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Writing and talking about the present in your job application

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Use the present simple in your job application to talk about


Things that happen on a regular basis.

  • Although I am not a student of business studies or economics, I regularly attend lectures on finance.
  • Do you offer internships in your department every year?
  • The company doesn't expect me to work every weekend.
Things that are generally true, long-lasting situations or permanent states.
  • I work well on my own, but I prefer teamwork.
  • BMW's headquarters are in Munich.


Use the present continuous in your job application to talk about


Temporary situations and things that are going on at the moment.

  • I am sending you my resume on the recommendation of David McLean.
  • Are you writing your PhD thesis on genetic engineering?
  • No, I'm not studying Spanish, I'm studying Italian as a minor.
Developing situations.
  • The company is expanding rapidly.



1. Three important words for your job application - live, work and study - can be used fairly flexibly in the present simple or continuous depending on how permanent you perceive your work, your studies or where you live:


In the present simple the writer sees their studies, work and where they live as a more permanent state.

  • I study Physics at Munich University.
  • I work part-time at an insurance company.
  • I live in Munich.

In the present continuous the writer sees their studies, work and where they live as something temporary, something they are doing at the moment, but not long term.

  • I am studying Physics at Munich University.
  • I am working part-time at an insurance company.
  • I am living in Munich.


2. Stative verbs are verbs that describe relatively fixed emotions (want, like, hope), mental states and opinions (think, expect, consider), as well as the senses (hear, sound, see) and states of being and belonging (belong, own, need). These verbs are mostly used in the simple form.

verbs of opinion and thinking
believe, think, assume, consider, understand, suppose, expect, agree, know, remember, forget, see
  • I believe my qualifications and experience make me a strong candidate for this job.
  • I expect to graduate in 20XX.
verbs of emotion
prefer, hope, wish, want, like, love, detest, envy, hate, feel
  • I hope to hear from you soon.
  • The candidate wants to start his traineeship in September.
verbs of having, being and needing
belong, appear, need, seem, have, depend, include, require
  • I have experience in publishing work.
  • I understand that your company needs graduates with excellent communication skills.

verbs of the senses
see, hear, smell, taste, feel

  • I see from your advertisement that you need students for your international call centre.
  • I hear you are looking for graduates with a degree in Information Technology.


3. Some verbs have a stative and a dynamic meaning. The stative meanings are always in the present simple. The dynamic meaning can be in the simple or the continuous, depending on whether you're talking about something that happens regularly or something happening now.

Think in this example is a stative verb meaning “to be of the opinion” and is therefore in the present simple.

  • I think my qualifications are suitable for the job
Think here is a dynamic verb refering to a mental process. It is happening now. It is therefore in the present continuous.
  • I am thinking about doing an internship this summer.
Think is here again the dynamic verb meaning the process of thinking but this time the context is something that happens regularly. The verb is therefore in the present simple.
  • I always think before I speak.


4. Do not use the present simple or present continuous to say how long something has been happening.

Right Wrong
I have been studying Political Science since 20XX. I study Political Science since 20XX.
I have been studying Political Science for three years I study Political Science for three years.


See Writing and talking about the past in your job application for more information about "since", "for" and "ago".

5. In CVs, we often use a reduced form of the present continuous to describe what we are doing in a job at the moment:

Website Project Management Internship
Schilling und Partner Multimedia, a major multimedia agency in Munich, Germany

  • (I am) assisting in the redesign of a client's website
  • (I am) testing website effectiveness with focus groups
  • (I am) preparing presentation materials for meetings with clients


6. The present tenses are sometimes used to talk about the future. If you'd like more information on this point, go to Future tenses.

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