Writing the Curriculum Vitae properly - but how?

The curriculum vitae is THE main component of every application. For this reason, candidates should invest a lot of time in the preparation of their CV. In the following, we show how a CV should be structured and how digitalisation changes CVs.

If you want to test your own market value or are looking for a new potential employer, you will be faced with the challenge of applying attractively and individually.

To ensure that the application process runs smoothly and leads to the desired success, we will describe in the following text the dos and don'ts at the heart of an application: the CV. What should you bear in mind when writing your CV and what should you avoid? In which file format do you actually submit a CV and which layout is appropriate and common so that the CV receives attention in the relevant HR department? We get to the bottom of these questions.


Curriculum Vitae or CV

The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the most important document for the HR manager to evaluate the expertise in the application documents. Even before the cover letter or certificates are read, the recruiter deals with the CV. The CV contains a maximum of two pages in which candidates give an overview of their previous professional life. The corresponding human resources department can therefore get a very quick overview of whether there is a professional match between the applicant and the job advertisement and whether the candidate will be shortlisted.


The Curriculum Vitea or simply CV offers an overview of your professional life so far.The curriculum vitae is the focus of the application documents, therefore you should pay particular attention to it during writing.

How a CV should be structured

The curriculum vitae should be in tabular form, as this serves the structure and clarity. The American variant is recommended for the listing of the individual stations, i.e. the career is not documented chronologically, but in reverse order. This enables the Recruitment to inform itself first about the relevant stations of the candidate and only then to overlook the previous professional stages. In the tabular form, the date should be entered in the left column according to the MM/YYYY - MM/YYYY scheme. On the right hand side are the professional stages with the job title and the place of employment with short key points, which were the most relevant tasks in this position. It is advisable to keep in mind the essential requirements in the job description in order to create a match directly with the HR manager. For this enumeration bullet points are suitable, which also provide clarity. In principle, periods in which no work has been done for more than 3 months should be named. "Looking for work" or "Sabbatical" are common formulations in this case.

At the top should always be the term "curriculum vitae" in bold type. Below, the name and contact details and - somewhat separated - the desired position are to be found. This shows HR professionals immediately that the CV was created specifically for the advertised position in the respective company and is not used several times. In this way, a good impression is made and a direct comparison of the advertisement with the candidate's career is possible. Furthermore, it is still appreciated if there is an application photo at the top of the CV. This is not a must-have, but recommended. Professional pictures convey a personal impression and increase a positive link between CV and person.

Thereafter comes the professional career including internships, again in American notation. This is followed by special knowledge and finally by interests and hobbies. You can also impress with volunteer positions, because these show commitment, the will to change something and the interest in political or social topics. Especially the interests and hobbies help to get a more precise picture of the candidate and to judge whether he or she could fit into the team.

The CV ends with your signature next to the current date. This also illustrates individuality and personality.


Attract attention - but not at any price

Applicants want to stand out from the crowd, attract attention and arouse the recruiter's interest. It therefore makes sense to do this via the appearance of the application or resume. With a fancy structure, many colours or different fonts for example, you are sure to attract the attention of recruiters. However, it is questionable whether it is positive or negative. Therefore you should be aware: Doing less is more. The design of the CV should be appropriate for the job advertised and the industry. Nevertheless, form, professionalism and clarity should not suffer from the design. Our tip: Don't be too experimental here.

An advantage, however, could be achieved if another color is used in addition to black. In the best case, this colour is the colour of the future employer's brand. This already proves a sense of belonging to the company in the application phase and can convince the recruiter. The colour scheme in the application photo may also take account of this.

If you don't know exactly how to build and design your CV, take a look around the Internet. There are various CV templates with different designs which can be downloaded and used free of charge. Use the services of professional photographers, because they have expertise and can put you in the "right" light.


In order to stand out from the mass of applicants, you should let your personality flow into the CV.

Interests, hobbies and volunteers individualize your CV and can help to convince the recruiter of your person.

These errors should be avoided

The CV is the applicant's figurehead and the first touchpoint from the applicant to the company. This contact point should be error-free. Therefore pay attention to the following points:

  • Avoid spelling mistakes.

  • Do not use an old photo.

  • Avoid gaps in your CV by completing internships, further training or honorary positions during this time.

  • Make sure that your data, contact information and career stages are up to date.

  • If you have already gained work experience, you should refrain from stating primary school years and student internships in grades 8 to 10.

  • Avoid continuous text, use key points and always have clarity, and comprehensibility in mind.

  • Do not include unsuitable hobbies, such as extreme sports with a high risk of injury, in your curriculum vitae.


What else is important, or: What is CV Parsing?

In the course of digitalization, many companies have sought IT support for their application processes. A wide variety of software providers promise to minimise administrative costs by transferring data from digitised CVs into their own IT systems. One example of digital support in the application process is CV parsing, which means as much as digital analysis and processing of CVs. Parsing comes from the verb "to parse" and means "to analyze". But what does this mean for the application?

Companies benefit from the digital support in recruitment, because personnel managers are less concerned with administrative work. Time savings and efficiency are the major factors in favour of introducing CV parsing. In addition, the programs can be used multilingually, so that employers in particular benefit from being able to analyse CVs quickly and reliably in different languages.

But not only companies benefit from CV parsing, candidates also profit from the following advantages:

  • A good Candidate Journey.

  • Easier and faster applying possible, by simply uploading the PDF files.

  • Application via Social Media Profile possible.

  • Filling out application forms is not necessary, as this information is already contained in the uploaded application folder.

  • Faster processing of the application by the companies, since the manual effort of the recruiters is eliminated.

So what should you pay attention to in order to accommodate the personnel department and to encourage quick processing of the application?

The file format is often the decisive factor here. The most common software applications in HR work with a text recognition function, better known as OCR text recognition. The "Optical Character Recognition", can recognize individual letters by a multi-layered analysis, which combine themselves then to words and put together into logical sentences. Ideally, this application also recognizes signs from scanned images so that appropriate texts can be transferred to HR systems.

However, since the implementation of these systems is not yet successful everywhere to the same level, it is worthwhile if you as a candidate are concerned that the characters in your CV are easy to read and do not receive less attention in the application process due to poor processing. Even scanned files, which are then saved as pdf files, are not yet readable for many software applications. Our tip: The best case is that the storage format of the CV is pdf, which has been converted from a Microsoft Word file.


Upload CV, check data, send application!

This is how applying for ARTS works. If you want to apply for a job or on your own initiative, ARTS will make it very easy for you. You can fill out our online form or apply simply and conveniently with your social media profile. We don't want our applicants to deal with administrative tasks, but with interesting perspectives and new challenges - together with ARTS as an employer. Do you have individual questions about the process, the position or your own application? Then simply contact our recruiters. Our professional team will be happy to advise you. We look forward to receiving your CV.


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