Colleen’s 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 first. When you have all the elements together in one place the items you need are easier to pull out for a master and then targeted CV.
  2. Research the requirements of each specific position 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 are a few ways 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. Choose a web, digital, video or Word format according to the standards in your industry or field.
  5. Use a simple, visually appealing layout like this sample. 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 pick up your CV. Save and send it as a pdf file with the file name ‘CV Your Name’. If they are using an applicant tracking system (ATS), make sure it is compatible with the file format you use.
  6. Start with your name and for contact details just use your email address, village/city where you are living and link to your LinkedIn. Then include a profile (or summary of experience or highlights of experience). This is a description of your strongest personal characteristics and your current career objective. Include here the most relevant points of your qualities, qualifications and 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 and action verbs 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 results achieved. Use the least number of words possible to say the most you can.
  9. Your CV does not need to contain everything you’ve done. It is a summary of your most important, relevant skills and experience for a position to convince the reader to invite you for an interview.
  10. Have your CV proofread by two other people before sending it. Typos can mean that your CV won’t get a full read.