In its established form, the CV in Germany is usually set out in the form of a table. The left side indicates the time frame (month/ year to month/ year) (format: MM.YYYY – MM.YYYY), in which a particular activity (employment, study, other) has taken place. The corresponding position on the right indicates the role, institution (=company, school, university) and location. A short description of work activities or studies should also be indicated.
The order of the various activities is a matter for the applicant to decide; i.e whether to structure the CV sections chronologically or reverse chronologically. Both variants are customary in Germany. The chronological CV is particularly suited to applications from individuals with no or little previous work experience. The reverse chronological option is better suited to applicants, who have already accumulated a lot of work experience. It means that the most recent employment is listed first. Work experience dating further back in time follows on underneath. In this way, the employer can immediately recognise those areas in which the applicant has gained his most recent experience.
The CV should be completed with the utmost care and without mistakes. Avoid gaps or your CV will appear incomplete. The HR representative may even think that you are concealing something.
In addition, it is usual to indicate civil status and nationality. A reliable photograph must also be included in the application. A professional photographer is recommended for this purpose. Enclosing an unprofessional photograph with an application may cause HR to reject the application on these grounds. In the past, it was normal to affix the photograph to the top right of the CV alongside the personal data. These days, the photograph is glued to a cover sheet. The cover sheet lends a personal touch to an application, giving it greater recall value. The cover sheet should also include your contact details, personal data and the position you have applied for.
To look at, the CV should consist of no more than two sides. Start your CV with the heading “Lebenslauf” or “Curriculum Vitae”. The CV is concluded with your signature and the date.