When you’re writing a CV, European recruiters can seem like a completely unknown audience – not least because there are more than 40 countries on the continent. That’s where a European CV format can help out.
Often referred to as a Europass CV, this format aims to provide a standard European CV layout so applicants can outline their skills, experience, and education in a simple and professional manner. It stems from the Europass initiative, which allows applicants to create on online profile, from which they can generate a basic CV with a European format.
It can be used by applicants across Europe, who need a European standard CV to apply for jobs in one of the continent’s many countries. While preferences might vary slightly between the likes of Germany, France, Italy, or Spain, the European style CV will ensure your skills and experience are communicated effectively in a manner that recruiters are familiar with.
Of course, you don’t have to go through the process of setting up a Europass account and profile to build a European style CV. Instead, you can simply create a CV for European recruiters based on the conventions they’re looking for. That’s where we can help.
We’ve brought together a collection of European format CV samples with expert advice on what you need to include, how to master the European CV layout, and when to use this CV format. You can then use our CV maker to build your own document, before applying for jobs in countries across the continent.
What is the structure of the European CV format
The European standard CV format isn’t miles away from most other styles of UK CV. As well as listing your contact details, it includes dedicated sections for your experience or work history, key skills and capabilities, and your all-important education. Each section has its own requirements to be aware of, in line with the requirements of a European style CV.
[At the top of your European CV, contact details are a must. List your address, telephone number, and email address alongside your name. With this CV format, European recruiters may also be looking for your date of birth, gender, nationality, and even a picture – so this is the place to include them.]
[List your previous jobs with a few bullet points about your main responsibilities and achievements. You should keep these responsibilities concise to stop your European CV becoming too long. You should list your most recent (or current) position first, so recruiters can work backwards through your career.]
[This section appears much higher up in the CV format for European countries, sometimes coming after the contact details but most often following your work history. Like your work history, you should use reverse-chronological order with the most recent qualifications first.]
[When writing a European CV in English, your skills section should be broken down into:
- Mother tongue – The language you speak naturally and natively
- Language – List language skills levels on your European CV, ideally using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
- Communication – Also known as interpersonal skills
- Organisational – Describe your skills and competencies for organisation and time management
- Job-related skills – This is where you’ll include job-specific, technical skills
- Digital skills – Finally, summarise your computer skills with a focus, where relevant, on your specific field
For each section, you should provide a specific achievement or detail that shows your capability or experience.]
What about a personal statement?
When it comes to the European CV, English applicants may wonder where to add their professional summary or personal statement. This is one of the main points of difference between a European CV and its English counterpart. Put simply, the European CV format does not include a personal statement. Recruiters are looking for facts about your work history and skills rather than a descriptive paragraph about yourself.
444 Kingsway, Manchester M60 3TT
Commis Chef, 04/2019 – Current
The Occidental – Manchester
- Experimented with new dish creations by incorporating customer recommendations and feedback.
- Verified compliance in preparation of menu items and customer special requests.
- Monitored kitchen area and staff to ensure overall safety and proper food handling techniques.
Commis Chef, 07/2014 – 04/2019
The Paddington – Manchester
- Maintained and cleaned all kitchen appliances including grill, stove, and oven.
- Considered seasonal product pricing and availability in development of promotional dishes and menu selections.
- Hired, trained and managed all kitchen staff, including employee development, issuing disciplinary action, and conducting performance reviews.
Kitchen Assistant, 08/2011 – 07/2014
Roundtable Restaurant – Manchester
- Used kitchen equipment according to manufacturer's instructions and company safety protocols.
- Prepared dishes for catering events or during high-volume shifts.
- Adhered to company quality constraints and industry best practices to ensure guest satisfaction.
NVQ Level 3: Food And Professional Cookery, 2011
The Manchester College - Manchester
- Mother tongue - English
- Languages - French C2
- Interpersonal - Worked with kitchen teams of 10+
- Organisational - Calmly prepared food orders on time during busy shifts.
- Job-specific - Food preparation, pantry restocking, fine-dining expertise.
