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How to Write a CV and Increase Your Chances of Landing a Job

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How to Write a CV and Increase Your Chances of Landing a Job

One of the first things our Robin recruiters will ask you to send them is a CV. This is what we need to forward to employment agencies, along with other documents. 

If you don’t have one just yet, feel free to follow this guide on how to write a CV (curriculum vitae) and increase your chances of landing a job abroad. 

How to Write a CV and Attract Attention of Employers

CVs are still a major part of employment, especially when you look for a job abroad. They give employers insight into your previous work experience, your education, and your personality as well.

CVs are a great way for workers to showcase their skills and strengths and let employers know that they are the ones to be hired. On the other hand, it makes the job of recruiters a lot easier. They can search through hundreds of candidates quickly and determine, based on experience and other details, who the right person is to interview in the next round. 

Every CV needs to have your personal information, contact details, previous job experience, education, skills, and interests. Let’s see how you can structure these sections in the best way possible to make the CV easy to read and to-the-point. 

Personal Information and Contact Details 

The first thing everyone should see is who you are. Having personal information and your contact details at the beginning of the CV is crucial. This will help both our recruiters and employers have an easy overview, and we’ll be able to contact you quickly. 

Every CV should include: 

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Do I Need to Add My Photo?

how to write a CV

Some people decide to add their profile picture to their CV. In the Netherlands, it is optional to add your photo. Visually, it looks more appealing when you have an image in the CV, but this isn’t a determining factor when it comes to making a decision. 

Therefore, adding a photo is completely up to you. Sending CVs to employers is just the first step of the process, after which you hop on a quick interview, so having a photo in the CV doesn’t change anything. 

Make sure your personal information is clearly visible and one of the first things employers see. 

Adding Skills 

Adding skills to your resume can separate you from your competitors. Although skills aren’t the most important thing to add to your resume, it is much better to have them and showcase things that you are competent in. 

Which skills you include in your resume depend largely on the job you are applying for and on your previous work experience. 

Skills also need to be clearly presented, without getting into too much detail at this point. Later on in the resume, you can describe how certain skills helped you deal with specific parts of your job. 

The most advertised skills and skills employers often look for include:

  • Organised
  • Communicative
  • Flexible
  • Motivated
  • Passionate

While these can be the skills you add to your resume, there’s a high chance other candidates will add them as well. In other words, you have to think about slightly different skills and how to add them to your resume.

For example, if you go to Robin’s job offers and look at any job description, you will notice that for each job title, certain skills are required.

Let’s say you are interested in working as a flexible warehouse worker in the Netherlands and want to apply for this job. As you can see from the job description, they need a reliable team member who is ready to work flexible hours and overtime if needed.

Therefore, these are the skills you want to focus on when you create your curriculum vitae. It is important to include relevant skills in your CV. So here, you can add that you are flexible, a team member, reliable, and communicative.

Although these are basic skills, you can provide more insight into how you acquired them. For example:

  • Flexible (I am teaching a music instrument after my job and have to adjust the schedule to fit all my students)
  • A team member (I played basketball for 10 years; In my last job, we had a team of five in our part of the warehouse)
  • Reliable (my boss entrusted paperwork for the shifts)
  • Communicative (I can follow instructions and ask questions when I need to. I’m confident in front of an audience. I was a member of my school’s debating team).

You can apply this CV advice to highlight your skills and create a good CV that will stand out in the crowd. Keep in mind that you don’t want to include skills only because they are in the job description. 

If this warehouse job is flexible and you have no experience with flexible work schedules, you can write something like ‘open to new experiences’ and describe that you’d like to try working in different environments.

This way, you keep the information relevant and are being truthful in your resume. Keep the skills summary short, and the explanation or description of your skills should not be longer than one sentence.

Technical Skills

Speaking of relevant skills based on your previous work history and experience, let’s not forget to add your technical skills as well. These include having a driver’s licence or speaking foreign languages. Since you are travelling abroad, you’ll need to speak English or Dutch. Foreign language skills can be a deciding factor when you apply through Robin.

Usually, companies in the Netherlands look for people who are fluent in Dutch or English and who can communicate easily on the site. It removes unnecessary tension and makes it easier for everyone. Your English skills don’t need to be perfect, but it is important to highlight this in your CV to increase your chances of getting a job.

