Writing a resume: tips for structure, formalities, layout, template& sample

What to look for when writing a resume? From structure to formatting to content structure: we show you how to write an optimal resume and what criteria to look for in a resume template.

The CV is an important part of the application letter and is placed in the folder directly after the application cover letter. The goal is to convince them at a glance with your own qualities. But what information is given when writing a resume? What formalities to follow? We clarify these questions and give you a general resume template to hand.

Writing a resume: What is a resume?

The resume provides an overview of your professional career to date, lists the jobs you have held there, shows your educational background, and presents your advanced qualifications, z.B. through further education, language courses or EDP seminars. If you write a resume, it usually contains information about your hobbies and commitments.

This gives the recruiter a compact overview of the applicant. Especially in view of the short time that recruiters usually invest in reviewing the individual letters of application, the resume is, next to the cover letter, the most important document to convince them about you, your skills and your knowledge. The personnel manager uses this document to match your profile with the requirements of the position to be filled.

Create resume: What programs you can use

You can create a resume very easily with Word. In more recent versions of Word, you will already find a resume template that you can customize for your purposes. Alternatively, the Internet offers numerous variants for a resume sample, which you can usually download quite easily. If you do not have Microsoft Word for writing a resume, you can also work with other word processing programs such as OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

Create a resume with online editors

As an alternative to conventional word processing software, you can also use numerous online services. Vendor like resume.The job portals of the German job centers provide their own editors with which you can individually design your resume. The advantage: In contrast to conventional word processing, a resume editor was designed directly for creating resumes – an editing mask ensures that you always adjust the document in the right place as well. How to safely avoid formal faux pas.

Resume layout

When applying for a job, keep in mind that recruiters usually have to look through a lot of application documents, and yours should be particularly eye-catching. A tabular resume is suitable to quickly create a good Overview of the most important facts to give. Too colorful or many different fonts overshoot the mark. Make sure that your resume template is simple and yet appealing in design.

As already explained in "The 6 most common application mistakes – and how to avoid them skillfully", the design of the application should be coherent, i.e. uniform in cover page, cover letter, as well as resume. It is therefore a good idea to create these as continuous pages in a (Word) document.

If you’re creating a resume layout yourself, use only black for the font, in addition to A contrasting color and Two font sizes maximum. Use one of the following fonts: Arial, Times New Roman, Open Sans, or Verdana. For the bullet points you should Font sizes between 10pt and 12pt fall back. Headings can, of course, be larger if it helps with structure and clarity. Since there are rather strict rules for the resume layout, please don’t resort to flashy shades when choosing the color scheme. Even if this achieves the goal of "attracting attention", it looks unserious and is therefore rather a disadvantage.

The design and the color scheme serve to Underline the structure of the resume and enable the viewer to quickly grasp your most important stations and qualifications. The Clarity of a tabular resume should not suffer from large graphics or exaggerated layouts.

Image Our online job application training offers you all of this

The content: what to look for when writing a resume?

A good resume should without gaps its. However, you don’t need a justification until you’re more than six months apart.

You should never write the term "unemployed" in your resume. Of course, lying is forbidden here, but a paraphrase with phrases such as "professional reorientation" or "professional further orientation" is quite acceptable. Also, consider whether you may have taken any continuing education courses to fill in any gaps.

If you use Resume template you should use these always individualize your resume to the advertised position. This is how you can present your also better highlight skills and qualifications. Don’t take this point lightly! The more your CV matches your cover letter and the job advertised, the better your chances of being invited for an interview. Take this into account in particular when stating your duties under the heading "professional experience"!

When writing a tabular resume, make sure that its scope is three pages does not exceed. Therefore, refrain from unimportant information that is irrelevant to the position.

Resume structure

Feel free to use "resume" as a title. This is followed first by your Personal details, so name, contact information (address, email address, phone number) and date and place of birth. Next to it is space for your application photo – if you have not already placed this on the cover page. A good application photo is as professional, high quality and convincing as possible and is positioned flush right within the Personal Data section.

When writing a resume, list in reverse chronological order their professional stations and your Training path on. Be sure to use a uniform date format. Include the month and year in it, for example in the form "10/2018 – 04/2019″.

When describing your professional career and practical experience, start with the current or last station, respectively. You should make sure that you include not only your position, but also the employer with legal form and location. In addition, you list your Duties, List any special achievements and accomplishments in bullet points (approx. 5-6 points). For this purpose, compare your previous activities with the requirement profile of the advertised position. The more exactly these details harmonize and the more coherent they are with your cover letter as well, the more interesting your profile will be classified by the recruiter. Therefore, at this point once again: As with the cover letter, individualization is also mandatory for the resume. You should not use a general resume template.

