Get a Job in Spain: How to Make your CV Stand Out

Do you want to get a job in Spain? I mean, that’s perfectly understandable considering Spain is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and pristine beaches, most visited tourist attractions in the world, and dons an absurd amount of Michelin-star restaurants. What’s not to like? To know Spain is to love it. That’s coming from someone who has been living and working in Madrid, Spain for almost 9 years.

This is not an article on which visa to apply for if you want to work in Spain. Nor is it a piece detailing how to stay in Spain long-term. If you’re interested in teaching English in Spain, we have tons of resources for you. This is an article aimed at those already living or working in Spain who want to either transition from English teaching to another field, or for those who simply want to revamp their CV and stand out in this over-saturated market.

But, Danni, I heard that unemployment in Spain is a problem… while youth unemployment in Spain stands at about 32% (as of January 2019), more likely than not, you won’t be applying for the exact same positions. If you are, however, there are ways to highlight your special skill set.

I’m sure you have a few questions about the Spanish job market, so let’s dive into those first, shall we?

What’s the minimum wage in Spain?

It’s 1,050€ a month (about 1,183 US dollars)

How often do people get paid in Spain?

We are paid once a month, at the end of the month.

Do I have to pay taxes in Spain?

If you’re working a job, whether part-time or full-time, taxes are automatically deducted from your monthly pay check. If you’re an auxiliar de conversación or working as an English teacher on a stipend-type program like Beda, CIEE or UCETAM, you most likely will not have taxes taken out. That said, when you pay taxes in Spain you’re paying towards the healthcare system, and towards your unemployment fund if you ever need to rely on it in the future.

How much are bills in Spain?

We usually pay water every other month, and electricity every month. Internet and phone costs vary according to your provider, but expect to budget between 50 and 70 euros a month for two people.

How much money can I live on in Spain?

The cost of living in Spain is low, and even lower if you’re in a smaller village or town. People live comfortably on 22k a year and still have enough left over to socialize, travel and enjoy their free time! Amazing isn’t it?

Photo by  NESA by Makers

Let’s get to the heart of it all:
How do I make my CV stand out?

Here are 4 tips to get a job in Spain:

Make a Linkedin Profile

Since I’ve I’ve lived in Spain for my adult life, I can’t speak to the work environment in other countries like the US or UK. What I know is that in Spain, Linkedin is “de moda” and a real resource. Many companies look first at your profile before deciding whether they want to schedule an interview with you. Keeping your profile up-to-date and networking via the platform is a great first step to finding a job in Spain.

Translate your CV

While you may be applying for an English-speaking position, the first eyes that review your application or CV may not be native speakers. It’s better to cover all your bases, than to be kicking yourself later for a preventable fumble. That said, what I recommend is to read the room: if you’re applying for an English teaching position, lead with your English CV. On the other hand, if it’s in a primarily Spanish sector, put your Spanish CV in the front seat, and mention that you also have a translation if necessary. Doing this also actively demonstrates the language skills you should be mentioning in your skills and abilities section!

Name Drop

It’s fine, I’ll be that person. Spain is not a big country, and nepotism, networking and name dropping goes a long way! It’s an ugly truth, but it’s a truth nonetheless. If you have a contact that you’ve made within the company, it’s completely alright to mention their name in your cover letter or introductory email. Here’s an example:

I’m genuinely looking forward to discussing employment opportunities at your company. Juan Fernández, an acquaintance of mine who works in the marketing department, has raved about how much you all have grown as a business in recent years, and how much he values the work environment and values your company cultivates.

It’s a win-win! Juan gets some shine, and you also demonstrate that you’ve done your homework.

Add a Photo

I know, I know, something about it makes you feel icky, right? Why do they need to look at you just to take a glance at your CV? I don’t make the rules, people, all I know is that as someone who hires people in Spain, adding a photo is standard practice as is add your birthday and mobile number. On the plus side, it definitely makes you more selective as to who you send your CV to! What many people do is send an introductory letter and a link to linkedin, nevertheless, the photo aspect is basically unavoidable. Embrace it, and put your best face forward!

Applying for a job anywhere can be a daunting task, let alone in a new country and in a foreign language. Many people will tell you that it’s futile, but don’t listen to those people. I’ve lived in Spain both during, and after the economic crisis and have never been unemployed for longer than one month in 9 years. Where there’s creativity & persistence, there’s shine, and shine is undeniable! I’ve seen everything from puzzle CVs, origami CVs, digital CVs, you name it! It’s not about making every company fall in love with you, it’s about finding the right company to work with.


Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.