Education History

how to write a CV

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The next step in the process is to include your educational history. Which school did you graduate from? To illustrate your education, you can only add the last school you attended. For example, if you graduated from college, you don’t have to include your high school because you couldn’t have gone to college without having finished high school in the first place.

If you finished some courses, this is also something you can include here. Just like adding relevant skills, adding relevant education also matters.

Besides high school or a college that you must include, you can leave out a course on web design if you are applying for a flexible warehouse worker position in the Netherlands. For positions available on Robin where you aren’t building an academic CV and you are not pursuing an academic career, just adding the school you most recently graduated from is welcome.

This will leave space for your work history, which is much more important to illustrate.

Previous Experience

how to write a CV

This is the most important part of your CV. When people look for advice on how to write a CV, this is usually the advice they seek. We’ll show you how to showcase your work history and attract the attention of a hiring manager and potential employers.

List Jobs in Reverse Chronological Order

Let’s start with how you list your work history! Your most recent jobs need to be at the top, so you need to list your work experience in reverse chronological order.

One of the best CV writing tips you can get is that you don’t need to include all the jobs you worked in the CV. However, since employers ask for CVs without gaps from our Robin recruiters, it is best to add everything but highlight the relevant.

For example, that’d look something like this: 

Construction Worker

 Company Name 2015-present

  • Managed up to 10 people on the construction site
  • Delegate daily tasks
  • Work the crane

Driver

 Company name 2014-2015

Construction Worker

 Company Name 2012-2014

  • Assist in pouring concrete for footings and bases for towers and steel H-frames. 
  • Constructed concrete footing and bases
  • 4 realized projects – Construction in urban zones 

On the other hand, if you don’t have the required experience or haven’t worked similar jobs in the past, just list out all the jobs you worked on. Either way, a chronological CV is easy to follow, and recruiters spend less time on them.

Your job application needs to be short and sweet, without too much information, and yet you need to convey everything that is relevant to the offer. So, it might take some careful thinking to list your work history most effectively.

But stay with us!

Include Relevant Keywords

The employers we work with in the Netherlands check every candidate manually before they invite you for the interview. The CV employers look at needs to be well-written and easy-to-read to increase your chances of getting a job.

With the development of technology, some employers started to use applicant tracking systems to run through hundreds of CVs and scan for keywords. For example, if you apply for a ‘construction worker’ job ad, they may run the CV through the software, and if they don’t spot keywords such as ‘construction’, ‘worker’, or any other relevant keyword, you’re immediately out.

If you are applying for jobs outside of Robin, make sure you use relevant keywords in your CV in case there are employers who check your employment history with the software. As we’ve said, you’ll work with our recruiters, who will check your CV manually and even help you upgrade it before we move you forward. Still, this is something to pay attention to as you write.

Software or not, you will attract recruiter’s attention with the right keywords.

Include the Job Title and Job Description

Listing your jobs and using the right keywords are only parts of a good CV. What you also need is to add a job title and a short description of your responsibilities on the job. To best showcase your professional qualifications and create a great CV, write only one paragraph with the key responsibilities you had in your past jobs.

Most employers will not read more than a short paragraph, as they have a lot of CVs to go through. Make sure to check out some CV examples and see what other people did and how they presented their work history.

Make sure you use bullet points or icons that are in the CV templates you choose to list job titles. Meanwhile, you can write about your professional experience in Google Docs first before you edit it and make it final.

References and Recommendations

Another essential part of a good CV is to include references and recommendations. This is something a lot of people forget when they write a CV. However, this can be a game-changer.

You can have the perfect CV written and still miss out on job opportunities. Although your curriculum vitae needs to be short and you must follow the CV format, what you write matters as well. You can have a way more successful job search if you add the recommendations you got from your previous employers.

Therefore, if you have the contact number of your previous employer or company, make sure you contact them and get a letter of recommendation. You can attach this to a separate file and link to it in your CV, especially if you have multiple recommendations.

This will strengthen your personal profile and make everything you add to the CV much more reliable. For example, your potential employers can actually read the recommendations and contact you to run the checks. Even if they choose not to contact anyone, your credibility is off the charts with such recommendations in your CV. It will be hard for the prospective employers to pick someone else over you.

