What's wrong with the following resume

First CV: How to write a professional CV

At some point it will start. Before the first job comes the first application - and with it the first résumé. Content, structure, formulation, layout and design: not all that easy when you do it for the first time. Don't worry: a complete and professional résumé is not rocket science. Whether high school graduates, trainees, interns or young professionals - to convince HR managers of the previous career you only need a few basics and a good layout. You can find both here. In the following article you will find numerous tips and tricks on how to write the perfect first résumé and which details you should pay particular attention to ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Writing the First Resume: The Basics

The résumé is the heart and central element of your application. Most recruiters read it first because it shows them at a glance whether applicants meet all the required qualifications from the job advertisement. Clarity, a clear structure and the utmost care when creating the first résumé therefore have top priority. Anyone who is sloppy here is sawing on their own branch.

First résumé: the most important points in brief

  • Tabular form
    The so-called tabular curriculum vitae is standard in applications today. The times are on the left, the previous stations, internships and skills are on the right.
  • Antichronological structure
    HR managers are first interested in the latest experiences. Therefore the curriculum vitae is structured in reverse chronological form ("American"). In other words: You start at the top with the current position and then work your way back in time.
  • Mandatory information and voluntary additions
    The mandatory information in every résumé includes: personal data, previous professional experience, school, training, studies and special knowledge. However, voluntary information is: further education (s), international experience (s), interests and hobbies.
  • Better with application photo
    You don't have to attach an application photo to your CV today. It is voluntary, but is welcomed. Pay attention to the highest quality: no machine picture, no selfie, no full-body photos from vacation. Professionally done, it shows you seriously in half profile - and with a smile.
  • CV with signature
    The CV is ALWAYS signed by hand at the end. With the signature you document the truthfulness of the information provided. The place and date in front of it also show that the résumé is up-to-date.

For example, a first résumé could look like this:

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Use our professional designs and free application templates to apply. More than 120 professional templates for cover letters, covers and résumés as WORD files. Including sample texts for various professions and jobs. Ensure the perfect first impression of your application.

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Structure and content of the résumé

The content of the curriculum vitae is basically divided into sections and sorted according to headings. This creates a clear structure. The names for the individual headings can vary. The structure, however, remains the same. The sorting is done in decreasing order of importance - starting with the personal data.

Headline and name

A curriculum vitae in tabular form always has a heading. There is at the top and as large as possible "CV" or "CV" PLUS "Your full name (first name and surname)" Whether you write your name first and then your CV or put the heading in front of your name or put it below or next to it is one Question of layout.

Personal Information

Personal information includes:

  • Full name (if not already in the heading)
  • Address (street, zip code, city)
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Date of birth and place of birth

This information is mandatory. Marital status, nationality or religious denomination, on the other hand, are voluntary information. In certain industries - for example in the social sector - this information can be important.

intended position

It is a little résumé trick that has already helped many applicants to stand out from the crowd: State - before the "professional career" begins - the position you are aiming for (from the job advertisement)! (see video tip):

In this way, you not only emphasize your aspirations and your commitment, but also document that this tabular résumé was only written for this employer and only for this position. Small line - big effect!

Professional background

The professional experience in the résumé forms the core of your vita and should be formulated as precisely as possible. The times (standard: MM / YYYY - MM / YYYY) are on the left, the stations on the right. It is important that the times are listed “without gaps”. If there is a break of more than two months between two stations, one speaks of a "gap in the résumé" that needs to be explained. Shorter time-outs are granted to the job search and application phase.

The informative value of the tabular curriculum vitae stands and falls with the presentation of professional experience. In the case of job starters and the first résumé, these are usually quite scarce. At this point, show in as much detail as possible where and what you have already worked. But only what is relevant for the position, please. Anyone who applies as a businessman or woman can mention that he or she has already worked in the trade as a temporary worker or saleswoman. On the other hand, it doesn't matter that you once delivered the newspaper. It's all about working out the benefits that previous experiences in the new job offer.

