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Many European students use Europass CVs. This isn't a good format to use in the UK as it doesn't allow the writer to sell their skills effectively and doesn't allow for tailoring to different jobs. Also the restrictive formatting allows little space for content.
The only competency it is useful for is language skills. The level of foreign language skills described in the table is good for applying for jobs where several languages are essential.
It doesn't match the expectations of UK recruiters, so shouldn't be used in the UK. The Europass format may be requested by EU institutions but in all other cases use a UK format CV, even for jobs in Brussels. It's a poor format to use, so should only be used if explicitly asked for.
Placements in France - the Convention de Stage
This is required by French companies for an internship or placement which is a required part of your degree. In essence, it is a contract between the intern, their employer and their academic institution and must be signed by all three.
This should not be a problem for current students, who should contact the Erasmus Team: email@example.com or their department for advice.
However, French employers often ask graduates applying for internships to provide this document. This is not usually possible as the University no longer has any responsibility for the graduate. You will need to try and negotiate directly with the company but, if they usually recruit current students for their internships, this could prove difficult.
In Spain there is a similar contract called the Convenio de Practicas.
If you are applying for jobs or placements abroad, do be aware that the style of applications may differ from that used in the UK. Since the birth of the Internet, CVs have moved closer to an international style but there are still substantial differences in the CV style used in different countries.
In many European countries such as France, Belgium and Germany, and some non-European countries such as China, it’s common for CVs to include a a passport-sized photograph in the top right-hand corner whereas in the UK and the USA photographs are frowned upon as this may contravene equal opportunity legislation - a photograph makes it easier to reject a candidate on grounds of ethnicity, sex or age.
In France, your CV should be in French. CVs are similar to those used in the UK and should be no more than two pages long. Include the dates and levels of your qualifications, giving the equivalent in the French education system if possible (for example, the usual equivalent to A Levels would be the French Baccalaureate). You should include your reading, writing and oral levels in French and mention if you have lived, worked or studied in France before. The covering letter which accompanies your CV is in France called the lettre de motivation. It should be no more than one page in length and again should be in French.
In Germany international companies may have vacancies in both English and German. A CV (called lebenslauf) is used more than application forms in Germany. You must give precisely what the employer asks you for. It’s common to sign your CV at the bottom. You also need a one page covering letter, copies of all qualifications from secondary school onwards, evidence of any professional experience you have, including professional certificates and references from universities and previous employers.
In the USA applications are similar to the UK. In the USA a CV is known as a resume and is short and concise: usually one page long but it can be up to two pages. It should be accompanied by a covering letter. Resumes should have a few lines at the beginning on your career aims and give the employer an idea of what skills and experience you can offer. Give a summary of your experience and qualifications. List educational institutions attended, qualifications achieved and the dates you achieved them; you don’t need to include your GCSE and A Levels (or equivalents) if you have a degree. Include relevant skills, as well as any awards, publications and membership of any professional groups. Don’t include details of your age, date of birth or sex as this may break equal opportunities law. Referees are also not usually included at this stage. If applying speculatively to a company abroad it’s a good idea to suggest in your covering letter a telephone or Skype interview at the next step if the company is interested in you. This is very cheap and a Skype interview in particular may give the company confidence that it’s worth inviting you to a face to face interview and perhaps paying your travel expenses.
For further help with CVs and covering letters see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/cvexamples.htm
For help on CV styles for particular countries see the Prospects link for whichever country you are interested in to the left and also Iagora www.iagora.com/iwork/resumes/index.html
bab.la phrase dictionary http://en.bab.la/phrases provides useful phrases for CV writing, letters of application, and business letters in 14 languages including French, German, Spanish, Polish, Chinese and Japanese.
For information on teaching English as a foreign language in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/tefl.htm#abrdasia
There are many summer jobs available in other countries, particularly in tourism and leisure (including American summer camps for children). The directory "Summer Jobs Abroad" is a good starting point.
There are also some opportunities for teachers of English as a foreign language. Organisations such as Teaching Abroad or APASS recruit for summer placements and, unlike most longer-term jobs in TEFL, a qualification is not needed. Also see our TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE page for this.
Last fully updated 2017
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