How to Write a German CV (Lebenslauf)

job interview

Coming from Kenya and never having attended a single German class, I knew absolutely nothing about how to write a German CV. Over time and after sending out several “Kenyan-style” ones (and not getting the job) plus attending several career training,  I’ve come to learn a couple of things about writing CV’s which I’ve applied and they have worked.  There are many people asking me how they can write their CV’s and here are a few points. I would also like to point out that some points here might work in my field (engineering) but wouldn’t work in others e.g. the creative field.  This is the standard CV but can be “pimped” to suit your field.

What to keep in mind when writing a German CV:

  • Always ask yourself, “Does a potential employer/colleague need to know about this?” before including anything in your CV
  • It should be written in chronological order, either from the present backwards or vice versa. Do not mix up the chronology, choose one and stick to it.
  • Avoid including irrelevant information i.e. information that doesn’t influence your competence nor support any of the qualities required
  • Review your CV regularly, even if a review means you only change the date at the bottom.
  • Make sure your CV matches your cover letter. The facts in these 2 documents should also match the answers you give at the interview.
  • Your CV should never be longer than 2 pages. You maintain this by regularly “pruning” the CV. Remove experiences that might not necessarily be needed by the new position. After years of experience, you can remove some internships and/or extra curricular activities
  • Don’t include more than 3 hobbies, also think what the hobbies say about you before including them.


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  1. How to Write a German Cover/Motivation Letter (Anschreiben) | Mkenya Ujerumani
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