Your CV is no longer enough

Your CV is no longer enough

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Peter Koijen and Ligia Koijen Ramos from in2motivation, an Amsterdam-based personal and professional development company, give us tips on how best to present ourselves to companies and land that dream job.

It still amazes us that after 10 years of not having worked directly in HR management, candidates still focus their CVs on the studies they did or work experience they had.

Conversely, companies nowadays are focusing more attention and money on what they call “soft skills”.

Ask yourself these questions

Companies are looking for people who can think outside of the box, complete tasks outside of their job descriptions, perform and speak in public, help others develop, and respond to challenges in a professional way. And these skills are not automatically learnt during formal studies or work in a particular sector.

So, a question you could ask yourself is: are you training yourself to be better? Are you the candidate that companies want to get to know better? Are you showing them your potential? Are you showing them your abilities?

The best way to present yourself 

Take a moment to think. Do you know how many people complete a master's degree in economics every year, or finish law school? If you put these accomplishments on your CV, you will be one in 5000. You are no different from anyone else; you're not distinguishing yourself from the rest and you're not a sparkling candidate for companies.

What is the best way to present yourself to companies and land the job that you have always wanted? Here are some tips to better present yourself:

Study the company

Go and do your homework. Check the type of people who are working there. You can do this, for example, through LinkedIn. Connect with people working there and ask for their feedback. Adapt your image, information and way of approach to the job you are applying for. Realise that if it is really the company that you want to work with, activating your critical thinking is a must.

Be flexible

A CV for one company is not the right CV for all of them. Change and adapt your CV in accordance with the question: What does the company want? Change the photo. Change the way it is set out. Change the points that you highlight. And use the wording that they use in their job ads in your CV. Create a unique CV for each company because they are different, even if they are in the same line of business.

Show your abilities

Move away from only putting your studies and formal education on your CV. Demonstrate all the things that you can do for the company. Show what you have learnt over the years with the activities that you have done outside of university or work.

I have learnt a lot with my funk and soul band in the more than twenty years that we have played together, not only about group dynamics but also a lot about myself. Everything can be an intensive training in self-development. ~ Peter

Develop yourself

If you want to improve yourself, don’t wait for a company to pay for it or for the performance review because you can be too late. Be aware of the points you want to develop and look for the best way to improve them. And remember that there is not just one way to learn and develop an ability. Choose the one that suits you best, in terms of time, investment and location.

For instance, when I wanted to improve my event management skills, I did voluntary work for the European Capital of Culture, which allowed me to work with live entertainment companies like "La Fura dels Baus" and be co-responsible for events for more than 200,000 people. ~ Ligia.

Take the risk

Dare to be different. Be authentic, be yourself. Because if you get the job they will "find you out" sooner or later! And getting a job is not the same thing as quitting a job.

Co-authors Peter Koijen and Ligia Koijen Ramos are life coaches and motivational speakers at in2motivation, offering personal and professional training courses to optimise individual and group motivation and performance.


Peter Koijen


Peter Koijen

owner of in2motivation

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