The following structure has proven itself in professional experience:

  • Position: What job (title) did you have? (Better translate English or cryptic job titles.)
  • Employer: Which companies did you work for? What kind of companies were they (size, number of employees)? The correct company name with company form and registered office is mandatory.
  • Tasks and achievements: What were you responsible for, what did you achieve? Numbers underpin success!

You can structure the stages in your career, for example, as follows:

Internships, mini jobs, part-time jobs or temporary jobs are designed according to the same pattern. Keep it as brief as possible and formulate it concisely. No prose, telegram-style cues are enough.

Education / school

After the professional career, the educational path follows. You can also call this section “training”, “studies” or “educational path”. The training on the résumé includes studies (possible scholarships), training, school education and school leaving certificates (including grades and thesis topic). But military or alternative service can also be mentioned here.

Who has been abroad for some time or completed a semester abroad, you should definitely mention it. These experiences increase your intercultural competence. In that case, please mention the country and university where you studied. If you don't have a school leaving certificate yet and still want to apply, please state your prospective school leaving certificate here.

Since attending a primary school in Germany is a matter of course and is evident from the subsequent qualifications (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium), this information is generally irrelevant for employers. It is only interesting to state the primary school in your CV if you are applying for a student internship. If you are applying for a bachelor's degree, this information can be useful if you want to document a positive development (significant increase in grades). In this case, however, the period, the name of the primary school and the essential grades are sufficient.


This entry is intended for young professionals who have no relevant professional experience. The experience gained during the internship is all the more interesting. Make sure to relate it to the job and state the skills that you have been able to acquire. You can represent internships in your résumé, for example:

Special Knowledge

Additional qualifications, further training and certificates round off the profile. Again, only select skills and knowledge that could be important for the position. Basic rule for the first résumé: All information must offer added value for the intended job. Everything else is not relevant and should be deleted.

Interests and hobbies

Especially for young professionals, the career path and the training are relatively interchangeable. At this point you can differentiate yourself with your interests and hobbies. For example through ...

  • Engagement in (sports) clubs
  • Volunteering
  • International experience
  • Foreign languages ​​/ language trips
  • IT and EDP skills
  • Driving license, forklift license, crane license
  • Awards, publications
  • credentials

The same applies here: Only what is qualified and relevant for the position or underlines important personal characteristics is mentioned.

Place, date and signature

Both - place, date and signature - should be handwritten in the tabular curriculum vitae.

Length and layout of the curriculum vitae

A professional résumé is never longer than three A4 pages. A first résumé usually only ends up on one page. But that's okay as long as it remains meaningful. Try to give your résumé additional structure and clarity by playing with a few design elements:

  • Lines
  • Font sizes
  • Font colors
  • Bold

All of that can helpemphasize and emphasize important information. Please only use a maximum of two fonts in your résumé. You should also use colors sparingly. Especially when it comes to applications in conservative industries. The first resume should not have more than one spot color (in addition to black and white). It is smart to choose the color that matches the company and the job you are applying for. This is a subtle way of signaling your affiliation.

Order in the application folder: This is how the résumé is arranged

The tabular curriculum vitae comes IN the application folder. The application letter belongs on top. It is up to you whether you also use a cover sheet to stand out from the crowd. The résumé is in the first position in the folder - or second, if you use a cover sheet.

Basically, so-called complete application documents or a complete application folder are structured as follows:

Tips and tricks for a professional resume

We understand that many candidates are unsure about their first résumé. That is probably why you are reading this article. The uncertainty is completely normal. Others feel the same way. As banal as it sounds, the best advice against uncertainty and inexperience is: practice, practice, practice.

Create multiple résumés, experiment with our free templates and designs, try different variations, and ask friends to rate them:

  • How do they affect you?
  • Do you come across as serious and competent?
  • Can the most important things be recorded immediately?
  • Are there no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors?

