The British CV format is different from the Europass model used in mainland Europe. Despite the Europass being widely accepted and easily converted between European countries and languages, in Great Britain, an older model is used and the Europass, though not refused by most international and bigger-sized companies, is immediately recognised as foreign. Great Britain needs and welcomes foreign workers but the (reasonable) expectation is that workers are willing to adapt and adjust to the British way of doing things and the first impression they get of this is through your CV.
The British CV model is more focused on individual qualities and experience rather than a list of skillsets. It also seems to place more importance on work experience, easily foregoing academic qualifications where it is not relevant to the job application. It starts with a description of the job applicant’s qualities, a short and concise presentation of the person in three or four lines defining their job experience, relevant skills and particular traits. This description serves as bait to entice the employer to read further.
“Proactive Project Manager with over ten years’ experience in the Construction industry. Comfortable with tight deadlines and high budgets with a knack for motivating large teams to achieve a common goal successfully. Fast-learner and great at finding creative solutions for difficult problems and looking for the next challenge in a different industry.”
It’s extremely important that a CV contains this information, often titled “Personal Profile” or “Professional Profile”, even if this is the same kind of information typically conveyed in the application letter.
After this comes Education and Qualifications/Training. The same goes for Education. Where a qualification is not relevant for a job or is superseded by another more recent, it is not necessary to note them all. It is much more important to make reference to how your qualification has prepared you for the job through mentioning subjects, grades or coursework that helped you achieve a level of experience/knowledge.
Equally, in the British CV format, it is expected that only relevant experience is listed unless it’s really not much, though briefly accounting for gaps. Along with the dates, job title and workplace, it’s important to mention what the job consisted of, any important achievements or acquired skills but only in a way that is relevant for the job application. If you are applying for a position as a Software Engineer, it may as well be that your summer job as a student at a pub doesn’t need to be described, especially if you worked at an IT company for the last two years. This part is not all too different from the Europass, though it seems the Europass is more focused on the general experience acquired.
The Europass CV skills area also needs to be adapted for the British CV model. There is no European Language Passport or a common framework to define linguistic abilities. These fall into the General Skills category of the British CV model. In fact, generally, only Computing/IT skills are listed separately from General Skills, whereas the Europass CV model divides Personal Skills into Languages, Communication and Digital skills.
Another important distinction between the British CV model and the Europass CV model is the emphasis on personal interests and how these shape the job applicant and if they are, at all, related to the job. Where work experience and/or qualifications may not show a natural preference for the job being applied for, the interests may do so. For example, if someone is applying for a job in the wellness industry, having only ever worked at a fast-food restaurant, if their interests are, for example, sustainable living, they may stand a better chance of being called for the job. The focus of the British CV model is on the individual rather than their individual competences alone. In addition, the British CV model also has a section for Voluntary Work and Achievements. If you volunteer at the local pet hospital, you may have acquired skills/competencies that otherwise, you wouldn’t have. Likewise, if you’ve run one marathon a month, it shows tenacity, focus and determination which may not be as explicit in your work experience. This personal information seems to be optional and of little importance for the Europass CV model.
With regards to personal information, the British CV model does not require pictures or date of birth as these cannot be used to select candidates. Where it isn’t applicable for the job application, there is no need to mention whether the candidate has a driving licence or not.
More importantly, there isn’t an absolute template for British CVs, with the section names and order being interchangeable according to the candidate’s preference/job application. It is recommended that it doesn’t go over two pages, keeping all the information straight to the point and tailored to the job. The Europass CV model offers little room for adaptation and only through extensive editing can it be shorter than two pages but because it is such a standardised model, it is easier for recruiters to find the information they require easily.
So whether you require an Europass CV adaptation to the British CV model or vice-versa, it is important that your CV is translated into the target language with the precise terminology but also that it is formatted for the country you are sending your application to.
For my CV Translation and Adaptation services, see here.