In this article you will find how to prepare a Spanish-style CV and how to act in an interview in Spain, so to give you the best chance of finding work here.
Before finding a job in Spain, you should prepare your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to match the ones used in the Spanish labor market. You should also learn something more about the interview techniques used by Spanish recruiters. Then, you should learn some Spanish business etiquette. That can also help you avoid making any cultural faux pas during your job interview.
Of course we leave here a few tips on how to prepare for your Spanish job application! Including how to write a Spanish-style CV and some interview tips.
First of all, how you prepare your job application and for a job interview in Spain doesn’t always mirror what you might do back home. Furthermore, you will need to present yourself and all your skills, qualifications and experience in the way that Spanish employers expect you to do it.
As you probably know, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, and English is not as widely used in the local Spanish business scene as in some other European countries. Unless you’re specifically applying to an English-speaking position or to a job that doesn’t require Spanish, then your application and interview should be in Spanish.
You should write your CV in Spanish, unless it is specifically requested to write it in another language or if the job requires no knowledge of Spanish. Some job titles or work-related jargon can be difficult to translate into Spanish, so unless you’re completely confident, ask a native Spanish speaker to read through your CV before you submit it.
Online and email applications are becoming more popular but some companies still prefer to receive a paper or PDF copy of a CV. In some cases, you may not need to send in a personalized CV at all, as the application forms are used widely in Spain.
Writing your CV
The current job market in Spain is competitive! So you need to make your CV stand out a little bit but not too much. The CV, also known as el curriculum, should be typed. All the information needs to be clear, concise, well-structured. Also, it can’t be longer than two sides of A4 page. Equally important, try to limit the use of the first person. Keep it as professional and as factual as possible. Likewise, use bullet points rather than wordy paragraphs, and while it’s good to highlight your skills and qualities, please try to avoid lying.
Arrange your CV in the following order:
- Personal details – or datos personales. Include your full name, date and place of birth (don’t hide your nationality), current address and telephone number with the international dialing code (if it’s not a Spanish number), your professional email address and if you’re already authorized to work in Spain, your NIE (foreigner’s ID number). Note: it’s acceptable to be asked about your age and marital status in job applications in Spain.
- Photo. It is common to include a photo and may be expected, although it is not obligatory. It needs to be a photograph with a neutral background, placed in the top right-hand corner of your CV.
- Work experience – or experiencia professional. When it comes to the work experience, try to list all your employers in reverse chronological order, including names and addresses for each company/organization, dates, job title and tasks/responsibilities.
- Education – or formación academic. You should list post-secondary educational institutions with addresses, dates, courses taken and qualifications/grades.
- Language – or idiomas. List your languages with the level of your spoken and written skills, including certifications and diplomas (if you have them).
- Skills – informática. You should mention all of your IT skills.
- Other interests – otros datos de interés or otras activid. You can put any other relevant information, for example driving license, interests or hobbies, but don’t make it too personal. Additionally, include your disposition to move and to start working.
- References – referencias. You don’t need to include references but add them at the end. They should be relevant for the job offer.
Europass provides downloadable Spanish-CV templates and instructions on writing your Spanish CV. But we strongly advise you to create your own from scratch, always trying to make you curriculum stand out from the others.
Job interviews and the recruitment process
What happens during the job interview will depend on the particular position you are applying for. Normally, if you are applying for professional role, the procedure often starts with an initial selection process involving
a short personal interview and in some cases, a psychometric and/or an oral test. If you pass this, then you may have to go through a series of interviews – as many as six for a graduate level job – until you know whether or not you got the position.
The job interview is the most important step of the process. Your personal qualities and motivations are highly valued in Spain and can be considered as, or more, important than professional qualities. Interviews are usually face-to-face but you may also be asked to take part in a group discussion.
As with any job interview, be as well prepared as possible. Research the organization and sector, be ready to talk specifically about how your own life experience and skills might qualify you for the job. Similarly, try to have some questions ready to ask the interviewer at the end.
Tips and Tricks
Even if your interviewer speaks English, you should try to speak Spanish during the interview to show the extent of your language skills. Or ask which language they prefer to conduct during the interview. If the interviewer prefers Spanish, consider having a session with a language tutor, or a native friend, before to prepare and practice some possible questions and answers.
Dress appropriately! You should wear businesslike clothes or smart wear. Always dress up, not down! The typical Spanish dress code is more formal rather than casual. Also, keep in mind that what you wear will affect their perception of your person.
In the same fashion, be punctual! Even if, as a general rule, things tend not to run on time in Spain. Wait for your interviewer to initiate a handshake and definitely do not lean in for the customary Spanish cheek kisses. Sit once you have been invited to do so. Always use formal language and avoid slang and/or colloquial expressions.
Finally, be positive, smiley and approachable – your personality counts towards securing a job in Spain.