The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the first and probably the most important step in finding a job in the Netherlands.
How to write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A CV is more than just your profile; it is a marketing tool. You should not think of it as a typicality that is required by prospective employers but as a "sales brochure." Besides, if the recruiter offers you the opportunity of an interview, a well-built CV will trigger conversation around your profile and increase the probability of getting hired.
In a nutshell, a CV is a representation of past accomplishments and skills. However, the same applies to all other candidates and thus, the following tips should come in handy:
- Listing all projects, courses, training etc. may not be practical or even useful; mention the most relevant information only.
- A Curriculum Vitae is written in reverse factual chronological order.
- Between professional and educational experience, you should place the one that describes your most recent status first. For instance, if you have just graduated, it is advisable to mention your studies and then your work experience (if any).
- Recruiters scan numerous CVs for the same position, so an appealing CV must not exceed two pages. In fact, a single-page CV should do the trick.
Get help from a CV pro
If you need some extra help creating the perfect CV or need a second opinion, you can always get the help of a CV pro. There are various companies who offer CV advice and help such as:
Elements of a good CV
- Personal information: name, nationality, place and date of birth, marital status, contact details and military obligations (if any).
- Educational background: universities, majors, classes, thesis, grades, academic projects and references.
- Prior work experience: companies, positions, employment periods, main tasks and references.
- Skills & Experience: language and computer skills, distinctions, training, military service (if applicable and not mentioned before), sports, seminars and interests / hobbies.
- Write an appealing CV. Pay extra attention when choosing letter fonts and avoid dense writing.
- Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs.
- Dutch recruiters highly value extracurricular and leisure activities. Nevertheless, include only those that are relevant to the job you are applying for (e.g. being good in team sports reveals team spirit).
- In the Netherlands, it is not necessary to include copies of diplomas, employer references or other official documents in your CV. You will be asked to submit them at a later stage.
- If you have little or no full-time work experience, then you need to emphasise on academic projects you participated in and relevant courses you took. Part-time occupation, summer jobs and voluntarism is a good way to demonstrate your capabilities and accomplishments.
- In general, it is advisable to adjust your CV for different job applications. Try to make its content as relevant to the job description as possible.
- Most online recruitment agencies ask for a word file of your curriculum vitae, but a pdf version is always more appealing.
- A CV only mirrors facts and figures. Your motivation for the role, aspirations, suitability for the job and qualifications should be reflected in your cover letter.
- If applicable, mention your military service and describe your main duties as well as your ranking. Military experience can trigger discussions about your personality and pressure handling.
- Last but not least, beware of any linguistic errors!