The following is information about your educational background. Here, too, proceed in American style, i.e. in reverse chronological order, and label all stations with date (month/year), education title, university/company/school and jew. Training content. When describing the stages of your education in your resume, also include Specializations and topics of your theses on. Add the final grades, if any better than 3.0 are. By the way, you can usually omit the information about the elementary school, since the attendance of the same should have no direct relation to the job advertisement.

Under the next item, list all relevant continuing education and courses with topic, provider and date. You can also list others job-related knowledge indicate. In addition, estimate them as "Basic knowledge", "Advanced knowledge" or "Expert knowledge" a. The level of your language skills you should indicate according to the Common European Framework of Reference (A1 to C2). For this purpose, there are also free tests online, which help you with the classification.

You can list other skills that are relevant to the job below. Behind this are z.B. special computer skills or possession of a specific driver’s license.

If you have published a paper, been involved in a club/volunteer work, or participated in a well-known symposium, you can include this information under an extra point in your resume.

To apply also as a private person Sympathy to arouse, When writing a resume, it is advisable to list some of your hobbies, honorary posts and interests. Avoid naming general headings such as "sports" or "music," but be as specific as possible about your hobbies. Also make sure to list interests from different fields. However, only list activities that you actually pursue or have pursued. You should also not include any questionable hobbies, such as high-risk sports or gambling in the resume. Limit yourself to 3-6 hobbies that support your aptitude for the soft skills required by the job posting. For example, membership in a team sports club suggests team spirit and commitment to the recruiter. If you have taught yourself to play the guitar, this is evidence of perseverance and creativity.

At the end, you should Place and date insert, if this is not already provided by the resume template. Underneath put your Signature. If you submit your application documents online, you can scan them or create them electronically using other technical tools. If you are applying by mail, sign the resume personally after printing it out. Your signature indicates that the information in your resume is true and correct.

The resume at a glance:

  • Name, address, phone number, email address, application photo (if not on cover sheet)
  • Date and place of birth
  • optional: marital status, nationality
  • Professional history (list period of employment, job title, name of employer incl. legal form, location, tasks + achievements)
  • Education
  • further education/professional knowledge
  • (publications/co-operations/participations
  • Interests + hobbies
  • Signature, place, date

To download the resume template in Word, simply click on the sample:

Indicate parents and siblings in the curriculum vitae?

You should omit information about your parents and siblings and their occupations from your resume if the info is irrelevant to the job you are seeking. in this case they will only take up unnecessary space.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule: If your parents’ or siblings’ professions have given you job-related skills, you can include them in your CV. This is z.B. the case when you have helped out in your parents’ restaurant for years and now want to apply for a job as a waiter. Even if your interest in the desired position is based on the occupation of one of your parents, you can include the occupation of your parents in your resume.

The special case also applies to minors, since parents as legal representatives must sign the employment contract. If the parents are included in the resume, the process of signing the contract is accelerated.

Include nationality, marital status and religious denomination in the resume?

Information on nationality, marital status and religious denomination can be problematic. Since these can lead to discrimination and application rejection, but this is very difficult to prove, they do not need to be made. For example, the marital status "Single, 2 children", can quickly give the impression to the recruiter that the applicant can be expected to work more frequently due to illness of the children o.a. have to leave work early. Nevertheless, it is advisable to mention children at the latest in the interview.

Writing a resume: Keeping your resume up to date

Save your curriculum vitae and UPDATE She Him regularly. Here’s how to have it ready quickly, even for a last-minute application. In addition, this will save you time that you can spend elsewhere perfecting your cover letter. Also one profile at the Job networks XING or LinkedIn can make your job easier when applying for jobs online. There you can store your application documents and, if necessary, send them off quickly. In addition, you can also find and write to potential employers.

A comprehensive advice For more information on job applications and interviews, including resume templates and checklists, see our job application training.

Resume checklist

When writing a resume, it is easy for mistakes to creep in. All the more annoying: You only have one chance to make a good first impression! Therefore, after completing your document, check it most carefully. Even better is the many-eyes principle. Have your application documents proofread by friends and/or acquaintances before you send them. You may also get another crucial tip this way.

