creative cv writing guide

Europass: The European CV

What is a Europass CV and why use one?

The creation of the Europass has been a long process of development which started in 1998 with the decision to begin to incorporate a European understanding of vocational qualifications. This possibility of connecting through a mutual understanding was an idea and way of removing obstacles relating to transparency of academic background and work experience. Slowly, the process of this initiative has created the Europass CV and also, the European Skills Passport.

A European CV which is understood internationally throughout Europe, Europass seeks to present jobseekers in Europe using the same format, structure and layout. The Europass is composed of more than just a CV and is a helpful way of creating a personal profile folder which you can present to prospective employers in an uncomplicated way, as many are familiar with the Europass system and structure.

The Europass may be of interest to jobseekers who wish to apply for a job in a foreign country within Europe and are not quite sure of the CV requirements for the specific country. A safe way of playing this card is with a Europass CV or European Skills Passport. However, you don’t have to be applying for a job abroad in order to be eligible to use a Europass CV. You can use it to apply for a job in your native country, as well.

This guide on the Europass explains what a Europass is, how to format a Europass CV, the advantages and disadvantages of Europass, alternatives to Europass. as well as templates and examples of Europass documents, such as the Europass CV.

 

What is Europass?

The Europass is commonly referred to as the European CV; however there are more documents to it than just a CV.

Essentially, the Europass is a composition of five separate Europass documents which can be assembled in the European Skills Passport.

The five documents that compose the European Skills Passport are:

  • CV
  • Language Passport
  • Europass Mobility
  • Certificate Supplement
  • Diploma Supplement

The most common of the five documents is the Europass CV, which you can create by itself and send as a personal CV.

Europass CV

The Europass CV is a CV structured with a layout and format recognised throughout Europe. You can use this CV template as a standard CV which you can use to apply for jobs throughout Europe which can be helpful, as many countries have their own ways of writing and presenting a CV.

You can also create a cover letter which goes with your Europass CV and strengthens your job application. Read more about the benefits of writing a cover letter.

Language Passport

The Europass Language Passport is a way of displaying the language skills you dispose of and the levels of ability. Each language is separated and explained fully using the European framework of reference for languages, listing different levels for your understanding (listening and reading), speaking (interaction and production) and your writing.

The Language Passport also gives you the opportunity to list language certificates and diplomas you have achieved, amongst a list of linguistic and intercultural experience you may have acquired through working or travelling abroad. For jobseekers who work in an international work environment and dispose of various language skills, this is a practical way of displaying your language abilities separate to your CV.

Europass Mobility

The Europass Mobility document allows you to record experience, work placement, skills and knowledge acquired in a different European country. You can record work experience, voluntary work and also academic experience, such as a year abroad or school exchange.

Anyone can choose to use the Europass Mobility document, regardless of their age or stage of education. You must include the organisation, school or company in the completion of the Europass Mobility document.

The sending partner must issue their information as well as the host partner, both of which should complete the necessary information and provide an electronic signature.

The following sections of the Europass Mobility document list a description of the Mobility experience and the skills acquired during the Mobility experience.

Certificate Supplement

This document accompanies any education or training certificate you may already have and seeks to explain the knowledge and skills acquired. It can provide additional information and expand on the achievement, clarifying more information and making it easier for recruiters to understand what the certificate or course entailed.

Please note: the Certificate Supplement is not a replacement, nor the original certificate document. It merely seeks to expand on the certificate information and content.

Diploma Supplement

The Diploma Supplement is more or less the same as the Certificate Supplement document, with the exception of the type of certificate it is supplementing. The Diploma Supplement describes the content and knowledge acquired in a diploma or higher education degree.

Similarly to the Certificate Supplement, it’s important to note that the Diploma Supplement does not replace or act as the original diploma or degree certificate.

Europass CV format

The format of the Europass CV is an auto-formatted document with a certain layout and specific way of displaying information, for which is receives recognition as the Europass CV.

The Europass format includes everything that a CV normally would with its own set way of listing everything. The structure of the Europass lists everything clearly, which helps recruiters to read your CV well. The layout is not confusing, but instead clear and concise, which is what you need for displaying your personal profile on a CV.

For further information, you can read more about the format and structure of the Europass CV, as well as the European Skills Passport and its format.

Europass advantages and disadvantages

Depending on where you wish to work and the work sector you wish to enter, the Europass has different advantages and disadvantages for all. This section seeks to organise the possible pros and cons of the Europass which may or not apply to you. You can use this section to decide how right the Europass is for you and whether or not it would be a suitable method for applying for the job you want.

Advantages:

  • The Europass CV and European Skills Passport is recognised internationally among recruiters and means the minute they open your CV, they understand the format, structure and layout. This allows recruiters to focus solely on your personal CV profile and to be able to understand all the information you wish to transmit.
  • With a Europass, all job applicants are presented on an equal platform.
  • It is a form of demonstrating your skills, qualifications and abilities in a concise and effective way.
    It can be created quickly and is a user-friendly method for all.
  • You can explain all work experience, voluntary work and academic background amongst other factors, such as skills in thorough detail and back qualifications with supplement documents that explain further the content and knowledge gained in a qualification, certificate etc.
  • Especially helpful for people moving countries or looking to work abroad in Europe.

Disadvantages:

  • Using a template which many use may put you at a disadvantage in terms of being able to convey or demonstrate creativity and good design abilities to prospective employers. For example, if you are a graphic designer, it may be more suitable for you to design your own CV and demonstrate your creative skills which may help you to get the job.
  • There are areas of Europe which recognise the Europass CV and European Skills Passport less than others. In Italy, the Europass is used much more frequently than in the U.K. for example.
  • Some criticise the use of the Europass and the fact that it doesn’t help you to stand out amongst the crowd or that it makes it difficult to remember you on a personal level.

Europass alternatives

There are of course, alternatives to the Europass CV. You may feel it necessary to design your own CV, especially if you work in the design industry. If you work in design or any sector related to creativity and design, it may be crucial to present recruiters with an imaginative design as an example of your work and creative skills. In this case, the Europass is not a good choice, as it does not demonstrate originality and denies you the opportunity to stand out.

You can use an online CV builder to design your own CV and you can also read about how to write a CV or specific sections of a CV. The Europass CV is not something that works for everyone and it is recommendable to explore the different types of CV or different formats and designs which may suit your personal profile better.

The layout of a CV tends to vary depending on the type of person and stage of their career. Recent graduates or school-leavers may choose to list their academic background first, whereas jobseekers with twenty years of experience will want to impress prospective employers with the work experience section before anything else. Hence, it is always a good idea to investigate alternatives to the Europass before you decide on the right CV for you.

Europass CV templates and examples

You can use CV templates and examples to help understand the format of the Europass or how to structure it. It may also be beneficial to view a Europass CV template or example in order to help you decide whether you would like to create a Europass CV or not.

Using CV templates in general is advisable, as you don’t need to worry about format and structure. The layout of a CV is considered an important factor of your CV in terms of presentation and ability to organise and present your personal profile professionally, clearly and concisely.

For more information on writing a CV and which types of CVs are best for you, you can read about different types of CVs, such as student CVs, professional CVs and variations of template and structure.