Lebenslauf aka curriculum vitae

German resumés (curriculum vitae) are written chronologically. The potential employer is given a complete overview of the applicant’s background, from the beginning to the present.

Germans reading a resumé look closely not only at those areas relevant to the job, but at all information which might give them a full picture of the applicant.

Most importantly, and critically, they look for Lücken (gaps) in the Lebenslauf – the German word for resumé or curriculum vitae. Leben life + lauf from laufen + to run: how one’s life has run, proceeded, moved forward. And if they spot any Lücken, they’ll be sure to address them in a face-to-face interview.

Based on what the applicant reveals in the interview the employer can gain even deeper insight into work experience, degree of reliability, motivation, ambitions. The goal is a realistic assessment of the job candidate.

As early as in high school Germans students are told: “Take seriously what you do after high school. Gaps in your resumé are not good!” German university students fill gaps between semesters with internships, language classes or travel abroad.