Mastering the Art of Writing a CV in German
Written by Mike Potter, Author • Last updated on 18 June 2024

Mastering the Art of Writing a CV in German: A Complete Guide

Germany is an attractive place to live and work, owing to its high average income, quality of life and reputation for excellence in various industries. If you’re considering moving to Germany for work, you’ll need to produce a CV in German. The German CV contains much of the same information as a UK CV, but there are some key differences. In this article, we provide a complete guide to writing a CV for jobs in Germany.

Understanding the German CV

The German word for CV is ‘lebenslauf’. This is a direct translation of the Latin ‘curriculum vitae’, with both terms meaning ‘course of life’. German CVs tend to be relatively short, concise, factual documents. German employers generally prefer you to outline your relevant skills and experience in a straightforward, direct manner. This means you don’t need to oversell your achievements or use forceful verbs and adjectives to prove your worth.

German CVs contain similar details to CVs in the UK, USA, and other Western countries, but there are some differences. Aside from the length and factual nature of the German CV, the document tends to include a few more personal details than in other countries. There’s also less emphasis on personal statements and CV summaries, where you ‘sell yourself’ to the employer. You can do more of this in your cover letter, but generally, German employers prefer the facts to speak for themselves. As such, your CV for Germany should be a concise, formal, and fact-based document.

Structure of a CV in German

The structure of a German CV is similar to a UK CV, but the content and tone is more factual and avoids commentary or opinion. Most of the sections of a CV for Germany appear in CVs for other countries, so if you’re used to writing a CV for jobs in the UK, the structure will be familiar to you. German employers tend to favour structured, formal documents, so it’s important to write your CV with this in mind.

The key sections to include in your German CV are as follows:

Personal information

For German job applications, your header with personal information should be more detailed than the typical UK CV. German employers tend to prefer candidates to include the following details:

  • Full name
  • Contact information (address, phone number, email address)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • Driving licence
  • Photo (passport size)

Work experience

The key section of your CV for Germany is the work experience section. Similar to the UK, you should include any relevant roles in reverse-chronological order, detailing your job title, employer, location and the dates you worked there. Follow this with a brief summary of your responsibilities and achievements in the role. You could include this in a short paragraph or as bullet points, but remember to be results-focused. Quantify your achievements by adding figures and evidence that show your impact.


List your highest and most relevant qualifications in this section. In Germany and other countries in the region, your educational achievements can often carry more weight than they do in the UK, so mention anything relevant that’s helped you to gain the skills required for the role.


Like CVs in many other countries, it’s normal to add a list of your skills for job applications in Germany. Study the job description and tailor your skills list to the requirements of the role, including a mix of hard and soft skills.

Other sections to consider for a German CV

Some other sections you might consider adding to your German CV are:

  • Personal statement: although it’s not standard practice to add a personal statement or CV summary for German job applications, you might want to add a couple of sentences to help stand out from other candidates. Just remember to keep it factual and don’t oversell yourself.
  • Hobbies and interests: add details of these if they’re relevant to the role and show skills that you haven’t proved elsewhere in your CV.
  • Languages: you could include languages in your skills list, or in a separate section. You don’t need to be fluent in a language to include it here – any additional language skills will be beneficial.
  • Certificates and training: on top of formal qualifications such as a degree, include certificates and training to help show you’re qualified for the role.
  • References: German employers typically expect written references from previous employers. You could include these as an appendix to your CV, or be ready to provide them when requested.
  • Signature: it’s common practice to sign your printed CV before sending it. If you’re sending your CV electronically, add a digital signature. Add your name, the date and your signature to the bottom of the document. 

Expert Tip:

German CVs are concise, factual documents, so keep yours brief and stick to the facts. Provide evidence of your career successes, but avoid adding opinions or exaggerating your achievements, as this can make you appear boastful or over-confident. If you have the experience and skills necessary for the role, the facts will speak for themselves.

