German Resume – Tabu & Mistakes

Which details are not allowed in German job application

It seems a little strange to me that in Germany, a country of rules and regulations, there is less tabu for an job application than in America, which is considered a country of freedom. Perhaps this is the reason why foreign job seekers in the German IT industry often combine their American and German resume formats, in order to meet the expectations of German HR managers.

In this article you will learn the regulations and unwritten rules of writing an job application. Being well-informed, you can break these rules more effectively?

What doesn’t belong in a German CV

In the past, this information belonged in every CV. Today they are no longer usual. So don’t mention this:

Amateur photos in the CV is TABU

It is also considered rather tasteless to place the Smartphone pictures, group pictures and pictures with a low resolution in a CV.

Gaps in the CV is TABU

Time gaps are not permitted in German CVs.

Gaps in the CV make HR manager uncertain. And this uncertainty triggers an unpleasant feeling in a German HR manager. The first reaction – to put aside your “unpleasant resume” to take a closer look later. And guess what happens to the “uncomfortable” documents that are put aside?

So help the personnel manager to avoid this unpleasant feeling and fill or explain the gaps.

The periods of life without professional activity should be filled with something. An experienced personnel manager will quickly discover them anyway. And suspect something worse.

So fill the gaps with whatever, e.g. volunteer projects. Even “help in my private circle of friends in creating and optimizing web pages” or “self-study in the following disciplines / courses…” significantly better than idle times that last longer than a month.

Another extreme is a straight CV without downtimes, illness and unemployment. Everyone knows that a continuous work with smooth transitions between workplaces is hardly possible within many years. An excessively straight-lined resume looks more suspicious than one that reflects life as it is – with phases of recovery, unproductive times and one or two changes of life direction.

Gaps that are larger than half a year require a short commentary on the CV.

For those gaps which cannot be “closed”, prepare a plausible explanation in advance. Expect to be asked about them in the interview.

Consider the following questions about each gap: What is behind this time gap? Unemployment? Illness? Phases of reorientation? Vacation?

Mistakes and typing errors are TABU

More examples are given in the article The check list for your CV


Sources: Duden Ratgeber, Handbuch Bewerbung, 2012 Duden.Neuhaus, Karsta und Dirk. Bewerben und Arbeiten in den USA und Kanada.ILT-Europa Verlag 2009.

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24.02.20 - 19.03.20 ©️ Jaroslav Plotnikov ( All articles )
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