The English application: Curriculum vitae

Curriculum vitae: Activities and references


If you want to mention your hobbies on your CV, do not list them under ‘hobbies’. The correct term, so as not to sound childish, is either ‘activities’ or ‘interests’. In this section, list hobbies that reflect, among other things, your assertiveness and ability to work in a team, especially when these keywords are mentioned in the job description. Listing only different sports or interests is meaningless and of no significance. Focus on one or two activities and write a short sentence as explanation. For example, you may have been playing for years in a football team or are the captain of the team. This has taught you the importance of teamwork or you have already gained experience as a team leader. Both of these would present additional value to the reader. Writing a CV is akin to writing an academic paper: The statements must be proven.

Short and sweet

  • Sports
  • Culture


The significance of work certificates is low in the English-speaking world. References are far more important because they provide the contact information of your past employers, from whom your future boss may obtain information about you. Therefore, two to three references must be given. For example, the professor who supervised your thesis or your boss from an internship could provide information about your skills and activities. Of course, the respective reference must agree beforehand so that he/she can be contacted by the prospective employer.

The statement of the references requires the following details:

(Title) first and last name
Name of the company, university or institution
Telephone number

If you are sending multiple applications, it may occur that several interested parties contact your references. To avoid having five or six potential employers call at your professor’s, it is common to write, ‘References available on request’.

If your prospective employer is interested to call you for an interview, he/she will ask for your references to form an idea about you and your past work experience before speaking to you in person. Therefore, it is important that you are actually able to provide the references.

Short and sweet

  • One to two contact persons who can provide information about your skills
  • Name, position, institution and contact details
  • Alternative: References available on request

American and British CVs are never signed and the date is not mentioned.

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