How to make your CV stand out

1. Decent amount of personal information

When a candidate’s CV is evaluated, personal information plays an important role. It is essential to add personal information such as name, age, telephone number, email address, residence, nationality, etc.

It happens sometimes when the candidate forgets to add his/her name to the CV. It sounds exerggerating, but it still happens. The recruiters must know who the information is from.

Addressing your telephone number and email address allows the recruiters to contact you as soon as possible, even if you have filled them in the ‘sollicitatieformulier’, which means ‘application form’ in the Netherlands. We’ve been repeating this a lot, everything you do during a job application should result in the highest efficiency possible. A lot of candidates apply for a job with their Whatsapp, Skype or Viber account. Please note, not all the companies have these sorts of approaches of interviewing people. While being creative, don’t forget to chase back to the most original ways.

The reason why place of residence and nationality are important is that sometimes it is the key elements of whether or not you being a suitable candidate. It has nothing to do with your ability. For example, when you’re making decision relocating to the Netherlands for work, it is obliged that you have a valid Dutch work permit. If you are not in possession of it, you might not get the job directly, except for when the employer agrees to sponsor you to get the documents. The Dutchies are very productivity-oriented, by filtering this criteria, it saves both parties unneccesary waste of time and effort. As for place of residence, we have mentioned before in #Check List for Evaluating A Good Recruitment Agency in The Netherlands, most of the Dutch companies pay the employees for the transportation to work with €0,19 per kilometer, which is why if you’re commuting from home, sometimes it is listed on the job board that the applicants should live in the region within 50 km maximum.

2. A nice portrait of yourself

We’ve been writing a whole series of articles regarding job hunting , in order to help more expats in the Netherlands (although most rules apply in other countries as well). The points we make are always connected. It’s for the highest efficency, better impression and showing your confidence. In #How to Top A Telephone Interview we mentioned that most of the time, especially for non-skilled work,the impression of the candidates’ manner sometimes matters more than his experience, as most of the candidates applying for the same function share the similar education/career background. We are certain that all the companies are looking for someone in common. Someone confident, professional, easy-going. With a nice portrait it helps the recruiters get a clearer picture of what kind of person they’re talking to. And with a professional image, you are possibly treated even more seriously by the employers, than with a random selfie.

So here are some tips for you to choose a nice portrait for your professional curriculum vitae. Your face should be in the center of the photo. Try to make a portrait in a room with adequate light source. The background is better bright than dark. Keep the background simple and neat.You can dress up in business casual or business, depending on the kind of function you are applying for. You don’t have to go to professional photographer for this. You can achieve this effect with your phone, as long as it is a clear and close shot. Otherwise you can always take a photo with the passport photo booth, it is the cheapest way to get it done! Last but not least, don’t forget to wear a friendly smile  Such a photo highlights your positivity and confidence.

3. Don’t capitalize every word

This is something you might want to avoid. It is more exhausting and it gives an aggressive feeling when every word is in capital form. It violates our writting and reading habits, which costs more time fort he readers as the length adds up.

If you really want to highlight some sentences or job titles, you can capitalize the initials. You can highlight your whole job title, if you really think that’s neccessary.Overusing capitalized words would make your CV lose its focus instead.

4. Don’t include your whole life story

In principle, you need to keep your resumé simple but summative. A full-page CV does not equal a professional one. Keep in mind that it is impossible to include every single bit of your experience in a CV, which is supposed to sum up important information only. You don’t have to write down something that is too obvious. E.g. if you worked as a order picker, you don’t have to write a description over ‘picking products for orders’. This kind of long-winded writting would only make people think that you actually have nothing to write about and the readers’ interest would most probably drop really fast.

Write down something that would actually make you stand out in this function. For example, tasks you were assigned to, which were only based on your outstanding quality. E.g. You are a production worker and you show more responsibility and leadership in you, so the manager gives you the right to lead the group. Another example, you took over a big project in your former company because you were the top option, based on your strong capability of communication. The whole point of writting a CV and motivation letter is to show that you are a more competitive candidate than the others.

5. Highlight the related experience

Apart from keeping your job descriptions essential, you also need to maintain your former work and social experience related. Writting down all your past experience in 1-2 pages of resumé does not make you look like a pro, but not really have a specialty, except for when you are good at each one of them. The content should adapt to your current status, but the principle is to highlight the related experience only.

For example, as a fresh gradudate without a lot of experience, it is helpful if you include your summer internship in a firm related to your study or social experiments, school assigned working programs. At this moment everything counts. After you step in the society for a couple of years, your experience has accumulated. Then you can filter out some irrelavant experience, such as sumemr job for 2 months in a store, if you have made up your mind to enter IT industry.

When you are selecting your experience, ask yourself, what would make you stand out in the function you are applying for. You will slowly get an idea of your work orientation as you gain more practice. It is not about the quantity but the quality. So it is certainly not better as you write more. 3 different functions are doable. If you really want to make progress in your future career, then you need to stick to the passion you discovered for youself. Also don’t forget to check your CV from time to time to make sure it is still up-to-date.

6. Possesion of driver’s license

It is particularly important to mention whether or not you are in possesion of a valid EU driver’s license, during your job application in the Netherlands. As we know, the Netherlands is considered a small country. It is normal for people to commute to another city, even another province for work! For short distance, the Dutchies love to cycle. But when you have to travel to another city, it is not always convenient with public transportation. Sometimes the train might stop running because of reconstruction of the staions,or when the Dutch weather happens. If you need to travel to a smaller town, you need to be prepared to sit and wait for 2-3 hours with public transportation, for a 30-minute drive. So it narrows down your opportunities.

Therefore, by a lot of customer-oriented functions, it is required that you need to have driver’s license to be qualified to apply for the vacancy, as you need to visit the clients frequently and you can’t afford to spend too much time on the way.

7. Command of language(s)

There are more and more expats moving to the Netherlands. The business world in the Netherlands is also full of diversity and inclusion. Hundreds of thousands of international enterprises arise every now and then. They are searching for new talents all the time! It only takes a little bit of space in your CV but you never know how it’ll turn out.

Watch out! You only need to mention the major languages in your CV. There is no need to list every dialect you speak. Because even in the international companies, it is impossible to use every small branch of dialect from other countries as working language, especially when you are from a country of diverse dialects. If the recruiter sees your nationality and the major language you speak in your country, they’ll ask you for more details if your talent is needed in their company.

8. Seperation of sections

To make your CV readable, you should keep it sorted and formatted. First things first, define the sections. Usually a nice CV is divided into the following parts : personal information, summative self-introduction, education&trainning, work experience, highlighted skills, etc. Keep enough space between each section and separate the content by using different font sizes and capitalizing the initials. Make sure the titles,subtitles, job descriptions are on the same line with the same space.

9. Always double check

It won’t be consistent if you mention that you are a detail-oriented person while there are multiple spelling or typing mistakes in your CV. We all make mistakes, but it says a lot about a person when he/she takes measures. Even if the recruiters don’t really care about the wrong spellings, it shouldn’t be the reason that you stop trying to be more professional. If you don’t know the word, look it up in a dictionary. If you use Google Translate, always reverse the languages to make sure it is the right meaning.

When you start looking for a new job after a long time, also double check and update your old CV as well. You should always include your last work experience before you apply for a new job. 

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