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Everything you need to know about preparing your CV in Austria

When applying for a job in Austria, it makes sense to know what a hiring manager expects to see on a CV. Here's what you need to know.

Everything you need to know about preparing your CV in Austria
There are some big differences between Austrian CVs and those you might be used to. Photo by Lukas from Pexels

If you’re from an English-speaking country there are some notable differences to be aware of when it comes to drawing up your CV.

Making a few small changes can boost your chances of getting an interview significantly. 

After all, applying for a new job is already time-consuming – so make sure that hard work doesn’t go to waste.

How are Austrian CVs different?

The difference in CV style and format in Austria will depend on where you’re from in the first place.

For example, if you’re from the UK, USA, Australia or New Zealand, a big noticeable difference will be the use of a photograph on an Austrian CV.

Yes, hiring managers in Austria want to see what candidates actually look like – even at the initial stages of the application. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about finding a job in Austria

This can be an intimidating prospect. Especially if you come from a country like the UK where it’s frowned upon to include a photograph to avoid discrimination based on appearance.

But, as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do. 

Just be careful with the choice of photograph.

It’s best to go with a professional image that gives the impression you’re a reliable person. This means holiday snaps or pictures from a night out won’t send the right message.

Next, Austrian CVs don’t include a career objective. This is what the cover letter is for.

CVs should only contain facts and details of hard skills, plus a description of tasks completed at each role.

Save the sprinklings of personality for the cover letter and the interview (if you get one).

Most Austrian hiring managers also prefer CVs that are maximum two pages long.

So use those two pages wisely and let the facts tell the story.

What personal details should be included?

Like most countries, there are some key personal details that should be included on a CV in Austria.

The obvious details are name and contact details. But what about the date of birth?

In some places, asking for an applicant’s age is actually against the law, like in Ireland and the UK as a result of the Employment Equality Act. This means a date of birth should not be on a CV.

But in Austria, hiring managers will expect to see the date of birth, so it should be included.

Other details to include are nationality, place of birth and whether you have a valid work permit or visa for Austria.

For British people, it’s a good idea to include whether you have the Article 50 EUV card or even an EU passport (now that the UK has left the EU) to prove that you have the right to live and work in Austria post-Brexit.

Then you should include education and work history in a chronological order, followed by language and IT skills, any voluntary experience and a brief overview of hobbies.

Finally, if a job is not advertised in English or doesn’t state that the role is in English, it’s probably a German-language role.

In this case, a CV should be translated into German.

What about Europass?

Europass is a CV builder that is used throughout the EU with the aim to standardise the CV format.

It’s available in 29 languages and allows users to store a CV in the Europass library.

Austria is a European country so a Europass CV is accepted by Austrian employers. But many hiring managers don’t like it because of the generic format and lack of customisation.

If writing a CV in Austria for the first time, a good approach is to use Europass as a guide for the right information to include. And then add some individuality with the layout.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: How to register as self-employed in Austria

Working as a freelancer in Austria is an attractive prospect for international residents. But the process might not be as easy as back home. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register as self-employed in Austria

Anyone that has set up a business as a freelancer in Austria will know how confusing it can be. Especially if they are from countries like the UK and US where starting a business as a sole trader is fairly easy.

In Austria though, there are several steps to registering as self-employed, with limited information in English on how to navigate the process. 

So to help foreigners in Austria get started, we spoke to Vienna-based business consultant Miglena Hofer to break down the steps when registering as self-employed.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Austria?

Obtain a business licence (or not)

The first step to becoming self-employed in Austria is finding out if you need a business licence.

Sounds simple enough, right? But for those without strong German language skills, it can quickly become tricky.

Miglena Hofer told The Local: “There is a lack of information about the process in English, especially explanatory information. 

“In Austria there are also different types of self-employed people. The two main types are business owner and operator, and the new self-employed [such as writers, photographers].” 

“Almost everything requires a business licence in Austria. Even if you only intend to cover costs with your work, it still counts as a business.”

READ NEXT: ‘Brutal’: What it’s really like to learn German in Austria

The Ministry of Labour and Economics has a list of regulated trades that need a business licence in Austria (only available in German). Professions include electrician, hairdresser, florist and masseuse. 

If you do need a business licence, an application has to be submitted by the first day you plan to start working in your business. 

To apply for a licence, visit the Gewerbe­informations­system Austria (Business Information System Austria). This website has the option to translate the information into English.

Any professions that don’t require a business licence, like journalists, artists and teachers, are classed as new self-employed (Neu Selbständige) and can move on to the next steps.

Notify the tax office 

This involves filling in the form Verf24 and sending it to the tax office (Finanzamt) to inform them that you are self-employed. There is a deadline of four weeks after you have started operating for this part of the process.

You also have to make an appointment at the WKÖ (Austrian Economic Chamber) and become a member. This involves paying an annual fee (which varies depending on the type of business) and in some places, like in the Alps, you might have to pay a tourist tax.

However, finding information or help in English at this stage can be difficult, and business consultant Miglena advises anyone struggling to reach out for help.

FOR MEMBERS: Digital nomad visas: How does Austria compare with other countries?

She said: “Many Austrians refuse to give advice in English, which is a curious thing. This applies to all kinds of professional services, but it’s important that we are understood.

“I don’t want people to be afraid. I want to make starting a business in Austria easy. Once you know how to do it, it’s fine. But it’s easy to feel lost and be overwhelmed by legal German words.”

Set up social insurance

The final stage in the process is to register with SVS – the social insurance fund for self-employed people in Austria.

It is mandatory for everyone living in Austria to have social insurance (or comprehensive private health insurance). It gives people access to public health care and includes pension contributions.

Registering with SVS has to take place within four weeks from the date of starting a business. You will then receive an e-card (if you don’t already have one) and start paying social insurance bills on a quarterly basis.

The good news about SVS payments though is that they are tax deductible, so don’t forget to include them in your bookkeeping.

Useful vocabulary

Business registration – Gewerbeanmeldung

Business licence – Gewerbeschein

New self-employed – Neu Selbständige

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Tax – Steuer

Tax office – Finanzamt

Useful links

Austrian tax office

Business Information System Austria (GISA)

Social insurance

Self-employed in Austria

Ministry of Labour and Economy

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