If you’re planning to apply for jobs in Europe, now or in the future, Europass is designed for you. The online platform aims to make it easier to record, update and understand your skills and qualifications. That’s done using a Europass profile, from which you can download four different documents – the Europass CV, mobility document, certificate supplement and diploma supplement. Together, these documents are also known as a European Skills Passport.
The idea is that they make it easier to showcase your skills and experience throughout Europe, despite different countries having their own preferences and requirements. That said, many applicants will simply create a Europass CV online rather than sending all four documents to recruiters.
For those who haven’t used Europass before, the whole system can seem a little daunting. Thankfully, we’re here to clear things up. We’ve pulled together everything you need to know about the platform including the Europass CV format and structure, when you should use Europass, some dos and don’ts, and answers to the most frequently asked questions.
What is the structure of the Europass CV format?
When creating a CV, Europass has a preset structure to make things easier. It’s worth noting that there is no personal statement or professional summary. Instead, your name and contact details are followed by your experience, education, and skills – which is further broken down into a few subsections. Here’s what you need to know:
[Every Europass CV template starts with your name and contact details. Not least so recruiters can get in touch with you if they want to find out more or arrange an interview. You should include your name, address, phone number, and email address. With Europass, you also have the option of including a picture, plus your nationality, date of birth, and gender]
[The jobs you add to your Europass profile will be listed in reverse-chronological order. As well as the job title, employer, and dates of employment, this will typically include a summary of each job role with 3-6 duties and responsibilities. You can add and remove jobs from your Europass CV by ticking and unticking boxes.]
[Here you’ll list any relevant education or training for the job in question. As with your work experience, all of your qualifications will be listed on your Europass profile. It’s then up to you to decide which you include and exclude on your Europass CV.]
[Onto your skills section, which is broken down as follows:
- Mother tongue – Your native language or ‘first’ language.
- Languages – For languages other than your mother tongue, list abilities in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
- Communication skills – CV examples for Europass have a specific section for interpersonal skills.
- Organisational skills – Relating to the coordination of projects, budgets, and people.
- Job-related skills – Technical skills relating to the job you’re applying for.
- Digital skills – Any digital tools or software you’re familiar or proficient with.
Each of these subsections can be backed up by specific examples or achievements that demonstrate your skills.]
The Europass CV format is generated automatically from your Europass profile. While this can’t be offered by any other site, you can find a variety of CV templates that can be customised to European standards. That allows you to use the same structure, as below, with an even better design.
jim.myddleton@example example.co.uk | 07912345678
53 Church Way, Bradford BD19JR
Office Manager | Halpert & Co Paper Company - Leeds, West Yorkshire 03/2019 - CURRENT
- Managed 20-employee office, supervising workers, enhancing productivity and driving efficiency.
- Oversaw office budget to responsibly allocate equipment and resources.
- Improved overall office efficiency by establishing smooth workflow processes, monitoring daily productivity and implementing modifications to eliminate operational bottlenecks.
Internal Communications Manager | A&J Legal - Bradford, West Yorksire 01/2013 - 03/2019
- Applied brand awareness and appropriate tone of voice across all communications to strengthen company image.
- Maximised communication opportunities through intensive forward-planning and events research.
- Devised and executed aligned communication strategy across six platforms.
Office Assistant | Happy Homes Estate Agents - Bradford, West Yorkshire 07/2007 - 12/2012
- Managed day-to-day admin, including file organisation, spreadsheet development, and report writing.
- Created weekly and monthly reports and presentations, enabling improved operational analysis.
- Maintained office files for reliable reference, including electronic and hard copies.
- Mother tongue - English
- Interpersonal - Strong leadership for staff teams of 10+
- Organisation - Multi-tasking ability and deadline driven
- Language skills - Spanish C1
- Job-related skills - Business administration and documentation control
- Digital skills - Sage and Microsoft Office
University of Leeds, Leeds
Bachelor of Business Administration
What is Europass?
Europass is an initiative launched by the European Union, aiming to improve the clarity of qualifications and enable easier mobility of citizens throughout Europe. It comprises an online profile, which includes all of a candidate’s background information, qualifications, skills, and work history.
When kept up to date, that profile can be shared directly with recruiters or used to make an EU CV. For the latter, you simply choose ‘create a CV’, then ‘start from your profile’, before adding or removing sections to tailor your CV to a specific role or sector.
Aside from your CV, Europass gives you access to the following documents:
- Mobility document – Recording any work experience or training obtained in another country with help from partner organisations.
- Certificate supplement – Clearly describing skills and knowledge from vocational training to make it more easily understood by foreign organisations.
- Diploma supplement – Similar to the above, this document makes it easier to understand the skills and knowledge acquired in your degree or diploma.
Previously, Europass included a language passport to outline candidates’ proficiency in different languages based on the. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). However, this has now been integrated to the CV profile as part of the skills section.
When to use Europass
Europass can be a useful platform and a suitable way to create a CV, depending on your circumstances. Here are some of the scenarios where you should consider creating a profile and CV through Europass…
When you’re unsure about requirements
If you’re unsure about the conventions, requirements, or preferences when applying for jobs in a foreign country, Europass is a safe bet. The structure is recognised by recruiters throughout the EU, removing the guesswork with other CV formats.
