How to write your first CV

AT Europe Language Jobs we want our candidates to present their best CV and we hope these tips help you on your way to getting a job. We will go through some advice and some common mistakes that employers find very often.


Some employers may spend as little as  45 seconds skimming through your CV before they decide to brand it as “not interesting”, “maybe” or “interesting”. It is important to remember that there is not a simple correct way to write and present a CV but the following general rules apply:

  • It is tailored to a specific job.
  • It is carefully and clearly laid out.
  • It is informative but concise.

You should find the CV layout that works best for you. Sometimes it helps to be a little creative in order to stand out from the rest of applicants. However you decide on doing it, try to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Not tailored to the job
  • Not an appropriate length
  • Poor format and no use of bullet points
  • No accomplishments
  • Lying/false information
  • Email problems or not giving a professional email address.

It is important to divide the CV in sections. Here are a couple of quick recommendations for each section.

  • Personal information:
    1. Do not waste space and time on this section, just the basic required information: email address, phone number, full name and place of residence. In some countries it is normal to add a professional photo like in France, Belgium or Germany. But others like UK don’t usually like CVs with a picture.
    2. If you decide to include a photo of yourself,  make sure it includes your head and shoulders. Dress presentably and smile in a moderate way if you are the happy type!
  • Work experience:
    1. It’s probably the most important section of your CV so you will want to put it in the upper-middle part of the page because that is where the recruiter’s focus stays the longest time.
    2. If you are a just graduate add even small part-time jobs like working in a shop or in bar. It will show that you are a team player and you had some important responsibilities. It is very interesting for a recruiter if you had a job while studying at University,so add that as well.
    3. Try to relate the skills you developed in the jobs you have had with those you need in the job you are applying to.
  • Education:
    1. Add the name of the university and the degree you have done.
    2. If you went on an Erasmus exchange or you took a year abroad, make sure that appears on your CV.
    3. Only add grades if they are good.
    4. If you had some responsibilities related to life on campus it is good to add them here as well. But keep it short and interesting.
    5. Add any additional qualifications or courses you took, as this shows extra commitment and dedication to learning and self-development.
  • Interest and achievements
    1. Keep this section short and to the point.
    2. Don’t list many passive, solitary hobbies
    3. Hobbies or sports that are out of the ordinary may help: Skydiving, mountaineering…
    4. Any evidence of leadership or being a team player its interesting here: Captain of a team, champion in something etc.
  • Languages
    1. Don’t forget to include this section
    2. If you have any language certificates/final grades mention them here.

CVs can have other sections; this is just one possible structure. You need to find the one that works better for you, your type of profile and the job that you are applying for.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions or would like us to give you some more specific career, interview or CV advice, let us know by writing us a comment below!

Good luck with your job search!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The ELJ team

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