To make sure you don’t miss any mistakes, here’s a compact overview once again:

  • Uniform layout of cover page, cover letter and resume
  • clear structure
  • list information in reverse chronological order (most recent information first)
  • Structure: Title "Curriculum Vitae", name, date of birth, address/contact details (if not on cover sheet), professional experience (listing period of employment, job title, name of employer incl. Legal form, location, tasks + achievements), educational background, job-related knowledge/training/languages, (if available: publications/participations), interests/hobbies, signature with place + date
  • in case of gaps in the resume, the motto is: "Lying forbidden – cheating allowed"> instead of "unemployed" choose the paraphrase "professional reorientation" or the like or. list the further education courses completed during this time
  • Individualized resume for the advertised position
  • uniform indication of the date
  • correct spelling& Grammar
  • Maximum 3 pages in length

The most common mistakes in a resume

mistakes can happen. Everyone makes mistakes. This is true, but in the application process, even the smallest inattention can decide whether you are invited to an interview or whether your application letter ends up in the trash can. This does not have to be! Since the CV in particular has many pitfalls, we’ll take the time to show you some more common CV mistakes at this point.

1# misspelling& Grammar mistakes

The most common resume mistakes are so-called careless errors that do not occur with careful writing: Spelling errors are major flaws and immediately catch the eye of most recruiters. To avoid this, you should not only have a friend or acquaintance proofread your resume, but also turn on the automatic spell checker in your writing program. Also Grammatical errors you can avoid by such a check.

2# Lack of structure

If your resume lacks structure, it is quite possible that your entire application portfolio will be placed directly in the "rejection folder". Therefore, make sure that the structure is clear and concise! In order to keep the red thread recognizable, subheadings are suitable, as explained in the section "Resume structure".

3# Insufficient job descriptions

One of the most serious mistakes is to include in your resume only the name of the company, the location, and the position held there in each case. Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes! Could you do something with this information and get a picture of an applicant?? Certainly do not! Therefore, you should always write 2-3 lines about the tasks you held at the previous employers. Match them in advance with the job posting’s requirements profile and tailor the tasks to each company to which you are applying.

4# Too much irrelevant information

However, too much irrelevant information in the resume can also lead to the K.O.-Become a criterion. For example, the personnel officer is only interested to a very limited extent in where you went to elementary school or what jobs your parents and siblings do. The resume should show your professional career and qualifications as best as possible. Therefore, go for quality over quantity, as too much unnecessary information will make your resume too bloated.

5# fibs& Lie

Which fib is allowed and where does the fib become a lie? It should be said in advance that it is not reprehensible to embellish your resume with nice paraphrases and embellishments. However, trying to disguise half a year of unemployment with an imaginary job at a popular company is definitely the wrong way to go and, as soon as the lie is exposed, will lead directly to very embarrassing inquiries – in the worst case, even to dismissal. Keep in mind: your application must be coherent for the recruiter. This also includes corresponding certificates. In addition, it is now not uncommon for well-connected recruiters to contact those in charge of previous employers and inquire directly about the applicant’s skills firsthand.

6# Unconcrete time specifications

If you only enter yearly numbers for the education periods, you commit one of the most common mistakes. This quickly gives the impression that you have something to hide. It makes a big difference whether you started studying in September after graduating from school in July or whether you took more than half a year to complete your studies. Therefore, make sure to structure your resume in the following way Complete and authentic. Even if you only had a part-time job during the six months to finance your future studies, include this activity. Finally, the will to work shows ambition and initiative. So always include the month in the dates you enter.

7# Non-significant hobbies and interests

Finally, you should also avoid mistakes in your resume that could lead to the section Hobbies and interests include. Too general and meaningless information will not score any points with the recruiter. Choose two to three activities to explain in more detail during the interview. By writing, for example, the respective association to it or mention specifically what kind of books you like to read. With the interests the personnel manager can read a little bit of your personality. For example, group sports suggest team spirit, mastering a musical instrument suggests discipline, perseverance and dedication, and cooking suggests creativity and sociability. Take advantage of this to emphasize your soft skills.

8# Missing signature

A typical mistake in the resume, which unfortunately happens far too often to young applicants, is that there is no signature at the end of the resume. Since the signature on application cover letters and in the resume has become common practice in the HR industry, you are committing a serious formal error that recruiters quickly associate with sloppy workmanship! Avoid this mistake at all costs.

Many applicants find it easier to write a resume than a cover letter. This may be due to the fact that in a tabular resume, which most companies require, no elaboration is necessary. However, the do not underestimate resume. For many recruiters, it is a way to quickly get a first impression of applicants and an overview of their qualifications. It is therefore not uncommon for him to even higher importance attached to it than the cover letter. When writing your resume, keep this in mind.

Make sure your resume looks appealing and that the most important information easy to include are. For example, use formatting options, highlighting, or a contrasting color to do this. However, use these means sparingly and use the design evenly. Provide a Pleasant, professional resume layout, no matter if you create it yourself or use a resume template. This should be set to your needs and requirements adjust.

If you structure your resume well and follow our tips, you will have no problem making a good first impression.

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