The feedback shows you advantages and disadvantages of the individual résumé drafts. It's a kind of first practical test - without it counting straight away. The following tips and tricks have also proven themselves time and again when writing your first résumé:

Research more about the industry

Anyone who already has relevant professional experience is usually very familiar with the industry and the respective requirements of the job. On the other hand, if you are faced with the task of writing your first résumé, you have to do some research. For example, look for other job advertisements from the same employer in online job exchanges and find out which skills are being sought over and over again or which specialists are in demand.

It is not uncommon for a lot of this information to be found on the company's career pages on the Internet or in the job advertisement and its sub-text. Detailed explanations of how you can decipher job advertisements can be found HERE.

Be brief

The mistake of being too detailed is often made with the first résumé in particular. That is well meant because you want to position yourself as broadly as possible. But it is not effective. The résumé is about a compact overview of your suitability for the position. Everything else - motivation, passion, personality - belongs in the application letter. Even if it sounds tough: It's all about the facts that have to be conveyed precisely. Quality always comes before quantity. And relevant successes are most convincing. These can be represented as follows, for example:

Put the company first

You should present yourself in the application. The résumé will only be convincing, however, if the focus is not on your vita, but on the benefit that you can give to the employer in the future. What does that mean? Don't just focus on what you already can do, but on how you use your knowledge and skills to move the company forward.

This works particularly well in the section “Special knowledge” as well as more limited ones in the section “Interests and hobbies”. Make a wise choice here, what you list there and how you describe this knowledge and qualifications. Thanks to the preliminary research (first point), you can better align this with the future field of activity. And you will become the most suitable applicant for the vacancy.

Mistakes in the first résumé: Please avoid these

With so many details, a few sources of error automatically arise. Unfortunately, it also happens that applicants repeatedly make typical (and avoidable) mistakes when creating their first résumé or fall into classic résumé traps. This includes, for example, a recognisably recycled résumé (bulk goods!), Typing errors, incorrect company names or chronological errors in the sequence of the information. Such faux pas ‘quickly maneuver applicants out of the picture. You should therefore avoid the following mistakes when writing your first résumé:

Content error

  • Wrong information / lies
  • spelling mistake
  • Cryptic job titles
  • No evidence of knowledge
  • Successes without numbers & examples
  • Exaggerated language skills
  • Gaps in the career
  • Dangerous hobbies

Layout error

  • Bulk goods / copied template
  • Missing structure
  • Little clarity
  • Outdated application photo
  • Too much text
  • Too many fonts
  • Style break (inconsistent)
  • More than 3 pages

History: The first curriculum vitae is from Leonardo da Vinci

Oh, by the way, the answer to the question: Who did the first résumé actually come from? Did you know? The answer is: by Leonardo da Vinci. He had to apply to the Duke of Milan in 1482 and wrote what is known to be the first documented résumé in history. In it, the jack of all trades Leonardo da Vinci listed his numerous skills and professional experience - just as thousands of applicants do to this day.

Later in the Middle Ages, for the first time, if they wanted to get a job, English craftsmen had to summarize their professional experience and specialist knowledge in writing for potential clients - or “sum up” them. This eventually became the English resume. The counterpart to our German résumé.

[Photo credit: MicroOne by Shutterstock.com]

Further sources and advice
Application tips
➠ Application templates
➠ 11 application forms
➠ ABC of application tips
➠ Application folder
➠ Application photo
➠ cover sheet
➠ Brief profile

Tips on the résumé
➠ CV in tabular form
➠ Resume templates
➠ Internships on the résumé
➠ hobbies on the resume
➠ Unemployment on the résumé
➠ gaps in the résumé

Tips for covering letters
➠ Cover letter
➠ Introductory sentence in the cover letter
➠ Final sentence in the cover letter
➠ Interests in the cover letter
➠ Strengths in the cover letter
➠ Attachment directory

Tips on the job reference
➠ Assess job reference
➠ Secret codes in the certificate
➠ Interim report
➠ Job description
➠ References & samples

Special applications
➠ Unsolicited application
➠ Internal application
➠ Discreet application
➠ Email application
➠ Online application
➠ Application as a temporary worker
➠ Application for mini jobs
➠ Application after termination