Discover how to adapt your CV to find suitable work in Luxembourg. Learn the dos and don’ts to ensure your curriculum vitae will stand out amongst the crowd.
With a population of just over 500,000, Luxembourg is a small country with an unemployment rate of just 6.2% as of January 2017, according to Trading Economic figures. With such a small population, of which 46.7% are foreigners, either cross-border employees or foreign residents, there is a real mix of nationalities and organisations that make for a diverse workforce.
Its size, also means the Luxembourg employment market operates differently, outside of the usual recruitment channels with a strong emphasis on networking. It is also not uncommon for companies of all sizes and nationalities to receive ‘spontaneous’ or ‘speculative’ job applications, rather than through official job advertisement or recruitment agencies.
So in order to get yourself in employment in Luxembourg, you’ll need to be prepared to go beyond the traditional methods, utilise any contacts you have, start picking up the phone and sending in covering letters and CVs speculatively.
In order to make this as effective as possible, our CV Luxembourg guide covers everything you need to know when it comes to prepping yourself for the Luxembourg jobs market and working in Luxembourg.
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Writing a CV for Luxembourg
There isn’t a uniform set of rules for Luxembourg CVs, and styles tend to follow the structure of the nationality of the applicant or the employer. However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t maximise its potential by ensuring it’s appropriate for the company you’re applying for and the job in question.
Typically, most Luxembourg CVs and job applications are written in French and sometimes in English. Although, this will very much depend on the nationality of the company you’re applying to, as well as the prerequisites for the job. You should always respond to a job advert in the language it is posted in. For example, if you’re applying to an advert posted in German for a German speaking company, you should apply for the position in German, unless it specifies a particular language.
The most important part of constructing your Luxembourg CV is to ensure it has all the appropriate and relevant detail that is easy to read and digest.
Luxembourg employers hold personal work experience, academic qualifications, linguistic abilities and your extracurricular activities in high regard, so ensure these are well presented on your CV. However, they are also a rather conservative nation, so be careful you don’t come across as bragging about your achievements.
Follow and include these aspects and you should have all the key information required for a quality Luxembourg CV:
- Personal details at the top: full name, address, telephone, email, place of birth, nationality, marital status
- A recent professional photograph (this can either be scanned in or attached to the CV)
- Next list your educational qualifications with the most recent first, starting at Diploma/Degree level then working backwards
- Detail your work experience in reverse chronological order. Keep this brief with bullet points highlighting key skills that are relevant to the role
- Include any practical training or specialist qualifications
- List your language skills stating your proficiency in oral, written and spoken form.
- Add computer literacy skills
- Include any extracurricular activities/hobbies
Luxembourg CV: dos and don’ts
Despite not set format to follow, you should still be mindful the following:
- Do use a plain font and professional design – don’t try to be too creative
- Do use definitive headings for each section and bullet points to keep it clear and concise
- Don’t go over 2 pages of A4 paper with your CV – for new starters, this should ideally be one side of A4
- Do type your CV and print on quality paper
- Do check your spelling and grammar thoroughly
- Do translate your CV into French if the advertisement/position requires it
- Don’t forget to emphasise extracurricular activities
An example of a CV for Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Agency of Development of Employment has a wealth of resources in French, German and some English when it comes to finding information on employment in Luxembourg, from registering as unemployed to help to search for available jobs. They also provide help and advice on putting together a Luxembourg CV and covering letters in French.
However, job sites such as Monster.lu have useful articles on constructing a Luxembourg CV and covering letter in English, German and French. You can also get your CV checked by TopCV who will help you on your way to finding that perfect job.
Writing a Luxembourg cover letter
A key part of any job application in Luxembourg is your cover letter that always accompanies your CV.
Your Luxembourg cover letter should be handwritten in either French or English unless stated otherwise by the employer. The reason for this is that Luxembourgers put a strong emphasis on graphology and like to use handwriting as part of the assessment of candidates. Therefore, making sure your handwriting is as neat and tidy as possible is important.
As with most covering letters, this should include key information relating to:
- How you found the job and why you’re applying for the position
- Why you would be a good fit for the role, using examples that also direct them to your CV
- Your motivations and goals, and desire for an interview
Your covering letter should be clear, concise and short for maximum impact on the reader and always use formal language, following this structure:
- Use a business letter format that details your full name, address and contact details on the left-hand side and the employer’s name and address on the right-hand side with the date below
- Always make sure you have the correct name and spelling of the recipient. If you don’t know use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
- The tone of the letter should be formal and professional but keep it simple to effectively convey your points on why you are the best person for the job
- Conclude your letter by expressing an interest in the company, job and an interview and always finish the letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’.
