Creating a winning CV

Need help with your CV layout and content? 

They say first impressions count and wow is it true. Your CV is often the first impression you will make on a potential employer, so it is worth making it pop. If you are struggling with the content and layout of your CV, there is a world of help out there.

To get you started, here is a simple and effective CV template. And here are some handy tips on making a great CV:

Preparation is key. Check examination results, certificates, dates of education and employment. Ask two people to be your referees.

More is less. Your CV should be no longer than two pages. If you include a profile, keep it to a maximum of three lines. So it is easy to read, split your CV into sections such as “personal information” and “employment history”.

Choose a clear typeface. (min 11 pt). Do not use italics or difficult fonts to read and keep the font consistent throughout your CV.

Start with your personal information. Include your name, full address, telephone numbers (work/home/mobile) email address, work permit/visa information (where applicable), nationality and date of birth.

(Please note that your date of birth need not be sent through to a prospective employer, but is important for internal purposes).

Make sure your qualifications are accurate. List all your qualifications and details of any other professional courses. Show them in chronological order and include names and dates of schools/colleges/universities attended. This section should also include computer skills and language skills with your level of competency.

Begin your employment history with your most recent job. Include your role and responsibilities, duration of employment and reasons for leaving. Highlight particular achievements to demonstrate your success. If there are any gaps in your employment, please explain them.

Listing your personal interests is important. Any specific details you can give are helpful. For example, instead of saying ‘drama’ you could expand and say that you are a member of the local amateur dramatics club and starred in the latest production.

Create content that sells Although it is a well-known fact that resume design should get attention, please remember it is really the content of your resume, the descriptions of your skills and abilities, that determine how many interviews you generate.
As an example, compare the following statements.

‘Before’ Resume: Maintained records for accounts receivable and accounts payable accounts.
‘After’ Resume: Managed over 1,000 accounts receivable and payable accounts working directly with the CFO.

Quantify & use power words. As the example above shows, using numbers to describe your achievements and responsibilities can greatly expand and elevate your image. Characterising descriptions by figures has the effect of creating vivid images and impressions in the mind of employers when they read your CV, whereas general statements easily escape from the mind. Similarly, another successful strategy is to use power words or active verbs to match the level of position you want. For example, if you want to use the experience gained before a move into a management position, use as many “management oriented” words as possible so as to build up your image. Compare these two statements:

‘Before’ Resume: Gave work assignments to staff of entry level accounting clerks
‘After’  Resume: Directed workflow, supervised and trained accounting staff performing posting to general
ledger and accounts receivable.

Your cover letter is VERY important. You can improve your chance of being invited for an interview if your CV is accompanied by a cover letter. Your cover letter gives you the opportunity to express yourself in writing, stating your motivation and interests.

A well-written cover letter will help make you stand out to a potential employer. Your letter should highlight your CV and your skills and how you intend to use your skills to benefit the company you are applying to. If you are a young graduate, you may also like to list the subjects you have studied.

A cover letter does the rest of what your resume cannot do. Covering/motivation letters sent by email to Blue Lynx are registered along with your CV for future reference. However, you may be asked to submit a tailor-made letter of application.

And finally…
Before submitting your CV and cover letter, check them both thoroughly. Make sure that all your facts are correct, that there are no spelling and/or grammatical errors and that they are a true representation of you.

If you would like us to connect you with one of our star CV consultants, please call us at our office in The Hague on +31 (0) 70 311 7822 or in
Amsterdam on +31 (0) 20 406 9180.

Career coaching

Interested in investing in yourself?

If you would like to invest in yourself, we can connect you with our trusted network of career coaches. What is important about this is that we have long-term established relationships with these professionals. This means you get the best support available.

For example, we can connect you with professionals who can help you with:

  • Getting your CV right for the Dutch market
  • Performing at your best in your interview
  • Networking
  • Getting the most from your LinkedIn profile
  • Writing an application that is too good to refuse
  • Helping you find your career path

If you are interested, call us at our office in The Hague on +31 (0)70 311 7822 or in Amsterdam on +31 (0)20 406 9180.

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