How to prepare a CV in German

If you’re writing your CV in German, it’s essential to label the sections correctly. Employers are likely to skim read your CV, so you’ll want to make sure they can easily scan it and digest the relevant information. However, don’t exaggerate your German language knowledge – if you’re not sure about the word or phrase in German, it’s best not to use it. You can use online translators to check the meaning of different terms, or use a paid translation service. Translators are typically more effective as they’ll understand the context and correct usage of the word.

Here are some translations for key sections of your German CV:

  • Personal Information: Persönliche Angaben
  • Education: Ausbildung
  • Work Experience: Berufliche Erfahrung
  • Internships: Praktika
  • Hobbies and Interests: Hobbys und Interessen
  • Extracurricular activities: Auβerschulische Aktivitäten
  • Language/Computer Skills: Sprache- / EDV- Kenntnisse
  • Driving licences: Fürherscheine
  • Certificates: Zertifikate

Whether you submit your CV in English or German, it’s essential that your CV is free from errors in spelling and grammar. German employers and recruiters tend to view spelling errors more unfavourably than those in other countries, and any errors could really detract from the content of your CV, and your chances of success.

The structure of a German CV is similar to a UK CV, but the content and tone is more fact-based and avoids commentary or opinion.

Should you include a photo in a German CV?

While including a photo in your CV is often discouraged in the UK, it’s quite a common practice in Germany. Many employers expect applicants to include one. As such, applicants often include a passport-sized headshot in their CV. If you decide to do this, make sure it’s a professional-looking, high-quality photo and add it with passport photo dimensions (approximately 40mm x 50mm). If you don’t have a professional photo you can use, it’s best not to include one.

Check the job description to see if the employer has specifically requested applicants not to include a photo. Some may do this, as Germany has similar anti-discrimination laws to the UK. As such, it’s illegal for a company to make a hiring decision based on an applicant’s photo, or the lack of one.

Tips and best practices for writing a CV in German

Follow these tips to give your German CV the best chance of success:


  • Write in German: unless the job is advertised in English, or the company’s business language is English, write your CV in German. Use translation services if necessary to make sure your German is up to scratch.
  • Focus on your key experience, skills and qualifications: CVs in Germany are concise factual documents, so focus on the key details of your experience and skills.
  • Tailor your CV for each job: it’s essential to submit a tailored CV for every job application. Research the company and study the job description to ensure your CV clearly shows how and why you can do the job.
  • Convert qualifications: converting UK qualifications into their German equivalent can help employers to understand your suitability for the role.
  • Use a professional CV design: select a clear, readable font and avoid elaborate designs and unusual layouts. Jobseeker’s subtle CV templates can help you to design an attractive CV that makes a strong impression with German employers.


  • Add a detailed personal statement: in Germany, it’s not common practice to include a CV summary. You could write a short summary of your skills and experience, or leave this for your cover letter.
  • Exaggerate your German language skills: lying about your language skills on your CV is unlikely to get you very far, so be honest about your German competence.
  • Over-elaborate or over-sell yourself: CVs for Germany jobs are primarily factual documents. Don’t add too much commentary on your career achievements, but stick to the facts and offer outcomes and evidence, rather than your personal assessment and evaluation of your performance.
  • Include any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors: German employers view spelling and grammar errors particularly unfavourably, so be certain your document is watertight and error-free.
  • Make it too long: German CVs tend to be short summary documents, so aim for a single side of A4 if possible.

Key Takeaways for Mastering the Art of Writing a CV in German

Writing your CV for Germany is an exercise in discipline, restraint and economy. Employers expect CVs to be short, to-the-point and based in fact, not opinion. German CVs include some extra personal information, but employers won’t want a lot of extra detail about your skills and experience. While there’s not much scope to get creative when writing your CV in German, you can use clean, professional CV designs to help your document to stand out. Sign up with CVwizard to access a wealth of CV templates and other tools, to help you create a beautiful CV.

Share via:
Mike Potter
Mike Potter
Mike Potter is an experienced copywriter specialising in careers and professional development. He uses extensive knowledge of workplace culture to create insightful and actionable articles on CV writing and career pathways.

Make an impression with your CV

Create and download a professional CV quickly and easily.

Create CV