• InfoGuide
  • Education & Work

Résumé vs CV vs Lebenslauf


Date31 Aug 2021


If you are applying abroad, it is not enough to simply translate your résumé into the national language. An English application, for example, is fundamentally different from a German one.

For many applicants, creating the required documents has already become routine. With a long job search, CVs and cover letters have to be created again and again for different positions and employers. When applying, however, applicants should pay close attention to the form of the application required. 

Internationally positioned companies in particular not only expect applicants to speak English fluently - but they also expect them to be familiar with the formal differences between a Résumé, CV, and Lebenslauf.


In the private sector and in non-academic professions in the USA, only information that fits the advertised position is important for the future employer. The focus of studies and publications is unimportant information. 

The résumé has no running text and focuses on lists. Therefore, you should not use detailed formulations here, but meaningful keywords dominate the résumé. The order is anti-chronological and the most recent has to be started. Focus on the aspects that are relevant to the job. 

Documentation without gaps, as in the German Lebenslauf, is not required for the résumé. Carefully choose only the so-called highlights of your jobs and internships that best fit the vacancy. If you write down everything you have achieved so far, you are wasting your chance to draw attention of the strengths that are really relevant for the job to the hopefully future employer. In terms of the résumé, less is more.

CV (Curriculum Vitae)

CV is the short version of curriculum vitae and stems from the Latin words curriculum = course and vita = life. 

For example to pursue a career in science or research in the USA or Canada, you choose the CV. These positions are weighted differently and your professional expertise in the field is in the centre of attention. 

Never use a résumé / CV for a US private sector application. A multi-page résumé quickly gives the impression of an unrealistic academic. Time is money and nobody in the non-academic field reads through the pages of your scientific research projects and publications.

A curriculum vitae / CV for science and research sometimes fills four to six pages for young scientists. For professors this can be more than ten pages; everything that you have achieved as a scientist is also written here. Every project, no matter how short or long, should be listed and reflect your experience in the research landscape. There is no need to explain any technical terms or technical information, in science it can be assumed that both sides are familiar with the relevant terms. The detailed curriculum vitae can also be used for academic applications in Great Britain.

If you are considering applying for a position in science or research in Germany, your CV should not exceed three pages.


The Latin term curriculum vitae is translated in German as Leben = vita (life) and Lauf = curriculum (course).

 A word-by-word translation of a German Lebenslauf into CV is not enough, as certain deviations in structure and content need to be considered.

In contrast to the German application, an application based on the English or American structure does not include an application photo. This intends to increase equal opportunities. It is also not mandatory for a Lebenslauf, but it is usually attached anyway.

Personal information such as Date of birth, gender and marital status need to be included in the Lebenslauf. Furthermore, the Lebenslauf will always have to indicate the date and signature.


  • Curriculum Vitae for German jobs

Sometimes the job advertisement also speaks of a curriculum vitae (CV) for German jobs. Particularly in the case of academic professions - it is a more sophisticated formulation and should indicate the level of education, but it can still mean a classic Lebenslauf. A short call with the company can be useful to find out whether a CV should really be created or whether a typical table-styled Lebenslauf is expected.

  • Curriculum Vitae for job offers in English (in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland)

English-language job offers can as well be found in Germany and at German corporations. Clarify whether the documents necessary refer to the curriculum vitae. If a CV is mentioned here as the necessary document, you should create the English version of a Lebenslauf (i.e. use the German Lebenslauf format and write the application in English).

Written by: Lisa Janz | Job Coach Germany

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise indicated, website designs, audio, video, text, photographs and graphics on the site (collectively, the 'content') are owned by or licensed to New2, and are protected by copyright and trademark laws.

#resume#german cv#german curriculum vitae#job search#documentation for job