The Resume

The resume (curriculum vitae) is an integral part of your application. It should be clear, truthful and up to date. Your CV should provide an overview of your previous education and work experience and be woven around a common theme leading to the desired first-job position.

How recruiters read a resume

In the recruitment process, employers generally do not have much time to screen all the documents they receive. They usually start by just skimming over CVs in a few minutes to filter out the interesting applications. This first screening is made specifically on the basis of key words, which are important for the position advertised.

Once your application has been shortlisted, it will be read more closely. Your skills and experience will now be thoroughly reflected upon, then a link between your motivation and your personality will be established.

Recruiters immediately spot a “one-size-fits-all” resume, mailed for all applications. It is very important that you to write a specific resume that especially highlights the points of your past experience, which match the position you are applying for and makes clear how suitable you are.

Proceed Strategically

In order to find the meaningful orientation that your resume should take, in a first step, it is important to ask yourself “which are the 4 to 5 main requirements of the advertised position?” Using these aspects as an orientation, you should consider which professional knowledge and transferable skills you bring in. From this, you can develop a thread, on which you can orient your resume.

It is important that you demonstrate your expertise and skills based on concrete examples. The examples you provide do not have to relate only to internships or studies. You can also point out to your activities in student jobs and experience in volunteer activities or participation in student initiatives.

  • Layout and scope
  • Content

Layout and scope

  • Usually, the resume is written in a tabular form to provide a rapid overview of your past experience.
  • Your professional and practical experience should be presented in a clear and concise form, not losing sight of concrete aspects.
  • The timeline is usually in the left margin.
  • The curriculum vitae should fit on no more than two pages. If you have extensive professional experience, it can also be three pages long.
  • Meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxon reverse-chronological presentation has become the accepted form. The most recent and relevant data are positioned at the beginning, which makes them easier to see at a glance.
  • The overall layout should be both efficient and appealing.


  • Personal Information: Contact details should include your full name, address, telephone number and e-mail address and should be indicated on every page of your resume. Information about yourself include date and place of birth, as well as citizenship. Indicate the number of children you have and you may also want to add that their care is guaranteed.
  • Picture: Following the coming into force of the German Equal Opportunities’ Act (AGG -- Gleichbehandlungsgesetz) 2006, you are no longer required to include a portrait photo in the job application documents. However, recruiters are happy to see a picture of the applicant. A high-quality application photo sends a signal to the viewer about the seriousness of the application and should convey a positive image.
  • Education: This section should contain information on the studies, the training and the school-leaving certificates obtained, starting with the current one. You can choose a sequence: duration of studies and type of degree, name and place of the institution. If necessary, add grades and the title of these or final projects. You can also focus on the training you received.
  • Practical Experience ("professional experience"): This is where, next to naming the previous experience position(s) held and the name of employer, you should also briefly indicate -if applicable- the department and place where you fulfilled your main tasks and responsibilities, citing the exact employment dates.
  • International Experience: This section is especially important if foreign experience is required. It can include a semester abroad, internships, language courses or foreign-based activities.
  • Language skills: Specify your language skills according to language levels (that is to say: A2, C1 ....) or by self-assessment (basic knowledge, good skills, fluent in written and spoken, fluent, mother tongue).
  • IT Skills: Under this heading, you can indicate, for example, knowledge of word-processing, presentation programs, spreadsheets, image processing, hardware etc.… Again, you should perform a self-assessment (basic, good or very good knowledge)
  • Scholarships / Awards / Prizes: Mention the awards, which you have received. This will show that you are performance-oriented.
  • Social Commitment: With volunteer activities, you demonstrate social responsibility and awareness, as well as professional action competence.
  • Voluntary Work: Voluntary Services, such as the Voluntary Year, civil or military services are an integral part of the curriculum vitae. This demonstrates, among other things, that you possess social skills or that you have a connection with the position you are applying for.
  • Interests / hobbies: Under this heading, you should indicate, in a style as versatile as possible, a maximum of four points that represent your interests. If you play in a team, you emphasize your team spirit.
  • Place, date and signature: The CV is a personal document. With your current handwritten signature, you warrant that your information is correct.