European CVs

Have you ever heard of the Europass CV – or maybe even have one? It’s a standard format CV which has been promoted by the EU for some years as the CV format which is used by employers throughout Europe.

Unfortunately, it really doesn’t work well for UK employers – and I suspect many other European nationalities as well.

The issue of Europass CVs was raised recently by a careers colleague at York University (Hi Janice!) and drew a fairly sceptical response from other careers consultants.

Some pros:

  • it’s pretty easy to create with the tools offered by Europass (online creation or download templates)
  • it has a detailed way of classifying your language capability
  • the EU institutions love it (presumably)

Some of the cons are:

  • the format uses lots of space to say not very much, with extra lines added for administrative or irrelevant info (eg. 2 lines for “Level in national or international classification” under education and training – I think that means how does your PhD or Masters translate into some international classification which I didn’t recognise)
  • it doesn’t allow you much space to give information which UK employers would want, including detailed skills examples
  • it encourages you to add information which should not appear on your CV (the UK example includes both gender and date of birth – it’s illegal in the UK to use either of these to select candidates)

If these are the issues we can spot from a UK perspective then I’d be surprised if there weren’t similar issues for CVs for other European countries. Although standardisation is attractive to EU bodies, applications for jobs generally follow country conventions, which can vary widely, even if written in the same language.

Therefore, if you’re putting together a CV to apply elsewhere in Europe, or are struggling to land a job in the UK with your Europass CV, I’d suggest heading on over to our recently revamped

  • Work and study overseas” webpages – with information on a wide range of countries either directly on our website or through our access to “Going Global” applications and interview tips resource (University of Manchester login required).
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