- Also include copies of your exam results, qualification certificates and references within your application.
Job application process in Luxembourg
The process of recruitment in Luxembourg is typically thorough and can involve a number of interviews before a job offer is made. Naturally, if you’re applying from abroad this can take longer due to geographical stipulations and may involve a telephone or online interview initially.
Once you have sent an application it may be some time before you hear from them, but it’s always conscientious to follow up your application after a couple of weeks to ensure they received it.
Interviews in Luxembourg
If you’ve secured an interview then it goes without saying you should do as much preparation beforehand as possible. Employers want you to show an interest, not only in the position, but also in the company, so be sure to have a good knowledge of both, and well-prepped answers for key questions that draw on your own personal experience and demonstrate your skills and expertise to fulfil the role.
With so many multi-national or international organisation, it’s likely the interview will be conducted in French, German or English, but it’s always worth establishing this ahead of the day to make sure you have your answers prepared in the right language that the interview will take place in.
We’ve also put together a few key considerations that will also stand you in good stead with a Luxembourg interview:
- Get the full name and title of the interviewer and ensure you can correctly pronounce it
- Luxembourgers pay close attention to appearance and are always smart – ensure you wear business attire and look professional
- Be punctual – good timekeeping is very important in Luxembourg culture, and being late is considered disrespectful.
- Have copies of your CV, educational certificates and reference letters with you
- Business meetings and interviews are typically formal in Luxembourg and follow a strict hierarchal structure. Follow the lead of the interviewer, ensuring you don’t sit down until invited, greet with a brief handshake refer to them by their surname (preceded by Monsieur or Madam as appropriate) until invited to use first names. Also, always use the formal ‘vous’ when talking in French, rather than the informal ‘tu’.
- Expect them to ask questions about your work experience, education and qualifications and prepare full answers with examples that showcase your skills for the job
- Luxembourgers tend to be reserved when it comes to their personal lives, but you should still be prepared to talk about your extracurricular activities and personal life if asked.
- Luxembourgers are often direct and to the point in business, which can be a little different to cultures like Britain.
- Try to promote yourself as a quality candidate, but take care not to show off, as humility is an important characteristic in Luxembourg business culture.
- Be open, relaxed and communicative as much as you can
- Have at least 3 questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview about the company or role
Luxembourg Interviews online
When applying for work in Luxembourg from abroad, you may have an online interview. These require the same preparation and diligence as a traditional face-to-face meeting, with a few more factors to take into account.
- Location – make sure where you are conducting the interview is quiet and looks professional, also ensure your face is clearly visible and well lit
- Dress in business attire
- Practice interviewing on camera beforehand to enable you to feel more relaxed and focused on the day. Tricks like putting a note on the camera will help to prompt you to look at the camera
- Try to relax and let your personality come across
Naturally, you will feel nervous during a job interview, but the more time you spend preparing for a Luxembourg interview, the higher your chances of success as you’ll feel more confident and relaxed. However, knowing a little about the business culture, the company and the types of questions you might be asked in a Luxembourg interview will go a long way.
- Stay positive – in most interviews, you will be asked about previous/current employment and experience. Whatever your views always refrain from negative comments and focus on positive aspects, scenarios and outcomes
- Be prepared for them to ask you your age, marital status and whether you have children. They can’t discriminate against you on these grounds, but they may ask
- Respect Luxembourg culture – learn a little about the country’s history and culture and try to inject it into your interview to demonstrate you recognise their uniqueness as a nation.
- Give clear, concise and structured answers.
- Speak slowly – although Luxembourgers are excellent linguists, it’s still prudent and polite to talk slowly and clearly and avoid colloquial language and idioms they may not understand if you’re not conversing in their native tongue.
- Don’t bring up salary in the first interview stage. In general, this conversation will naturally take place at the second interview stage – let the interviewer initiate the conversation.
With Luxembourg employment interviews, the interviewer will want to establish how suitable you are as a candidate. To ensure you don’t get stuck on any tough questions, it’s a good idea to have some pre-planned answers and examples of where your skills have been applied in your armoury.
Consider answers to the following questions:
- Why do you want to work in Luxembourg? Why do you want this particular job?
- What do you know about the company/role? What do you like about the company/job?
- What are your career goals for the future?
- What is your language ability in French/German/English?
- What are your abilities for specialist skills required for the job? (if applicable)
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Qualifications for jobs in Luxembourg
The Luxembourgers hold academic qualifications in high regard and they should be clearly outlined on your CV with copies enclosed with your covering letter for Luxembourg working.
If you want to know more about which diplomas and qualifications are recognised in Luxembourg or would like to have the evaluated, more information can be found at: