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My Business Coaching Podcast supports psychologically based and practice-oriented leadership, self-management and personal reorientation.

#4 CV - International and intercultural differences
My Business Coaching Podcast
#4 CV - International and intercultural differences

The fourth episode of MY BUSINESS COACHING PODCAST is online!
In this episode I will have a chat with my colluege Lea Menzel, who is the expert in CV matters in our team. Thanks to her studies at the International School of Management, she also knows a lot about intercultural differences in selfpresentation. We will talk about the relevance of a really good CV, the most important do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing one and the intercultural differences in selfpresentation. We will also take a closer look at the Hofstede model, which explains intercultural differences according to five cultural dimensions.

The conversation in extracts:


  • Clear structure
  • Chronologically descending structure
  • Short and clear formulations
  • Full details of all professional positions
  • Match qualifications to job requirements
  • Highlight job title and educational qualifications
  • Time data with month and year
  • Photo in very good quality with appropriate business clothes
  • Check contact information
  • Save resume under first and last name
  • 2 pages



  • No passport photo or private photo
  • Too many different colors or fonts
  • Irrelevant or unnecessary private information
  • Contradictions in content to other sources (online profiles etc.)
  • Grammar or spelling mistakes
  • Cover up gaps or lie
  • Obvious use of patterns and templates

Curriculum vitae

USA: Resume

  • No photo
  • No date, no signature
  • No certificates
  • No date of birth, no place of birth
  • No religion
  • No marital status
  • No salary expectations
  • Optional: Objective or Personal Profile
  • References (or on separate page)
  • Or: References available on/upon request

UK: Curriculum Vitae/CV

  • No photo
  • No date, no signature
  • No certificates
  • Gender, marital status, age, birthplace, religion rather omitted, but is possible as “Personal Details
  • No salary expectations
  • Optional: Objective or Personal Profile
  • References (or on a separate page)
  • Or: References available on/upon request


Cover letter

USA: Cover letter

  • Date: e.g. June 28, 2015
  • Mr./Ms. (with dot)
  • Dear Ms. Smith: Then capitalization
  • Sincerely, (with comma)
  • Subject line between address and salutation:
    Company Address
    Ref: Advertisement in New York Times for…
    Dear Mr. Smith:
  • Return address completed with Germany
  • Phone number with international prefix and e-mail address
  • No salary expectations
  • Concrete announcement follow up: e.g. I will call you next week to discuss …

UK: Covering letter

  • Date: e.g. 28 June 2015
  • Mr/Ms (without dot)
  • Dear Ms Smith (with or without comma)
  • Sincerely, (if after salutation comma)
  • Sincerely (if after salutation no comma)
  • Subject line between salutation and main text:
    Dear Mr Smith
    Ref: Advertisement in London Times for…
    I am applying for the position of…
  • Return address completed with Germany
  • Phone number with international prefix and e-mail address
  • Optional: salary expectations
  • More cautious announcement follow-up: e.g. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this post furthe

German curriculum vitae

  • Photo
  • Date, no signature
  • Certificates
  • Enter date of birth, place of birth, marital status
  • optional Religion
  • optional salary expectations
  • optional references


English CV

  • No photo
  • No date, no signature
  • No certificates
  • No date of birth, no place of birth
  • No religion
  • No marital status
  • No salary expectations
  • references


#3 Recognize your core competencies or: What exactly makes you successful?
My Business Coaching Podcast
#3 Recognize your core competencies or: What exactly makes you successful?

Do you actually know which competences characterize you personally? No? Then you are in good company. Most people can’t name what they are particularly good at. This is due to a typical thinking error: The things we are especially good at are nothing special in our own eyes.
In this episode of MY BUSINESS COACHING PODCAST I will talk with my coachee Steven about the relevance of exactly these core competences in private and professional settings, how I determine these in my coaching sessions together with the coachee and what a so-called “strength shower” is.
By the way: This episode is part of a miniseries on professional and personal reorientation.

The conversation in extracts:

Do you actually know which 3 – 5 competencies characterise your personality and play a major role by achieving your successes?


No? Then you are in good company. Most people can´t name what they are particularly good at. This is due to a typical thinking error: the things we are especially good at are nothing special in our own eyes.  I´ll give you some examples:


“It’s nothing special that I can immediately recognize the two number rotations in a 5-page table” is an example of such a thinking error.


“Everyone has a good friend in every department of the company who can be asked for a favor”. Anyone who thinks that does not realize that he or she is particularly good at networking.


I have actually achieved a sudden insight with a coachee recently. I was able to convince her that it is not a matter of course to speak 5 languages fluently. She really was´nt aware of her talent for languages!


It is one of my major fields of expertise to do career coaching and to accompany my coachees during a professional reorientation. In the beginning we always determine their core competencies. There are several reasons why the core competencies are, so to speak, the core of the career coaching.


Reason no. 1: If you know your core competencies, you can use them consciously and communicate them confidently.


