Top Ten CV Tips

  1. Make a Master CV, a CV with all of your experience and achievements listed. You may find it easier to organize/collect this in a folder or box rather than one document. It is easier to pull out the elements for a targeted CV when you have all the elements together in one place.
  2. Research each specific position and its requirements for which you plan to apply as preparation for writing your CV. Make sure you fully understand the qualifications they are asking for and to what extent you meet these qualifications.
  3. Target your CV to the specific position. Make sure your CV addresses all the key words and requirements for the position for which you wish to be interviewed.
  4. There is not just one way to write a CV. Choose the type of CV that accentuates your strengths and is most effective for your situation. Choose headings that best capture the elements you have to put in your CV.
  5. Use a simple, visually appealing layout. In the Netherlands it is more common to include a professional picture of yourself as this engages the non-verbal side of the reader’s brain and increases the chances they will look at your CV. Save and send it as a pdf file with the title ‘CV Your Name’.
  6. Include a summary profile right after your name and contact details. This can also be called ‘highlights of experience’ and can include your strongest personal characteristics, most relevant experience/achievements and current job objective. Include here the strongest and most relevant points of your experience so that a quick scan of a few seconds will convince the reader to give your CV a second read and ultimately invite you for the interview.
  7. Be consistent in your layout and titles. For example, list your work experience and education chronologically, from most recent to least recent, using bullets for easy reading. Use the same format for work experience and education: title, organisation/institution, date, relevant achievements /courses / projects.
  8. Your CV must be concise, accurate and specific, naming numbers and achievements. Use the least number of words possible to say the most you can. Start your points with action verbs to engage the reader.
  9. Your CV does not need to contain everything you’ve done. It is a summary of your most important information to convince the reader to invite you for an interview and briefly fills the gaps in between to complete the picture.
  10. Have your CV proofread by two other people before sending it. Typo’s can mean that your CV won’t get a full read.

Developed collaboratively with Akkie Okma of Okma Advies.

Download a pdf copy of these tips here.