How to write a resume and prepare necessary documents

The first time I started searching work and writing my applications I was overwhelmed. It was so important to search a job, but instead I procrastinated a lot. Unfortunately I started with searching the position and writing the letter of application. Writing the resume and preparing needed documents is a better way to start.

The goal of your application is to get an interview and eventually the position. In everyday life a personnel managers has little time to look over an application. That’s why your application needs to arouse interest. Your presentation needs to be convincing but yet brief.


Writing the contents of a resume is relatively easy. First you just need to write down your basic information followed by a chronological ordered List of school and job history. Additionally write down your skills and optionally some additional information.

Creatively it is difficult. From the beginning you have to think about the structure and the design. It must be appealing, clear and all the important data must be easy to find. Also it should match your application letter.

Until now I have only applied to German and American Companies. It is not enough to take your resume and just translate it. There are some differences. In braces I marked the parts which are only needed for German (DE) or American (USA/EN) resumes.

Picture: (DE)

Go to a professional photographer and take some business pictures of yourself.

In Germany a picture is (almost) obligatory. In the English-speaking countries it is a no-go!

Personal Data:

  • Name and last Name

  • Address

  • Phone and/or Cell phone number

  • Birthday and Birthplace (DE)

  • Religion (DE; only needed for certain Positions such as teacher in a catholic school)

  • Family status (DE)

  • Nationality (DE)

As you can see, the English-speaking countries spare information which could lead to discrimination in any form.

Objective: (USA/EN)

In the objective you write down the exact position you are applying for.

Professional Life:

  • Job title

  • Position and job description

  • Employer

  • Place and time period

  • Achievements

  • Special projects

  • Internships


  • Discipline and orientation

  • Degree (Bachelor, Master …)

  • Time period

  • Thesis (with time period)

  • Optional your grades


  • Visited schools and types

  • Time period

  • Degree

Normally you can leave out this point, except you’re 30 or older and you have not much to show.


  • Programs

  • Languages you speak

  • Tools

  • Techniques

Write down all the skills you have. Take also things out of their context. Most people for example forget to mention their driving licenses, because of the context.

Hobbies / Engagement

  • Interests

  • Volunteer work

  • Hobbies

References (USA/EN in DE optional)

Basically you have to write down 2 people who can give information about your development. So the criteria is, that the person worked with you for a longer time period. The person should be professional in his field. Most of the time chiefs or superiors. You can assume that they will be contacted.

In Germany it’s not common to write down some references. But there are some exceptions. Your reference is

  • a well known expert who has worked with you

  • or he is somebody important like a mayor.

Date and Signature (DE)

The date should be the same as on the application letter. If you have a nice signature, scan it and fill it here as a picture.

I recommend to write down everything to every point. Then you have a resume template. For every job you apply to, you create a specific version. You exclude non relevant information and emphasize other which are important for a specific position. I always changed the focus of my studies for each position I applied for.

Note that the design needs to match your application letter. So think about it beforehand.

Besides that, there are some formal rules you should respect. All dates have the format: Month.Year. You can write out the month or the numbers. Only exception is the date of the signature. There you write the date of the day. Phone numbers should be written with your area code or country code. Line distance is 1,5.


Scan all necessary documents and save them, preferably as PDFs or as JPEGs. Certificates, employment references, degree certificate, diploma …

I created a career folder on my computer. Inside it I have a folder for all documents and for templates. That’s my system, you can do it however you like. But keep in mind that your resume is important your whole life. If you lose your job, you can immediately start searching a new one. Therefore it is also important to update it all 3-6 months.

Call on action:

  • Create a resume

  • or update your resume

Your man,

– Gaius Wolf