Going For EU Gold? Get Ready For EuroPASS

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If you’ve never applied for work with an EU institution or taken part in a funding bid with an EU institution, you probably haven't come across EuroPASS: a plan created to improve mobility between European countries for employees and academics. The best-known EuroPASS documents are a common CV template, and the Certificate Supplement and European Skills Passport for individuals with vocational qualifications. There is now also a Diploma Supplement and a EuroPASS Language Passport, amongst others.

For academics, the EuroPASS CV format is perhaps the most important, as most EU institution funding bids require that all participants submit their curriculum vitae in this style. Templates are available from EuroPASS for the CV, and it can also be created online along with a standard cover letter (see Resources).

Format guidelines.

The best way to achieve a good-quality result is with the CV template, which is available in Microsoft Word (.doc) and OpenDocument Text (.odt) formats. One of these will work in almost any word processing programme. Both the template and full instructions can be used in a variety of European languages.

The main difference to typical academic CVs is the length: if you want to include publications, presentations and research, this must be done as a separate Annex. Along with a brief, chronological list of posts, you will need to fill out sections on language skills, communication skills, organizational/management skills and computer skills.

For each language other than your native tongue, you will need to rate your ability using the European Language Levels. If you have not received a formal certificate in your additional language or languages, there is a Self-Assessment Grid available (see Resources) that can assist you in describing your facility. European academics from outside the UK will tend to have an edge on this portion, with most having proven and certified facility in at least one additional language.

If you have received a certificate from an independent course, examination or university-level study, check with the provider to see how it corresponds with the European Language Levels.

Brevity and  clarity.

The format pushes you to describe key job roles with just one or a few bullet points. When it comes to skills, you are expected to describe not just what you can do, but how you have demonstrated this. For example, rather than “strong leadership and organizational skills,” use a short but descriptive phrase, such as “leadership and organisational skills developed via management of multi-site research projects.”

There is space for membership of key organisations—EU reviewers generally expect this to include only EU-level or international organisations. References are also crucial, and this is another area where names from outside the UK are a good idea.

For some bids, you may also be required to show how your UK (or non-EU) degree maps across to European university standards.

The image of British academics within EU institutions is of insular researchers who have few European contacts or interests. To correct this erroneous assumption, you may need to go out of your way to identify skills, aptitudes and professional relationships that show your willingness to cross borders.

That said, the EuroPASS format has many critics, not least because it takes the retrograde step of requiring a photo—telegraphing details such as age, gender, race and attractiveness that have no bearing on skills.


European Language Levels – Self-Assessment Grid: https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/resources/european-language-levels-cefr

EuroPASS CV templates and instructions: https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/documents/curriculum-vitae/templates-instructions

Create or update your EuroPASS CV and cover letter online: https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/documents/curriculum-vitae

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