Eight dos and don’ts for a perfect Spanish CV

With competition for jobs in Spain so fierce, a killer résumé is key to standing out from the crowd. Here are eight dos and don'ts that will mean the difference between the scrap pile and the final selection list.

Eight dos and don'ts for a perfect Spanish CV
Suffering from a severe case of CV writer's block? Photo of man frustrated with laptop: Shutterstock

DO make a visual impact: Try to see your CV as the front cover of a newspaper. Where do your eyes go to? What stands out and keeps you interested? Use symmetry but don’t go overboard with design, rather keep it neat and easy to read. Spanish employers also like to put a face to a name, so make sure you include a photo of yourself looking professional in the top corner of your résumé if you feel it adds more visually.

DON’T be too flowery: The Spanish may love the overgenerous language of Cervantes or García Lorca, but when it comes to CVs, they tend to prefer them as factual as possible. “The best way to describe job responsibilities on a Spanish CV is by using bullet points,” argues Abdona Mitsuko,recruiter at international headhunting agency Signium.

DON’T lie or hide the truth: The sole purpose of sending your CV is to get called up for a job interview, so make sure you don’t write anything you can’t back up face to face. If you only speak ten words of Italian don’t claim you’re fluent. Also, don’t leave an employer wondering why you left a previous job after a short period of time. “Whether it’s because of corporate restructuring or because your partner has been relocated abroad, give valid reasons. It gives you more credibility,” Mitsuko says.

DO use powerful action words: How something is written can convey the right or wrong message about you, regardless of what kind of employee you really are. So rather than say you were an "asistente administrativo" (administrative assistant), write you were "responsable de la gestión administrativa” (charged with carrying out administrative duties). Other powerful words in Spanish include conseguido (achieved), mejorado (improved), dirigido (managed) and creado (created).

DO adapt your CV for each job you apply for: Make sure the content of your cover letter is in line with your CV. The aim is the same: to prove that your particular set of skills and achievements are perfect for that specific job.  If you haven’t written a new résumé, make sure it’s up to date.“I've seen cover letters that were dated back to 2010!" Mitsuko jokes. "Not a good idea as it gives employers the impression the applicant is careless.”

DON’T hide where you come from: If you can speak a language or languages other than Spanish, then flaunt them on your CV. Samia Zeriahene, Senior Consultant at recruitment agency Euro London Appointments, says: “If someone is bilingual it’s important we see that at the top. The same applies to your nationality or country of upbringing. You may offer cultural or professional understanding other contenders don’t have so don’t think not having a work permit or social security number will immediately put off an employer.

DO have a social media presence: "LinkedIn is a very useful tool with which to reach out to prospective employers", says Mitsuko. "If you have a profile, make sure you include a link to it on your electronic CV." Also if you’re using Facebook or Twitter in a professional capacity, make sure there’s nothing on your profile which may work against you.

DON’T be too personal: "Include your date of birth rather than your age", Mitsuko recommends. "Unless your hobbies or interests are very specific to the job in hand, it's best to stick to the purely professional." The same applies to home addresses, home numbers or anything the employer doesn’t need to know to judge if you’re a contender or that can also divert attention from the CV’s key points. 

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