Inside the mythology of a CV - A quick overview of the CV writing tragedy

You have recently moved to Europe or intend to do so soon. You find yourself in a totally new environment with a mind boggling ‘to do’ list – things that back in your homeland wouldn’t even cross your mind. You don’t know where to start in your hunt for a job. You browse hundreds of websites per day, read a variety of requirements and come across acronyms far beyond the classic resume concept. Some talk about Europass CV others want just a CV, a third a resume, fourth a mix of all. You then realize you have become an expat and pose yourself the question: what happened to the simple job search? Why can’t I just email a simple CV? Why are things different in this country?

The reality of the European CV standards is far too different from what you might have come across in the US or other non-EU countries. It is not just about the way you structure your profile or format your CV, it is a lot about what to leave out and how much necessary information to divulge. Should you use a European CV format or an international one? Even more, when in Italy, things might get a lit bit more complicated.

Here is a short list of what to consider and not include in your CV before hitting the send button:

1. The number one trend which is also the number one way to send your application to the trash bin is using Google and copy/pasting pre-exisistent CV templates.

In Italy this is a very common issue for multiple reasons and many users believe that by replicating a generic CV it will really do the trick. Let alone the numerous spelling errors, inability to formulate experiences in the right order, incorrect use of English and, last but not least, informing the world of your social life!

2. Google Translate might help you get a sense of languages you do not have a working knowledge of but it certainly does not make your CV look professionally translated. CVs do not get translated from one language to another by software or any person fluent in the language. They are customized by linguists in a professional manner! Meanings and wordings change from one language to another and by not doing so correctly you risk losing your “identity”, even in the opening sentences.

3. The amount of personal information described and photographs attached is a common issue among European countries. In Italy, for example, you need to release not only your date of birth, photographs, marital status and driving license but many other personal data. In the UK and Germany, on the other hand, some of this information can be omitted. In the US, this is strictly avoided.

Do not go for any type of ready-made CVs as you can already be discriminated in the selection process based on the information you did not provide!

4. The second most common mistake made is sending a Europass CV to any job application because you have overheard Italian companies prefer so. The other most common mistake is sending both a Europass CV and a generic CV, asking the recruiter to choose from the two. Do you really know the difference between the two and when to use them?

5. Let’s talk cover letters! Would you prefer to read a one liner only stating “attached is my CV for your consideration” or engage in describing the story of your life in one page? Do you know what the real purpose of a cover letter is and how to write it?

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