Writing a Europass CV – Part 2Posted: January 2, 2012
The Europass CV provides a standardized but flexible CV template intended to be used all over Europe. In the first installment of our two-part article on how to write a Europass CV, we covered the optional photo, personal information section, targeted job or occupational field section, and the work experience portion.
In this article, we will cover the information that usually goes on the second half of the Europass CV. Remember that any section can be removed if it is not relevant, unless specifically noted below.
Now, let’s pick up where we left off:
5. List your education and training, also in reverse chronological order.
Since diplomas and degrees vary across Europe, this section is intentionally flexible. You can include anything from a vocational certification all the way up to a Ph.D.
As with the “work experience” section, you want to start by including the month and year when the training or education began and the month and year when you completed the educational or training requirements.
Then, write the full title of the diploma, certificate, degree, or qualification earned.
Next, provide an overview of the subjects you studied. We encourage you to use bullets, combine related subjects, and focus on subjects that are relevant to the position.
Finally, give the full name of the institution where you received the training. If applicable, give the full street address, including the country.
If the qualification you earned is categorized according to a national or international system, name the level within that classification system. If you’re not sure, ask the school or training center.
6. Start the “personal skills and competencies section” by detailing your language skills.
Start this section by listing your mother tongue or tongues. This refers to your native language or languages, which you learned to speak as a child. This information is required.
Next, if you know any other languages, assess your proficiency with each according to the standardized European language proficiency levels. There are six European levels of language proficiency, as described by the “Common European Framework of Reference: Learning, Teaching, Assessment.” They are labeled, from lowest to highest, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.
The most basic level is A1, which is described as follows:
- Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
The most advanced level is C2, which is described as follows:
- Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
The Europass CV template provides a table for you to assess yourself in terms of your listening, reading, spoken interaction, spoken production, and writing ability for each extra language you know. It is not uncommon for your abilities to be at different levels for the same language.
Please do not try to exaggerate your language skills! Many people in Europe are bilingual or multilingual, so your language skills may very well be tested at the interview.
7. Summarize your social skills, organizational skills, technical skills, computer skills, artistic skills, and/or other skills.
Each of the above categories has its own section on the Europass CV template. Social skills and artistic skills are defined in the everyday sense.
However, the difference between organizational skills, technical skills, and computer skills can be more subtle. Organizational skills are defined by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training as related to the “coordination and administration of people, projects, and budgets.” Technical skills refer to “mastery of specific kinds of equipment, machinery, etc. other than computers, or to technical skills and competencies in a specialized field.” Computer skills, then, relate to the use of applications, software proficiency, and programming skills.
“Other skills” is a catch-all category for relevant hobbies, sports, and volunteerism.
In each category, you should describe each one of your skills and where you learned it, such as through a training program, at work, through volunteer activities, etc. You may remove any section that isn’t relevant to the position for which are you are applying.
8. Include your driver’s license(s) information.
If you have a driver’s license, list it here, along with the vehicle category. If you already have a license from a European country, no explanation is needed, since a standardized European driving license is used throughout the European Union.
9. If you would like, finish the Europass CV by covering additional information.
“Additional information” is another catch-all category for including bits and pieces that don’t fit elsewhere.
10. If you’re attaching any items to your CV, mention them in the “annexes” section.
If you’re attaching any items to your Europass CV, list them here. Generally, you do not want to attach extra materials unless requested or otherwise expected by the employer, since they will probably not be read.
Those are the basics of how to write a Europass CV. Check out the Europass website to see sample CVs. As you will see from the samples, most Europass CVs do not include all of the skills categories mentioned above-that would make for a pretty long CV.
As a final note, remember that the standard paper size across Europe is ISO A4 paper, which measures about 8.27 × 11.69 inches. Always print your Europass CV on high quality A4 paper.
In closing, while the Europass CV may seem a little formulaic to those used to creating highly individualized resumes, its simple, uniform style does allow it to express an applicant’s qualifications while minimizing the friction of cultural and language barriers. If you are planning to apply to jobs in multiple European countries, it is worth your time to write a Europass CV.