- Digital - Used stock management software and made orders online.
European CV format samples
Sometimes it’s easier to see things put into practice. To give you a better idea of how to write your CV, we’ve listed a few European style CV samples.
We understand that not everyone has the same background, which is why our CV examples cover a range of experience levels.
Sample 1 - Professional European CV
This European standard CV template is an ideal starting point for a wide array of candidates. It provides the ideal layout for a substantial amount of experience in multiple roles. Simple subheadings keep everything well organised and allow recruiters to easily skim-read.
Sample 2 – European CV format for students
The European CV format also works for students, as you can see in the sample above. Putting education first puts the emphasis on the candidate’s academic background, followed by plenty of transferable skills and duties from their work experience.
Sample 3 – Experienced European CV
As an experienced candidate, it’s best to use a European CV layout that’s clear and simple with a small font and minimal. That way, you can fit in various skills, responsibilities, and qualifications without overwhelming recruiters. You can use fewer responsibilities to describe each role if you want to delve deeper into your work history.
When to use a European CV format
As the name suggests, the European CV format works wonders throughout the continent. But not everyone follows the same path through their career, or through life. As a result, you may be unsure when, exactly, the European CV in English is suitable.
To make things easier, we’ll go through some examples of when you should European style CV sample...
When you live and work in Europe
Whether you were relocated by your current employer or simply upped sticks and now require work, it’s important that you update your CV according to where you’ll be working. In both cases, your previous CV may have been a little different and seemingly worked a treat. But don’t cut corners. A little more effort in adjusting your CV to the European standard CV format will pay dividends in the long run.
When you want to work abroad
On the other hand, you might still be based in the UK but looking to secure work before moving overseas. Again, recruiters will be expecting a CV like our European format example. You might think that including a personal statement and other UK conventions will set you apart. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Unless it’s specified otherwise, you should use the European CV layout.
Applying for a European job at a UK company
From AstraZeneca and BP to Unilever and HSBC, there are plenty of UK companies that have expanded beyond the British Isles. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means they don’t want a European CV format. Recruiters will still be working to the conventions of the country they’re in – and will be from that county themselves in many cases.
When you’re applying in English
Similar to the point above, some applicants can get thrown off by the idea of a European CV in English. If it’s in English, should it use a conventional UK or US layout? Or if it’s European, should it be written in German, Spanish, or another native language? English is used as a lingua franca (common, bridge, or mutual language) by countries throughout Europe. As a result, there are plenty of instances where a CV with European format and English content is required.
When it’s requested on the job listing
Another scenario when a European CV format is best is any time it’s requested on the job listing. Aside from all of the circumstances above, this could occur when a European company is hiring within another country. That could be the UK or somewhere further afield, outside of Europe entirely.
When you’re a student
Because it pushes education up the pecking order, a European academic CV is a great option for students or recent graduates. The European CV format for students can be used when applying for part-time or summer jobs throughout Europe. It’s also ideal for entry-level jobs after graduating abroad.
When not to use the European CV format
You shouldn’t use the European format if you’re applying for jobs within the UK, even if you are live in, work in, or come from a European country. Unless it’s specific on the job listing, as above, recruiters will not be expecting a European style CV. As such, they will be far more likely to put your CV to one side when they don’t see the standard layout with a personal statement.
Download European CV format by job
The job market in Europe is as diverse and wide-ranging as you would expect from the world’s second largest economy. As a result, you’ll find a vast array of industries and professions where the European CV format is used.
Dos and don’ts for the best European CVs
When you’re using the European style CV, the guidelines can vary quite a bit depending on what kind of role you’re applying for. However, there are a few universal rules that apply across the board…
- DO: use a templateWith a CV template, European standards are much easier to meet. Rather than starting from scratch, you’ll have a pre-made design to work from. That includes a suitable font style and size with professional colours and design features. From there, you can simply rearrange the sections to suit the European CV layout.
