The first contact with the company is your CV on which the hiring manager will determine whether to continue the application process with you. A successful CV summarizes your professional life and informs the employer at a glance about the added value you bring with you. The CV is a presentational tool that you would want to use effectively in order to make a good first impression and, of course, to be invited for an interview.
When applying to job functions in the Netherlands, it is important to keep in mind that a CV is required. In the United States and Canada, it is customary to apply with a resume. While the resume and a CV don’t differ a lot, there are still some differences. Continue reading our recommendation and adjust your CV accordingly. You can use our example CV as a lay-out, just remember to customize your CV conforming to the needs of the specific post.


  • Use a well-structured format and easy-to-read font, such as Arial; 
  • Summarize the most important information by using 3 to 4 pages. Do not use more than 5 pages; 
  • Start by mentioning your contact details such as telephone number and email address; 
  • Arrange previous experiences in reverse chronological order by starting with the most recent experience; 
  • Mention your main tasks and responsibilities of, at least 3, previous jobs by using bullet point; 
  • Verify the information of your experiences, education and training. Make sure you use the correct information; 
  • Check for spelling and typing errors or ask someone to check them for you; 
  • Save your CV in a Word or WordPad format (.doc; .docx;); 
  • In case you have fulfilled a position via an interim or recruitment agency, mention this too;


  • Use long sentences or elaborate in detail your previous experiences; 
  • Leave significant gap in your experiences time-line without explanation; 
  • Use standard formats provided on the internet, such as “Europass”; 
  • Use fancy margins, charts and font. 
  • Save the CV in a PDF file

Always start your CV by mentioning personal information, such as: your name, address, date of birth, nationality, marital status, phone number (s) on which you can be reached during the day and your private email address.

List the educational programs and courses that you have followed. The description must include the name of the educational institution, along with the duration of studies, diplomas and certificates. Remember to include the titles you have achieved and to arrange the information in reverse chronological order.

Here again, remember to respect the reverse chronological order when listing your previous experiences. Include the duration of the experience and list the tasks you have finalized and the responsibilities you have had. The experiences can be listed by using the following structure:

    • Date;
    • Name organization; 
    • Job title; 
    • A brief description of the organization; 
    • Responsibilities; 
    • Results;

The most recent experience has the most relevance for the job you’re applying for so make sure you give extra attention to this section. Elaborate the goals you have achieved which can be both financial and operational results, but KISS; Keep It Short and Simple. When defining the time period, be as specific as you can by adding months instead of using solely years.

This section should list all the languages you speak and to what degree you speak these languages. Your native language should be included in this list and specified as such.

Technical Skills
The essential technical skills, such as software packages, knowledge of particular technology and programming languages should be mentioned in this section. You can order you technical skills in order of proficiency, order of relevance or any other manner.

Next to the hard skills, organizations are always interested in which soft skills you can offer in the team. You can give the organization insight in whether you are a team player or whether you have an open personality by providing them information about how you spend your time outside office hours. The fact you carry out social activities, are engaged in voluntary work or found every weekend sporting with your team, becomes relevant information. Of course you should not elaborate too much in this section and seek the right balance in relation to the job you are applying for.

Make sure you have at least 2 references from previous employers, or, if you are a scholar, from university professors. When mentioning these references, review with them what they are going to say if possible. In case your potential employer is going to contact the references, inform them they can be contacted.

A tailored CV
Each job function has its own specific requirements and conditions, therefore it is important to tailor your CV according to the job function you are applying for. It is handy to have a standard CV ready, yet remember to make changes in the content and the style of writing. Experience tells us that strong candidates reinforce their CV continuously by adopting to the specific requirements and conditions.

Copy the words of the potential employer
The description of your hard skills, educational background, and soft skills, interests, should be in line with the phrases and definitions used in the vacancy, their website and other published content by the organization. When the terms "leadership and charisma," is used in the vacancy, you should use these terms and synonyms of these terms.

Show your personal identity
The best way present yourself to the potential employer is by optimizing you CV. Provide the potential employer with information that distinguish you from the other candidates. The information give should emphasize your strengths but it should remain in balance. You might be in conversation with the potential employer in the near future, therefore it is important that your CV reflexes your personality. You will find it convenient if your friend can read your CV before sending in order to give you feedback, mention your strengths and check for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

First impressions count, so make sure you’ll leave a good first impression with a successful CV in order to be invited for the interview.

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