Reason no. 2: The more you are able to use your core competencies in a job, the more successful and satisfied you will be. There are even studies that show that people stay healthier and are more stress resistant if their core competencies are required in their job .


Reason no. 3: The exercise I use to determine core competencies is very powerful and absolutely motivating!

This exercise is called “Success Stories”. I provide my coachees with a set of questions as a guideline and ask them to describe three successes using this guide. These do not have to be “world saving projects”. It can be smaller or larger, professional or private achievements. The main and crucial point is that the client feels really satisfied with the outcome, is proud of it. Some people find this exercise very easy, others really have to think about it. Yet without exception, in the end everybody says: It was a good experience to reflect questions like: “what does success actually mean for me? What are my successes? And how did I achieve them?”


I would like to invite my – obviously fictitious – coachee Steven to tell his success story:


Coachee: Well, this success story is about the fact that I integrated two teams against considerable resistance and led them to a great project success. This success has welded the team together perfectly and today the project is still considered a technological milestone!


It’s already been a few years since I had just taken over my first team leadership. The new vice president was restructuring the organization and in this change process my team and a neighbouring team should be merged. The colleague who led the neighbouring team was super experienced and extremely popular with his team. Surprisingly, however, I was given responsibility for the management of the new, merged teams. No one could be more surprised than me! In retrospect, I found out that the new vice president was very convinced of my strategic abilities because he knew me from two really successful project presentations.


Of course I swallowed at first, but then I was happy and immediately saw the opportunities we would have with the combined competencies in the new team. But of course I also saw the resistance. The neighbouring team could absolutely not understand why I as a youngster was given the leading role – and not their beloved Harald.


What did I do? First of all I consulted my mentor, talked to friends and experienced colleagues. They all had interesting suggestions for me and provided me with new ideas and perspectives.  Then I developed a very structured approach. The starter was an extremely well-prepared acceptance speech, in which it was important for me to be honest and credible and at the same time positive and convincing. I even rehearsed the speech a few times in advance and it was very well received. Afterwards I had one-on-one interviews with everyone, picked up everybody, did a team workshop – the usual things, but very consistent, structured and with personal commitment.


Through my network I then learned about a technically enormously challenging project – with the highest visibility, but also many uncertainties. I decided that I would try to land the project for my new team – quite a risk, to be honest and I had to acquire a lot of knowledge very quickly …To cut a long story short: In the end, the project became a huge success, which welded the team together and still represents a great reputation for me today.


So, what skills and competencies could I gather from Stevens story?


– Well, Steven, first of all you are very structured. You told your story in a very structures way, I immediately knew what it’s all about; and your plan to integrate the two teams was also very structured



– And you are really strategic, that’s why the vice president gave you the leading role


– You are obviously a good presenter, that´s why the vice president spoted you in the first place; and you did a great job on the project presentation


– You have a stable network and you use your crowed as sparing partners. Via your network you learned about that exciting project and got it into the team


– You spot opportunities and courageously seize them – the management of the new, merged team, the prestige project – just to name two examples


– You are really ambitious and prepare yourself very well …


This feedback goes on for a while in the coaching and I call this “shower of resources”.  It’s like a wonderful, refreshing shower to get your strong points and resources reflected!


Steven now tells his second success story. It´s quit technical, so I won´t get into details. The third story is really interesting and completely different: a private success – Steve has organised a surprise party for his best friend’s 40th birthday and managed to have common friends from half around the world on the guest list.


In the end, his core competencies are crystal clear, they are evident in every success story. I invite Steven to present them by himself:


Coachee: I have a high persuasive power through personal credibility, I have courage and a clear opportunity orientation, I approach tasks very strategically and at the same time in a structured way. Furthermore, I characterize with learning agility and willingness to develop and I am an active networker.


Great, and I really do have all these strengths and can prove them, if necessary, through success stories, i.e. through examples from my biography!

Now I`ll give you some background information about Positive Psychology, which is fundamental for my career coaching.


Positive Psychology focuses on research questions like: What makes us happy and content? What lets us stay healthy and stress resilient?  Positive Psychology is strongly linked to the name Martin Seligman. Seligman, a famous American psychologist, has been working for quite some time on the following question: how can people be characterized based on their individual strength?  He has done a lot of research and developed a so-called character strength test. This is available for free in the internet www.viacharacter.org . You can fill out this test online and receive your results immediately. I recommend the test because it is scientifically based. And it is really exciting for everyone who is interested in their personality or in psychology in general. However, the results are not really linked to business related questions.


In my business coachings I focus on core competencies which are typical for the job-related personality. Those who can use their core competencies feel authentic. “That is really me” is what they would say.


There is a very strong intrinsic motivation to use one’s own core competencies and it is joyful to be able to use them. No wonder that exactly these competencies make us successful!


On the other hand it is absolutely demotivating when your own core competencies are not brought to bear. You cannot be effective in such a situation or position!


Therefore I strongly recommend to work out your core competences by writing and analysing your success stories.


By describing your past successes you are writing the first chapter of your future professional success!