When it’s requested by recruiters
There may be some instances where recruiters specifically request applications through Europass. Naturally, it’s best to follow their guidance by downloading and sending Europass documents or sharing a link to your Europass profile if explicitly requested.
When you want something for free
Sometimes it just comes down to cost. Because Europass is completely free, it’s an easier alternative to writing a CV from scratch while being cheaper than the other options. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s the best. As you might expect, Europass doesn’t quite match the paid alternatives, but it’s a reasonable compromise if you’re looking to cut down on costs - providing the most basic version of what you need.
When not to use Europass
Despite all of the above, there are various instances where Europass and its CV builder are not suitable. Here are some of the instances where you should definitely opt for an alternative CV format.
When you want to stand out
The documents available through Europass come with a standard design and structure. When you’re applying for competitive roles, that won’t be enough to make you stand out for all the right reasons. If you want to impress recruiters, a professional, customisable CV template will put you head and shoulders above the rest. Using a European CV format will ensure that you still tick all the boxes in terms of structure and content, but with a much better design.
When you want a one-page CV
Writing your CV on one-page is a great way to keep recruiters happy and make sure they don’t lose interest. If you want to build a concise one-page CV, Europass isn’t the best option. Because you don’t have full freedom with the design, it’s hard to cut down the length without sacrificing some of your achievements or skills.
When you’re applying for jobs in the UK
Despite being in the EU for the best part of five decades, Europass is seldom used by UK applicants. Most UK recruiters are unfamiliar with the Europass CV format, and will simply see it as a middling CV. Unfortunately, that could mean your CV is overlooked along with all your wonderful skills and experience. Here’s why…
Dos and don’ts for the best Europass CVs
When you’re building a curriculum vitae, Europass is pretty straightforward and basic. But there are still some dos and don’ts to be aware of…
- DO: tailor your CVEuropass allows you to customise your CV based on specific jobs. Select ‘create a CV’, ‘start from your profile’, then go through your experience, education, and skills with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything is relevant to the job at hand.
- DO: use a reverse-chronological orderThe Europass CV is a format in its own right. But there are still some universal CV writing rules that apply. Listing your most recent job roles and qualifications first allows recruiters to see the most relevant information before working backwards to find out more.
- DON’T: forget to proofreadBecause you’re generating a CV directly from your Europass profile, some information could get lost along the way as you check and uncheck boxes to remove certain details. As such, you should always give your CV a final read through to make sure everything works as a whole and remove any errors.
- DON’T: share your profileWhen applying for jobs with Europass, you have the choice to generate a CV or share a link directly to your profile. Although it might be the quickest option, the latter can appear unprofessional to recruiters. It’s worth a bit more of your time to create a CV, which can be made to fit the job at hand.
Frequently Asked Questions about Europass CV
Who uses a Europass CV?
Europass CVs are used for a wide range of job roles, experience levels, and countries throughout Europe. They’re ideal for candidates applying in foreign countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, and France, who might be unaware of the conventions for that particular region. Here’s a list of the full 30 countries that will accept a Europass format CV:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
What is wrong with Europass?
The main issue with Europass is that it’s too formulaic. It makes it harder for candidates to stand out with quite limited design and layout options. As a result, the Europass CV you can create is bland, basic, monochromatic and easy for recruiters to overlook. Compare that to an impressive European CV and you’ll see why recruiters are drawn to one and not the other.
On top of that, it’s difficult to perfect your CV without compromising on the content. With a specialist CV builder, you can tweak things like section spacing, line spacing and font size to make your CV fit flawlessly on one or two pages. Europass has no such option, so you end up with a CV that’s never quite right.
Is Europass free?
Yes – Europass is funded by the European Union, so it’s completely free to use. That means there’s no cost to build your profile, create a Europass CV, download as a PDF, and even edit your CV on Europass.
Should I use a Europass CV?
While the Europass CV is accepted in numerous countries, there are no places where it’s the only format accepted. As a result, it’s never a requirement when applying for a job - nor is it the best option. The Europass CV format is simply the most basic, free option that provides a basic template for a European CV.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you prioritise. If you’re looking for something that’s more convenient than going it alone and solely concerned about costs, Europass is a good fit. If you want to create a CV that recruiters truly love, there are plenty of other CV templates to choose from.
Europass CV – key takeaways
All in all, Europass is a basic safety net for applicants throughout the EU. It allows you to build a profile, from which you can create a standard, passable CV for free.
Because the Europass CV format is widely recognised, the platform and documents are suitable for candidates moving between different European countries. However, they’re not a requirement, nor are they the best option. You can easily build a European CV that ticks all the boxes with a much better design.
If you do use Europass, remember to put in the extra effort by:
- Sending a Europass CV rather than a link to your profile.
- Tailoring your skills, qualifications, and experience to the job you’re applying for.
- Proofreading your application before downloading and sending.
But if you really want to impress recruiters, it’s well worth looking at the alternatives. Using our online builder, you can tailor your CV to European standards while still benefiting from professionally made CV templates with impressive designs.
Build your perfect europass CV format in 3 easy steps
- Choose a professionally designer CV format
- Add expertly written, tried-and-tested phrases
- Download your CV and apply!