutscher-schulabschluss-im-englischen-lebenslauf
Decide if a chronological, a functional, or a combination format works best for you. Most often it is best to use the chronological. Functional is only to be used in exceptional cases, where many jobs had the same tasks. Chronological means starting with NOW and going backwards!
Comparison Chart: German applications vs American / English / Australian applications
American Resumes / English CVs / Australia
of job titles
describing job responsibilities and achievements. Use different verbs for each description!
Date of /Place of birth
Always include professional (business attire) photo
Never include for US/UK/Australia – but it is possible to add if applying in English to other European countries. (Check what the normal practice is in the country you are applying to. If it is an American company, leave it OUT!)
(In USA a picture can mean you don’t get an interview!)
Flexible 1-2 or even 3
Keep it to 1 page if you are a student or recent graduate, unless it really need to be 2, but then use 2 – not 1 ½.
Information about Education
Include schools education starting in 5th grade
Limit to higher education. Only include apprenticeship job training (Ausbildung) and university. (For England and the rest of Europe include Abitur information)
Titles and Company names
Verbs and concrete results
Top of Page
Often needs to follow a certain standard – keep it authentic to your personality and the job.
Is allowed to be creative, also keep it authentic to your personality.
Use numbers for months
Use words for months- often abbreviated
Dated and Signed
Date on the Cover letter ONLY
Day then month then year
12. März 2021
Month then day then year
March 12, 2021
Order of information
Often position then institution
Always institution/company then position – Biggest thing is company – then position – then responsibilities
(US only) Standard letter size – wider and shorter than A4
Many pages of certificates, references, letters of recommendation, documentation about experience
Only cover letter and resume/cv – if they want more, they will ask for it
Organizations you have been with (school/work) and responsibilities (WHAT)
HOW you as the applicant performed – specific skills using verbs.
LÜCKENLOS (no gaps)
It is ok to have gaps, just prepare the resume well so they aren’t as noticeable.
Start with Capital letters – (nouns are capitalized)
Start with capital letters (is seen as the beginning of the sentence)
Should you include a photo on your CV?
Job Applications: Writing Cover Letters
Tips Writing Cover Letters for CVs/Resumes:
Know who you are writing to, do your homework.
Make sure your format matches the resume format.
Make sure that your phone number includes the country code (+49) and that you write the date in the common American & GB format (May 12, 2021)
Choose either British or American English: Organised (GB) Organized (USA) Colour (GB) Color (USA).
A cover letter should contain 3 parts:
After the line with the salutation, start the first sentence with a CAPITAL LETTER.
- Dear Mr. Smith,
- The position of…
Show interest in their company or something that they are doing.
Show how your background will benefit the company.
Describe your strong points in relation to their needs.
Choose your strongest qualification and show how they fit the targeted job. (In other words, not I have done x,y, and z… but: Experience in x,y, and z, have taught me the skills required for this position.)
Students with little experience can stress how their courses have taught them practical applications of what they have learned.
You can also include your personal traits; say how you acquired them, and how you would apply them. (After working in a home for the elderly for a social year, I acquired the patience needed to be a comforting technical support person for customers over 60 at Apple.)
Refer them to your resume for more information on something specific.