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Improve Your CV for Your Career in Germany: A Comprehensive Guide

Your curriculum vitae (CV) is your professional business card. A document that represents your skills, experiences, and aspirations.

In a competitive job market as Germany, it’s crucial to continuously work on your CV and make sure it stands out from the crowd.

That is why in this blog post we will provide a comprehensive guide on enhancing your CV and becoming a better candidate to support you in the process of landing your next job in Germany.

How to improve your CV for a career in Germany

It’s important to keep in mind that in a market like Germany, recruiters get a lot of applications and have to read through many CV for every job opening.

Use the following 8 tips to stand out from the crowd. And land your dream job in Germany.

1. Craft a Compelling Profile Description

Begin your CV with a concise and compelling profile description. This brief section of no more than 3 short sentences, allows you to showcase your career objectives, key strengths, and main expertise. You can also include the amount of years of experience. 

Extra Tip: Tailor it to the specific role you’re applying for, emphasizing your enthusiasm for the industry or product/service of the company.

Example: “Marketing professional with 3+years work experience developing and executing successful digital campaigns in the finance industry. Passionate about leveraging data-driven insights to enhance brand visibility via my analytical skills. Currently looking for my next career step within an innovative and future oriented company.”

2. Highlight Key Achievements

Instead of just listing the tasks you performed at one specific job, focus on your key achievements in each role. At least one bullet point per experience should be a key achievement. Employers want to know the impact you’ve had on previous organizations while performing your responsibilities.

Extra Tip: Quantify your achievements where possible, using metrics like numbers or %-rates to demonstrate the results of your efforts.

Example: “Increased sales by 22% through the implementation of 3 targeted marketing Google Ads campaigns, resulting in a 350k revenue boost within ten months.”

3. Tailor Your CV for the Job Ad

Avoid using a one-size-fits-all approach, even if it is very tempting. Personalize your CV by aligning your skills and experiences with the specific keywords of the role. Use the exact word from the job description to ensure the recruiter can find the keywords in an easy way and fastly see you fit the job.

Extra Tip: There are many tools that help you identify keywords within a job ad. For example you can use ChatGPT. Upload the job ad and ask for the main keywords. 

Example: If the job description emphasizes project management skills, ensure that you highlight relevant projects you’ve successfully managed in your previous company. Use the tools mentioned in the ad and also keywords like “stakeholder management”, “milestone” etc. depending on what is written in the text. 

4. Showcase Your Skill Set

Create a special section in your CV to showcase your skills. If you use a two column format, it mostly will be on the left side. We recommend dividing them into Technical skills, Interpersonal skills (transferable skills like communication and teamwork) and Language Skills. This section provides a quick snapshot of your capabilities, making it easier for employers to assess your suitability for the role. And of course, these words pay into the keywords of the job ad. 

Extra Tip: We recommend to add 5-8 Technical skills, 3-5 Interpersonal skills and of course all the language skills you know. 

Example:

Technical Skills:

  • Data Analysis
  • SEO Optimization
  • Project Management
  • Microsoft Suite
  • Asana 

Interpersonal Skills:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving skills

5. Include Professional Development and Certifications

Demonstrate your commitment to professional growth by adding a section of your professional development and the certifications you have achieved. Highlight relevant courses you have performed or are still undertaking. This way you not only showcase your expertise but also indicate your interest in staying up to date within your field.

Extra Tip: Do not only add official courses. You can als add courses you took for free on LinkedIn Learning or other platforms. Make sure to only add the relevant ones for the job you apply for. 

Example: “Certified Digital Marketing Professional – HubSpot Academy, Completed Project Management Professional (PMP) Training – PMI”

6. Quantify Your Impact

Whenever possible, add metrics to the impact of your work. It can be how much the revenue increased thanks to an initiative you led, or the reduction of costs you managed to bring thanks to an idea you had. Numbers add credibility to your achievements, especially in a country like Germany.

Extra Tip: Make sure to not forget to add numbers on the size of the team you worked with or how many stakeholders you managed. These can be very interesting insights for employers.

Example: “Implemented an AI ChatBot that helped reduce customer support response time by 60%, resulting in a 25% increase in customer satisfaction scores.”

7. Utilize Action Verbs

If you want your CV to become powerful, you need to incorporate action verbs. This will help your CV convey a sense of accomplishment and dynamism. Search for synonyms to not repeat the same action verb too often and also make sure to not overuse actions verbs, as in Germany direct and simple communication is key.

Extra Tip: Use the action verbs to start each bullet point. This will help you add keywords early in the sentence. 

Example: Instead of saying “Responsible for,” use “Led” or “Managed.” ; Instead of “Assisted with,” use “Collaborated on” or “Contributed to.”

8. Seek Feedback and Proofread

Before finalizing your CV, it is important to ask for feedback. It can be from mentors, colleagues, or professional contacts. Letting someone check your CV can provide valuable insights and catch any overlooked errors. Additionally, thoroughly proofread your CV to ensure it is error-free. This is also very important in Germany.

Extra Tip: When asking for feedback also send the job ad. This way the person can make sure the CV fits the job ad you are trying to apply for.

Conclusion: How to improve your CV for Germany

A well-crafted CV is a powerful tool that opens doors to your next job in Germany. However, it will be important to update and check your CV to ensure you have a compelling personal statement and highlighting key achievements. It will also be important to tailor it for each application to ensure recruiters see you are a high fit candidate. On top, showcase your skill set, including professional development, quantifying your impact, using action verbs, and seeking feedback, will ensure your CV stands out from the crowd.

Remember, your CV is not just a static document; it’s a dynamic representation of your evolving skills and experiences. Regularly reflect on your ongoing professional growth and make sure to add it to your CV. With these strategies in place, you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream job in Germany.

Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach for international professionals in Germany.

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