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Preparing a good CV

Curriculum Vitae (CV) Tips:

Your CV is vital to your success in presenting yourself  on the job market. Your CV markets your relevant skills, experience and value to a potential employer. A good CV will substantially boost your chances of securing an interview, and thus of getting a job.

There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to writing a CV; each one is unique. So, don’t copy the text of standard CV samples! Your CV text should be original, and reflect your own talents and personality.

Still, you should follow a few basic formatting principles to ensure you present your information most clearly, concisely and effectively.

Note: it is not customary in the Netherlands to include a photograph of yourself with your CV.

Personal details

  • List your full name, address and phone numbers. If your name does not clearly indicate whether you are male or female, please do so.
  • Don’t forget to add your current e-mail address.
  • Your nationality and date of birth are appreciated but not obligatory.

Work experience

  • List your most recent experience first and follow this up with previous experiences in a backward chronology. 
  • Make sure you state the name of your employer, your job title, and most importantly, your tasks and responsibilities. You should also include part-time and voluntary work experience, if applicable.
  • List your work experience in short, plain sentences. (Tip: start each line with a verb such as coordinated, managed, organised etc.)
  • Point out any additional qualities or experience you gained during your employment.
  • For a clean, well-organised look, use bullet points.
Cv 1

Education

  • List your qualifications. Highest degree/current degree should be first. Include type of degree, name of university, location and (anticipated) date of graduation.
  • List other degrees, relevant higher education coursework, ongoing professional educational and training courses as well as study abroad.


Skills

  • Include specifics such as IT skills, and for languages, make sure to mention your current level of fluency (spoken and written).

References

  • Although not required, it is customary to provide the names and contact details of two references.
  • Graduates and starters can list college lecturers, teachers and the managers of their internships, if applicable.
  • Be sure to contact your references in advance, to let them know that someone may contact them.

Hobbies

  • Details of hobbies are optional. They can give your employer a more complete picture of your personal qualities. Don’t overdo it, for example by adding a long list of hobbies to cover up for lack of work experience.

Presentation

  • Your CV is often the first impression an agency or employer will have of you. Obviously, the impression it makes will have an impact on the screening process. Invest time in your CV and create an excellent marketing tool to help you increase your job opportunities and further your career.
  • It is customary to send a one-page CV when applying for an entry-level position or when you lack work experience. Two-page CVs are acceptable if you provide a good description of your skills and experience. A good CV highlights your skills and accomplishments and excludes irrelevant information.
  • CVs should follow a logical, easy-to-read format and be free of any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors.

IMPORTANT

Make sure your CV is well laid out, with clear headings and enough spacing between sections so that your information is easy to read. Keep your CV simple and concise so that the reader does not lose interest. Emphasise your most relevant experience and skills to encourage the consultant or employer to read on. List other skills which make you stand out in the job search crowd, such as languages (be sure to include your level of fluency) and IT skills. Try not to leave any gaps in your employment record as employers may assume the worst. You may wish to mention the reason for leaving a job (travel, study, etc).

Be aware - some employers check your references for accuracy.

Keep the layout simple. Avoid fancy fonts and distracting colours. Be selective when listing the training courses you have completed.. Check thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors. Read your CV text aloud to catch the little mistakes that are easy to miss.

How to write a convincing cover letter to an agency:

The purpose of a cover letter is to give a recruitment agency an overview of who you are. Present your personal information in plain language. Your objective is to convince the agency that your skills, knowledge and background are useful. Here are some tips to help you draft a convincing cover letter.

Keep to one page. Most cover letters contain the following information:

  • A brief introduction including  your career objective.
  • A short round up of your skills, education, and relevant background information.
  • Briefly explain why you want the job and why you think you would be the best candidate.
  • In closing, state your contact information and don’t forget to include your e-mail address.
  • Feel free to add your salary indication and notice period. This information is not obligatory.

Details of your nationality and date of birth would be appreciated but are not obligatory.

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