Finding employment is always a challenge, especially in a language other than your own. If you need to do it in Spanish, this blogpost will help you write your CV, write a cover letter and get ready for an interview.
The CV (curriculum vitae, in Latin; résumé in North America) contains several sections:
- Contact information
- Work experience
- Additional courses or training
- Skills: for example, languages, computer skills, driving licence, etc.
- Hobbies or interests: for example, car ownership, teamwork skills, availability to travel, etc.
You can use the model at the end of this post as a guide. Note that in Spain the CV includes a photo of the candidate. It’s not obligatory but it’s a very common practice.
The cover letter should include:
- Name and/or job title and address of the person you are writing to
- Your full name, address and contact details (telephone, email)
- Place and date
- Subject: for example, solicitud de puesto de director/a de marketing
- Salutation: this should be formal, such as Estimado/a sr./sra. + nombre y apellido/s
- The main body of the letter: explain why you are applying for this job, and how your education, training and experience make you a good candidate for the position. You can use some of these phrases in the letter:
Me dirijo a usted para expresar mi deseo de incorporarme a su empresa;
Le escribo para expresar mi interés por…
Como puede comprobar en mi currículum adjunto,…
Then you can summarise your experience using some of these temporal markers:
- En los últimos años
- Acabo de + infinitivo
Don’t forget that when speaking of the past it’s best to use the pretérito perfecto, because this tense is used to describe experiences more closely related to the present (he trabajado, he estudiado, he viajado,…).
When you talk about your preferences, interests and feelings try not to repeat the same verb. Here are some expressions that might help you to avoid this.
- Me encanta/n
- Me apasiona/n
- Me parece/n
- Me molesta/n
- Me preocupa/n
- Me pone/n (nervioso/a, de mal humor,…)
- Me llevo bien/mal con (clientes, compañeros de trabajo,…)
- No soporto
- No aguanto
- Formal closing: for example,
Quedo a su entera disposición para cualquier información que necesite.
Estoy a su disposición para realizar una entrevista.
En espera de sus noticias, le saluda atentamente,…
Agradeciéndole su atención le saluda atentamente
- Full name and signature
You can use the model at the end of this post as a guide.
The interview: congratulations if you have made it this far!
Make a good impression: it’s important to be well dressed, preferably not in jeans and T-shirt, and if you have tattoos or piercings it’s better to cover them up. Not all jobs require this level of formality but if you don’t know the company well, it’s best to to make sure that a more relaxed style of dress doesn’t cause a problem. In some jobs you have to wear a suit, and men have to wear a tie.
Be punctual: although Spanish people have a reputation for being unpunctual, when it comes to a job interview, arriving late can cause a bad impression. However, when the unexpected happens, you can use expressions like these to apologise:
Siento muchísimo llegar tarde, lamentablemente ….
Perdón por el retraso, me ha sido imposible…
Disculpe mi tardanza, lo lamento muchísimo…
Be sincere and self-confident. Spanish speakers really value sincerity and close relationships with people. Kindness and amiability can open many doors. It’s important not to come across as too serious even if the job carries a lot of responsibility.
On the other hand, don’t be over-confident. If you seem to be boasting too much about your accomplishments or merits, you may appear to be arrogant, and this could turn the interviewer off. Be aware that what English speakers may consider to be self-confidence or assertiveness may appear arrogant to a Spanish speaker.
Watch your posture: folding your arms, leaning back in your chair or forwards over the table, or slouching in your seat may convey lack of interest, laziness, or boredom.
Don’t gesticulate too much. Although Spanish speakers use their hands a lot when talking with people they know and trust, it’s no appropriate in a job interview. Try to use more formal expressions and fewer gestures.
Maintain eye contact. Spanish and Latin American cultures are ‘contact cultures”; this means it’s important to maintain eye contact in order to convey interest in what the other person is saying. It’s also important to shake hands at the beginning and at the end of the interview. The handshake should be firm and not go on too long. (Careful: don’t offer to shake hands during COVID.)
Prepare some questions for the interviewer. It’s good to have some questions prepared a head of time in order to show interest in the company and in the job. For example, ask about your responsibilities, the kids of projects you might be involved in, the colleagues and teams you might work with, or opportunities for training on the job. However, do not ask about your salary or your hours of work. Normally it’s the interviewer or employer that rises these topics .
If your application is not successful you probably won’t receive any notification from the company. If this happens, keep on trying and ¡no tires la toalla! (don’t throw in the towel); el que la sigue, la consigue (If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again).
Here are some key words and phrases related to employment that you might find useful:
|contratar||to hire someone|
|ascender||to get ahead|
|afrontar los desafíos||to face (up to) the challenges|
|alcanzar los objetivos||to attain your objectives|
|ser organizado/a||to be organised|
|ser paciente||to be patient|
|el puesto de responsabilidad||a position of responsibility|
|ser eficiente||to be efficient|
|ser eficaz||to be effective|
|el sueldo/el salario||salary|
|los puntos fuertes y débiles||strong or weak points|
|trabajar bajo presión||to work under pressure|
|estar de baja||to be off work, to be on leave|
|cubrir una baja por enfermedad||to cover a sick leave|
|cubrir una baja de maternidad||to cover a maternity leave|
|madrugar||to get up early|
|las condiciones laborales||working conditions|
|el aumento||a rise or raise (in pay)|
|la carrera||career; also, a university degree|
|el desempleo (estar desempleado/a)||unemployment; to be unemployed|
|dimitir||to resign or step down|
|renunciar||to quite, to leave|
|el personal||personnel, staff|
|hacer prácticas||to work as an intern|
|estar en paro||to be unemployed|
|los recursos humanos||human resources|