Resume

In your resume you include the most important information from your professional life to date. Your resume should not be too long, ideally two pages. You describe the relevant milestones in your career in the areas of education, training and job experience as well as any other qualifications, and also additional information as desired such as marital status or hobbies.

In a classically structured resume you present these items chronologically. However, it is increasingly common in Germany to start with the most recent events – for example with your latest employment positions – and to finish with the earliest events. It is best to list this information in table form. Handwritten resumes are not customary. You are expected to sign your resume and cover letter by hand, however.

Information that should be included in a resume is:

Resume content

• Contact information with address, phone number and email
• Date of birth and nationality
• Indication of marital status and religion is purely voluntary
• Professional application photo
• Previous job experience with the time period, name and location of the employer and description of your responsibilities
• Secondary and post-secondary education including marks (with an explanation of the grading system in your home country)
• For a course of study: name of the university/school and location, topic of study and marks
• Indication of military or civil service
• Internships with brief description of tasks
• Languages with an evaluation of your level of proficiency (basic knowledge, advanced knowledge, fluency, mother tongue) or rated under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF)
• Computer skills with a statement of your level of knowledge
• Volunteer commitments
• Hobbies (which should be neither too ordinary or high-risk)

You can prepare you resume for your applications easily with “Europass”. More information as well as templates and sample resumes in various languages can be found on the Europass website at
http://www.europass-info.de/.

Cover letter

Your cover letter gives the company a first impression of you. You explain why you are interested in the posted position, and why you are the right person for the job. Make your strengths apparent and try to convince potential employers of your abilities and qualifications. Also mention the important experiences and skills from your career until now. Include your language abilities and other qualifications if these are important for the new position. Potential employers are certainly also interested to know why you have come to Germany and/or want to work here. If you have a residency permit, you should provide this information in the application. But be brief: your letter should be no longer than one standard A4 page.

Certificates

The most important certificates should also be included with your application. These include certificates from your secondary or post-secondary schooling, or certificates and/or references from previous employers. You can also include evidence of your language skills or computer knowledge. It is generally sufficient to include only the most important documents. The application documents will normally not be returned to you, so you should always send copies of your documents and never the originals. Official certified copies are only necessary if they are explicitly requested. If your documents such as school or university certificates are not in German, include a translation so that the company can correctly understand and evaluate your performance.

Interview

The company found your application interesting and has invited you to a first interview? Congratulations on your successful first step towards finding a new job! The interview is a chance for you and the company to get to know each other. You should prepare well for the interview. In addition to dressing appropriately (a typical business outfit is customary), you should learn the most important information about the company you are applying to. It is also very important that you arrive on time at the interview.

Usually the representative of the company who is running the interview will begin by presenting the company and the position in more detail. Then comes the discussion in which you are the focus. Assume that you will be asked about your previous experience and your strengths and weaknesses. The desired wage, the general framework conditions for the job such as work times and your possible start date as well as other specifics about the position could be discussed. You should also think of a few questions to ask the interviewer, to show your interest. After the discussion you should ask when and how you will receive a response, if you have not already been told by the interviewer.

The German Federal Employment Agency offers comprehensive information and support for the application process with its “durchstarten”, “Fit für die Karriere” (academics) and “abi>>bewerbungsbox” training courses (available at Arbeitsagentur as well as on their various portals such as www.planet-beruf.de

Many other institutions, service providers and job boards also offer tips and sample applications that you can find quickly and easily on the web.

Your Welcome Center would also be happy to help you further with questions about your job search and application.

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