If you’re hoping to live and work in Spain then there is no better time to do your research, re-write your CV, and improve your chances of securing your dream job. From how you find work to how to act in an interview, here’s everything you need to know about getting a job in Spain:
How to Create a Spanish-Style CV
Your first job, before you submit a job application, should be to update your CV and cover letter, to ensure they confirm to a traditional Spanish style. You should also adapt this slightly for each role, so that you are personalising your skills and abilities to suit the job you hope to obtain.
- Unless you're applying for a job in an English-speaking office, you should write both your CV and cover letter in Spanish. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, and in the Spanish business arena it is the only language used in most circumstances. The only exception to this rule is if you are not a fluent Spanish speaker, and being able to speak Spanish is not a requirement of the role you are applying for.
- Ask a native Spanish speaker to check your CV for you before you send your application. A lot of technical and role-specific jargon can be very difficult to translate accurately into Spanish, even if your own Spanish language skills are very good. This will help you to avoid any errors that could cost you the interview!
- Be prepared to be flexible: many companies are increasingly asking for applications to be made online or by email. Have your CV in both a digital and hard copy format, and don’t forget that application forms are still common in Spain so you may not need to submit a CV at all.
- Make your CV stand out for all the right reasons by ensuring that it is typed and doesn’t fill more than two pages of A4 paper. It should be clear and concise, and formatted so that it is easy to read. Use bullet points to help with his, highlight your skills, and be as factual and professional as possible
What to Include on Your CV
Your CV should always contain the following information, and in this order. Some of this may not be consistent with what you would put on your application in other countries, so it’s important to read this information thoroughly:
- Your personal details should be at the top of your CV. This includes your full name, place and date of birth, address and phone number. You should also include a professional sounding email address, confirm that you’re authorised to work in Spain (if you are) by sharing your NIE number and you may consider including your age and marital status, as it is normal (and legal) for an employer to request this information in Spain.
- A photo of yourself is common on a Spanish CV. This should be a headshot in professional attire and set against a neutral back drop.
- A full list of your work experience, detailing all of your employers in reverse chronological order. Include their names, addresses, your full job title, and a brief description of your role and responsibilities.
- Your educational background from a post-secondary educational level, including degrees, professional qualifications and any other courses taken.
- List your language skills and the levels of ability in each language – if you have any language based qualifications you should include these here.
- Your skills, such as any computer or IT based skills, and any other professional skills that would be useful to the role
- Your interests. This should include relevant hobbies, but should also mention anything that could enhance your chance of getting the role, such as holding a full drivers license or voluntary work
- Most Spanish people don’t put their references on their CV, but they do mention that they have references available and that these can be issued on request.
Writing your Cover Letter
It doesn’t matter how brilliant your CV is, when you’re applying for a job in Spain it should never be sent in isolation. Your CV should be accompanied by a formal, typed cover letter, detailing your desire to apply for the role and why. Your cover letter should be short and direct: letting your CV do all the talking. Here’s what it should include:
- In traditional letter format, your name, address and telephone number should be included in the top left corner of the letter. Below this should be the name of the individual and company you’re writing to, and the date and job reference code or number (if you know this)
- You should address the letter to a named person; this name should be on the job listing.
- Mention the role you are applying for, why you are applying for it, and why you feel your skills make you a good fit for the position. This should be brief, and should draw on the skills and qualifications that are included in your CV.
- End the letter formally, with an expression such as En espera de sus noticias, le saluda atentamente (which translates roughly as ‘waiting for your reply, meanwhile my sincere regards’), and then sign it and write your name underneath.
Tips for Typing Your CV and Cover Letter
When writing your CV and cover letter, you may be wondering how you can include the all-important accents over your letters when you’re writing in Spanish on a conventional QWERTY board key board. Put Numbers Lock on your computer keyboard and use the following codes to add these, and ensure everything in your CV and cover letter is spelt correctly:
- Á/á: 0193/0225
- É/é: 0201/0223
- Í/í: 0205/0237
- Ó/ó, 0211/0243
- Ú/ú, 0218/0250
- Ñ/ñ: 165/164
- €: 0128
- ¿: 168
- ¡: 0161
If Your Application Lands You an Interview
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a response straight away: as you’re no doubt already aware, processing paperwork can be slow in Spain and so can getting a response to a job application. If you don’t hear back you can follow up with an email or phone call, and if that still doesn’t solicit a response then you should assume your application was unsuccessful.
If your application is successful then you will be invited to an interview or selection process day. This will involve a short interview, followed by psychometric and/or vocational testing. If you pass this, then you may have to go through a series of interviews – as many as six for graduate-level jobs – until you know whether or not you have the job. Job interviews are very important in Spain, because the company will want to know more about you as a person: your qualities and motivations are what will help you to get the job. Do your research on both the organisation and the sector, so that you appear as knowledgeable as possible and can talk specifically about the job you hope to gain.
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