The successful CV

In addition to the cover letter, the CV is the most important part of a good application. So it’s worth investing a little effort here. Really difficult is a well-designed resume not, it is only a few rules to follow.

Cover letter and CV

A common question is what’s in the cover letter and what’s in the resume. The cover letter should refer directly to the job and indicate that it has dealt with the company as well as the position to be filled. One should justify why one is suitable for this position.

Also on personal characteristics relevant to the activity should be mentioned. It is of course allowed to present your own person positively, but you should refrain from real lies, these fall quickly at work and then the professional happiness can come to a sudden end.

The CV is the much more important source of information for many HR professionals. On the basis of the candidate’s career, it is much more precisely possible to determine whether the person in question is suitable and also fits into the company.

Brevity is the soul of wit

The basic rule for a good CV is that it should not be too long. As a guideline, one page (DIN A4) has been established. The background to this is that HR decision-makers receive hundreds of applications in some places, and these people naturally do not want to be confronted with epic works, but at a glance gain an impression of the candidate.


A headline is mandatory. In the simplest case one simply chooses “Curriculum Vitae” as headline for the CV. If it should be something impressive also the own name can be used.

The important things first

First and foremost, of course, is the name, date of birth and place of birth. At this point should also the contact information, so residential address, phone numbers and email address, stand. At least in printed applications for better paid jobs, it is customary in the upper right corner of a photo (passport size or slightly larger) accommodate.

If a photo is used, it should be a serious, reasonably up-to-date portrait in good quality. The snapshot from the last beach holiday is just as inappropriate, as a picture from the nearest machine.

If it is a particularly important application, for example, the first “real” professional activity after graduation, one should fall back if necessary on the services of a professional photographer.

The chronological part

Graduated from school, followed by education / training and professional activities. In the case of graduation, one should limit oneself to the highest one, however, mention complete education and study. Always complete the name and location of the training institution or employer.

It makes a good impression if the subject of the thesis is also mentioned in the case of a degree. In the case of occupational positions, it makes sense to include special features of the activity in bullet points.

It makes a good impression if the subject of the thesis is also mentioned in the case of a degree. In the case of occupational positions, it makes sense to include special features of the activity in bullet points.

In everything, however, hold: Be brief

Instead of a complete chronological order, one can also subdivide into school / education / study and professional career. This is useful if these areas are well separated in terms of time. The advantage is in the case a much better clarity. However, it should be avoided that you have to “jump” between the individual sections in order to get a complete impression of the candidate’s career.

At the end of the chronological part may also be referred to special interests or private activities. It should be noted that everything that is mentioned there should have a connection to the desired job.

How creative can it be?

The big problem is often the so-called “gap in the CV”, ie times for which one can not specify any occupationally relevant activity. First of all, one can leave unmentioned (smaller) gaps. Urgently discouraged from wanting to fill in any gaps “creatively”. Personnel decision makers usually have a very good sense of what is realistic and what is not. The simple advice is: always stay with the truth.

The formal design

1.Font and font size

In the simplest case you choose the same font for the CV as for the cover letter. If you want to use a different font, make sure that it is not squishy or exotic. A certain simplicity is trumps here. As a guideline for the text, size 12 has been established, headings should be slightly larger and possibly also set in bold.

2.Graphic design

The standard for a CV is the tabular form. Temporal and formal information belongs in the left column, content should be in the right column. It is important that the presentation is clear and the essential information can be captured quickly.

Anyone looking for examples and suggestions beyond these general guidelines will find what they are looking for on the internet. A very good collection is available here.


Whether to put headlines colored, is initially a matter of taste. But this should only be used by those who have a certain feeling for color design. Too striking or garish colors should be avoided.

4.Printed application

In the printed application is something very trivial to first note: The pressure should be in absolutely perfect quality. Streaks and stripes are just as taboo as spilled or washed-out colors.

If you do not own a high-end printer, it makes sense to fall back on the performance of copy shops or the like. Less attention is often paid to the quality of the paper. It does not have to be hand made handmade paper, but you should not really save.


If you apply via e-mail, the cover letter forms the actual e-mail, CV (as well as other documents) are added as an attachment. Here, care must be taken to choose a common file format that can correctly represent all formatting. A beautifully designed curriculum vitae is of no use if it appears to the recipient as a “character salad”.

A common variant is the current Word format .docx, which can be output and displayed by all common word processors. Alternatively, PDF can be used, free programs such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice offer the possibility to export text files as PDF.

These tips should be used to create a well-designed resume, and if needed, both universities and employment agencies often provide individualized help. An appealing application (including a resume of the same kind) will take a few hours, but will increase the chances tremendously. So it’s worth spending some time.