- DO: include detailsEuropean CVs are a lot more fact-based than other formats. This extends throughout every section of your CV. Make sure you back up key skills and responsibilities with specific statistics or examples, wherever possible. Naturally, you should also make sure all the dates and other details are present and correct for previous employment and education.
- DON’T use jargonUsing overly complex language or jargon is a bad idea with most CV formats, but especially the European standard CV. While European recruiters will have a very good grasp of the English language, jargon increases the chance of something getting misunderstood or lost in translation. With so many applications to get through, recruiters don’t have time to search for the meaning of various terms. Our top tip is to write your European CV in plain English to keep things clear and concise.
- DON’T include a personal statementOne of the biggest differences between a UK and European CV is the personal statement. In other formats, it’s used to introduce you as a candidate, highlighting your best skills, qualities, and experience. However, European recruiters simply aren’t expecting this section on your CV, so it could be hugely off-putting if it’s the first thing (and possibly the only thing) they see.
Frequently asked questions about European CV format
What is a European CV format?
A European CV format most often refers to the Europass document. This is one of five documents that make up the European Skills Passport, along with a Language Passport, Europass Mobility, Certificate Supplement and Diploma Supplement. The main purpose of these documents and this system is to make it easier for citizens to move and work across Europe by making their skills and qualifications clear and easy to understand. However, a European format, like the Europass CV,) can be created and sent as a standalone document for most jobs. While some countries might have their own preferences, they’re mostly insignificant and non-essential, meaning the European CV layout and structure is recognised across the continent.
Your European style CV should be a 1-2 page document that outlines your personal details, work experience, education history, and skills. Because clarity is key, the design is typically simple and professional. Standard fonts are a must with a size of 10-13 for paragraph text and slightly larger for headings. You should also make sure that the CV is broken down into sections, separated by clear subheadings. The CV itself can be written in the native language of a European country if you are capable of doing so. However, using the CV European format in English is commonplace for a variety of roles, given that English is used as a common language (lingua franca) throughout the continent.
How to write a CV with the European format?
- You should start by filling out your personal details including a phone number, email address, and address or country of residence, as a minimum.
- Your work history section will list previous roles, starting with the most recent (or your current role). For each job, you should list 3-5 key responsibilities backed up by specific facts or figures wherever possible.
- Next, move onto your education, listing qualifications which are relevant to the role. If you have over 10 years’ experience, anything below further and higher education (such as GCSEs) can usually be omitted.
Finally, your skills section should include your mother tongue, any other language skills plus details for communication, organisation, job-related skills, and digital skills backed up by examples.
Which CV format is best in Europe?
If it’s not already clear, the European CV format is the best option for most jobs on the continent. The universally accepted layout and structure allows you to showcase your skills, experience, and qualifications to recruiters with ease. That said, you should always check the job description to see whether any other CV format has been specified. Recruiters might prefer you to fill out an application form or send across a skills-based CV, for example.
Should I put a photo on my European CV?
Photos are common on CVs for recruiters throughout Europe. As such, there’s no harm – and it may even be beneficial – in putting a suitable picture of yourself at the top of your CV, alongside your name and contact details. The key word here is suitable. The photo should be of your head and shoulders only with a plain, neutral background and a simple, professional pose. Avoid photos with anybody else in the frame – and definitely don’t use a selfie!
Make your European CV online
Whether you’re applying for jobs overseas or you’re already based abroad and looking for work, the European standard CV can help you progress in your career. Best of all, it’s perfectly acceptable to apply for many roles using the CV European format in English.
As well as all of the advice above, there are some universal CV writing tips to bear in mind. Wherever possible, tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. Highlight essential skills and experience in the job description then include any that you meet or exceed in your CV.
All of this is made easier with our tried-and-tested CV builder. Start with a pre-made CV template then choose from professionally written content based on the role you’re applying for. You can then drag and drop sections to meet the European CV layout based on all of our advice. It’s the easy way to make your European CV online!
Build your perfect European CV format in 3 easy steps
- Choose a professionally designer CV format
- Add expertly written, tried-and-tested phrases
- Download your CV and apply!