Writing an Effective Spanish CV
Do you want a job in the Spanish sun or an internship in Spain? Are you planning to apply for a job at a Spanish-speaking company in your own country? Then, you need a Spanish CV. How do you go about creating one? Which rules apply for preparing a successful Spanish CV? We’ve gathered all the points you need to consider when creating a CV in Spanish.
The first requirement of a good Spanish CV is, of course, a command of the Spanish language. You’ll need to make sure that you use the appropriate vocabulary and the correct grammar and spelling.
If you’re not confident about your linguistic skills, however, it’s a good idea to have your CV reviewed by a professional translator or someone who speaks Spanish fluently before sending it.
You’ll probably be forgiven for a small mistake, but not so much for a CV full of grammatical and spelling errors.
Competition for jobs in Spain is high - you’re not only competing against the locals but also against thousands of other expats. To stand a chance of landing a job, you’ll need a strong CV.
Your CV does not always have to be in Spanish
However, if you don't need to be fluent in Spanish in the position you're applying for, it’s not necessary to write your CV in Spanish.
Often you can already tell from the job description, whether speaking Spanish is a requirement: if it’s written in Spanish, it goes without saying that you’ll need to send your CV in Spanish.
On the other hand, if the job description calls for Spanish language skills, but is written in English or another language, then, it’s safe to assume that you won’t need to send your CV in Spanish.
If you have the slightest doubt about your language skills, it’s better to be safe than sorry and send your CV in English. The chances are that the employer will conduct the interview in the same language as the language on your CV. By drafting your CV in a language you feel comfortable in, you avoid misleading employers about your language skills.
Checklist for creating a Spanish CV
Here are the points to bear in mind when writing a CV in Spanish:
- Use the correct Spanish terms.
- List your experience and education in reverse-chronological order.
- State the number of your passport or identity card.
- Don’t forget to include the country code with your telephone number.
- Include a professional, passport-style photo.
- You don’t need to enclose official documents such as diplomas.
- If necessary and possible, it’s best to have the authenticity of your diplomas and certificates confirmed by the Spanish authorities.
- Have your resume and cover letter checked by someone who has an excellent command of the Spanish language.
Use the correct Spanish terms on your CV
To make a good impression with Spanish employers, it’s important to use the correct terminology and headings:
- Personal details = Datos personales
- Work experience = Experiencia profesional
- Education = Formación
- Internships = Prácticas
- Languages = Idiomas
- Other information = Información adicional:
- Hobbies and Interests = Hobbies y aficiones
- Skills = Habilidades
- Personal competences = Competentias personales
- Extracurricular activities = Actividades extracurriculares
- Driving licences = Permiso de conducir
- Certificates = Certificados
- References = Referencias
Rather than trying to guess the translations of terms, a better approach is to consult an online dictionary, or if possible, ask a native speaker or a translator. Online translation engines can often render awkward translations, therefore, these are best avoided.
If you’re using a CV builder such as Jobseeker, you can select the appropriate language option, which means you don’t need to worry about translating section headings. All you need to do is fill in the explanation for each section in Spanish.
It’s common to include a few references on your CV. If you don’t have enough space, you can always write ‘se facilitaran referencias en caso de ser solicitadas’ (references will be provided on request).
The order of a Spanish CV
As with English CVs, the most common order for a Spanish CV is reverse chronological order, meaning you list your most recent work experience and education first.
Expected information includes start and end dates, as well as the name of the employer/academic institution and a brief description of your responsibilities.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a ‘normal’ CV is generally preferred to a Europass CV in Spain.
You also need to include nationality (e.g. Nacionalidad: británico) as well as your passport number (número de pasaporte) or identity card number (número de tarjeta de identitad).
If you’re not from Spain, you will need to include your ‘Foreigner ID Number’ (numéro de identidad extranjero).
Including a photo
Including a passport photo on your CV is common practice in Spain, but not mandatory. Pay attention to which photo you use on your CV. Not every shot is suitable.
Instead of trying to take the photo yourself, we recommend that you visit a professional photographer, who will usually be up to speed on photo requirements for CVs.
Mentioning your language skills
It’s a good idea to include your language skills on your CV, especially if you’re applying for a job at an international company and have decent language skills.
Here's the vocab to indicate how well you master a language:
Foreign languages = lenguas extranjeras
Mother tongue = lengua materna
Native = nativo
Fluent = fluido
Advanced = avanzado
Intermediate = intermedido
Good = bien
Basic knowledge = conocimiento básico
International standards for language skills
Another way to indicate your language skills is to refer to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference), an internationally recognised framework that uses letters to describe different language proficiency levels: A (basic), B (intermediate) and C (advanced):
- A – Basic user
- A1 – Breakthrough or beginner
- A2 – Waystage or elementary
- B – Independent user
- B1 – Threshold or intermediate
- B2 – Vantage or upper intermediate
- C – Proficient user
- C1 – Effective operational efficiency
- C2 – Mastery or proficiency
Most employers will be familiar with this framework and will understand to which degree you’re able to apply your language skills, i.e. are you able to negotiate with a customer in Spanish or can you only read and send emails?
It can be tempting to exaggerate your language skills; however, this is not a good idea. During the hiring process, you will most probably be asked to submit a written test or interview in Spanish. If your language ability is much lower than stated on your CV, you’ll most probably end up with egg on your face and potentially harm future job prospects.
Do a language check
Even if you feel pretty confident about your Spanish language skills, it’s a good idea to make sure you proofread your CV before sending it off.
You could use an online grammar checker such as LanguageTool or SpanishChecker, which will show where you’ve made basic errors with regards to gender agreements, verb endings, etc.
However, for a more in-depth check, we recommend that you ask a professional translator or native speaker to look over your CV to check that text flows well.
- Spanish CVs are quite factual in comparison to the English CV. Therefore, stick to short, concise descriptions of your responsibilities and achievements for each position.
- Use bullets to make your CV easy to scan.
- Examples of good Spanish CV verbs to use include:
prepare – preparar
achieve – lograr
obtain – conseguir
promote – fomentar
- Limit the use of ‘I’ / ‘Yo’. Instead, use the past or infinite form of the verb.