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Apllying for Jobs in Spain: How should my CV look?

By our Partner Barcelona Expat Life

From content to layout – everything you need to know about preparing a CV to apply for jobs in Barcelona and the rest of Spain.

If you are reading this article, you are either already living in or are considering relocating to Barcelona. One of the first things on your to-do list is to find a great job! Well, have no fear as the opportunities in Barcelona are endless. Whether you’re interested in working for one of the many start-ups the city has to offer, or you’re keen to work for an established multinational company, Barcelona has it all.

Despite being hit hard by the global economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, Spain and Barcelona still have many available job opportunities for Expats in a wide variety of sectors.

CV OR RESUME:

Every country has its specifics when it comes to CV’s or resumes. Before applying to a job in Barcelona, it’s essential to adapt to the local format and give the employer or recruiter what they want to see in order to increase your chances of landing the job.

At first glance, it seems like a CV & resume are pretty much the same thing – the sole purpose of both is for you to present your work experience and sell yourself. The truth is, however, that they are two different things. 

In principle, a Resume is much shorter, usually a single page summarising your skills, experience and education. It intends to highlight your main capabilities and strengths and demonstrate your suitability for a particular position. 

On the other hand, a CV can be longer and more detailed, usually consisting of up to 2 or more pages. It can, and should, describe in more detail each job you have had and each course you have taken. It is much more complete and provides more information, such as additional skills, personal information, accomplishments, etc. 

Usually, you will be asked to provide a CV as it gives a better overview for recruiters and talent acquisition teams, and only if specified in the job ad,  should you provide a resume. 

MAKE YOUR CV BARCELONA READY:

A ´Barcelona style CV´  should include the following sections:

PICTURE:

Photos are commonly included on CVs in Spain and placed in the top corners. A picture of yourself can boost or reduce the effectiveness of your CV, so make sure you take a professional shot. Try to smile confidently and dress appropriately, and avoid appearing unhappy or uninterested.

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

CVs in Spain might include personal information such as the NIE (ID number for foreign people), work permit, address, phone number, driving licence and social media links. Most of them are not mandatory; stick with the ones that are useful for the job you are applying for. If you are not an EU citizen, it would be useful for the recruiter to know that you are eligible to work in Spain. If you need to exhibit your work, a link to your portfolio is a must. Just be sure to include your necessary personal information and make sure recruiters have your most recent contact details!

BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF YOURSELF:

Imagine writing a bio like you would on Twitter – by using a few short words to describe your professional profile. Remember, less is more.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

This is one of the most important parts of the CV; this is the part where you need to showcase the professional experience you’ve gained, your responsibilities and your achievements.

Some points to consider setting your professional experiences: 

  • Name of the Company 
  • Role/ Job function 
  • Dates 
  • Responsibilities 

Include strong adjectives and make sure to keep away from superfluous information. When possible, use data and statistics to boost your profile. Start each bullet point with a resume action word to make it pop. Use the PAR (Problem-Action-Result) formula to give your project description more impact. Aim to include quantifiable accomplishments.

PROJECT / VOLUNTEERING / ACHIEVEMENTS / PUBLICATIONS:

This is a great resume addition. It is not mandatory, but it could be a great boost for your profile. In this section you can showcase your achievements in fields that are not strictly related to your career path. Suppose you have taken a gap year, or maybe you were involved in volunteering projects, or you might have written an excellent thesis that happened to be published. In these instances, this is an excellent section to include these types of experiences.

EDUCATION:

This section lists the degrees you attained, the school you attended, or any special honors or awards you earned.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS:

Again, ‘less is more’ should be your motto while writing your key skills. It is unnecessary to include your whole skill set (could be hard or soft skills); try to adapt them to the sector/position you are applying for. 

Aim for no more than ten skills. For example, if you are a Sales Representative, your skills could be: 

  • Strategic prospecting Skills 
  • Communication 
  • Product Knowledge 
  • Active listening 
  • Time Management 
  • Objection Handling 
  • Salesforce 
  • Jira 
  • Confluence

LANGUAGE SKILLS:

Language skills need to be showcased in the correct place on a CV; it’s essential to make sure they’re well displayed. They can be placed on the top of your CV or at the bottom, alongside the knowledge and skills section. Imagine you are German, and you are applying for an English-speaking job where German is a plus, then it will be worth showcasing all of your language skills at the start of your CV. E.G.

  • German: Native language 
  • English: Full professional 
  • Spanish: Fluent

LAYOUT AND FORMATTING:

Layout and presentation of CVs are essential too. Always ensure that it has a professional layout. As said previously, less is more, so try not to exceed 2-3 pages in length. Also, those with less experience or recent graduates can opt for a one-page CV. 

The most important thing to remember, is to make it easy to read. 

Regarding page settings, margins should be neither too broad nor too thin. Exceeding in one way or another will make the CV look unprofessional; also, beware of the spacing! Let the lines of text breathe between them and facilitate readability. To help with clarity, use bold and italic (but do so wisely). 

Again, the golden rule here is still, “Less is more,” don’t exaggerate things that don’t add valuable information. 

Lastly, don’t go overboard with the graphics and images, some graphics and images have a hard time passing through Applicant Tracking Systems. This also applies to language skills, try to avoid graphism and use the correct words. 

Nowadays, there are many online Resume Builder programs (some of them are free) to create a professional resume that will help you get noticed by Recruiters and Hiring Managers. These programs can help you design a resume that looks great and has all the essential information employers look for. 

A.T.S:
Have you ever heard about ATS? ‘Applicant Tracking Systems’ is a recruitment software used by recruitment agencies and talent acquisition teams to filter, store, and organise CVs based on specified keywords. This makes it easier for them to find your CV among the other applications/CVs they receive by using strong keywords relevant to the job you are applying for. 

For example, if you are Technical Support, essential words would be “help desk”, “troubleshooting”, if you manage a Database, maybe it would be worth including some specific languages you use “SQL.” 

TRANSLATE OR NOT?:
English is widely used in Spain, but the person who’s reading your resume might be Spanish. Our recommendation is to prepare your CV in both languages. If you apply for an English-speaking job (or a job with other language requirements), it’s better to send your CV in English. If the job is in Spanish-English, then it could also be worth sending your CV in Spanish. 

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