Share Your Interests and Hobbies

While it doesn’t take any specific knowledge to write a CV, some CV tips can come in handy. For example, one of the best CV tips you can get is to include your interests. While your curriculum vitae represents your work history and experience, it is also more than that.

You have a chance to showcase your interests and what you love to do in your free time. This will help recruiters and employers get to know you in more detail. They will meet the person behind the CV before the interview phase starts.

Employers can also use this as a conversation starter to ease the tension during the interview. For example, if you love to watch football, you can ask a few questions about your favourite team and talk a bit about it before you proceed to the interview questions.

Sharing your hobbies also paints you in a different light. Although this isn’t a deal-breaker, you can make your CV stand out in the crowd by emphasising your personal qualities through your interests. If you have hobbies such as riding a bike or hiking, that paints a picture of a proactive person who loves challenges, which is much better than someone who doesn’t engage in any hobbies.

Hobbies and interests aren’t a determining factor, but they can make the difference. Sometimes, employers are leaning more towards a CV profile that has exciting interests listed.

Share Interests if You Don’t Have Experience

If you are hunting for your first job and you’ve just started building your online portfolio, you probably lack experience, which is completely understandable. Everyone starts somewhere. Although you can’t share your past jobs, you can expand your section to include your interests.

Instead of adding bullet points such as:

  • Reading
  • Riding a bike
  • Hiking

You can expand on those and write one or two sentences for each. An example would be, “I love riding a bike and taking each route. I enjoy the sense of freedom and exploration I get from it,” or anything similar.

Skills-Based vs. Work-Based CV

There are several ways to write a CV, but let’s analyse the skills-based and work-based approaches. Both types list work history and skills, but how the information is presented is different.

Skills-based CV

A skills-based CV, or functional CV, focuses on the person’s skills first and not their work experience. However, the work experience isn’t omitted. With the skills-based CV, you open with a personal statement and then present the key skills. Under each skill, you provide examples of how you gained it and how you put it into practice.

You can use this type of CV; check out which skills you can add and explain how and where you gained them. This isn’t a common CV, which can be beneficial and separate you from others.

A personal statement is something you will not find in work-based CVs, so we want to give an example of one. It is usually a brief overview of who you are, what you are looking for, and why you are a great candidate for the role. Think of your personal statement as a part of a cover letter where you introduce yourself and explain why you are good for the role.

Personal Statement Example

With a solid history of optimising warehouse efficiency and maintaining impeccable inventory accuracy, I’m confident in my ability to excel as a warehouse worker and consistently contribute to streamlined operations. Thanks to my dedication to safety and my knack for effective teamwork, I’m eager to embrace the challenges of this role.

Having honed my skills in warehouse operations, I take pride in my ability to foster a positive working environment and swiftly address any logistical issues that may arise. By combining my warehouse expertise with my commitment to teamwork, I believe I can make a valuable contribution to your warehouse team’s success and ensure the smooth flow of goods for your organisation.

You can use this CV when you lack experience, change careers, or apply for a job abroad for the first time.

Work-Based CV

A work-based CV, or a chronological CV, is what we talked about throughout this article. It focuses on your previous work experience, which is the main focus of the CV. Also, when you write this CV, work is one of the first things an employer sees.

Whether you write this CV or any other type, find a CV example to look at and see how sections are organised. You can follow this guide as well, and you can also check out CV templates that you can use free of charge.

Robin Recruiters Share 10 Biggest Mistakes Candidates Make When They Write CVs + How to Fix Them

how to write a CV

A big part of learning how to write a CV is knowing what to leave out and what to add. Your curriculum vitae is an overview of your work experience and your skills. Also, you add interests for the prospective employer to get to know you better, but anything other than that is irrelevant.

Our Robin recruiters receive CVs every day, and they often need to ask candidates to make corrections. Here’s what they noted as the biggest mistakes that occur often:

  1. Contact details aren’t updated. The phone number or email address are outdated and no longer in use. This makes it hard for recruiters to reach you if they have more offers or when you get a job.
  2. Unprofessional images. We’ve seen people add images where they have sunglasses on or the picture is taken from afar. Check what a CV image needs to look like.
  3. Gaps between jobs. If you have gaps between jobs, it is beneficial to explain them in the CV or cover letter.
  4. Your CV is not updated. You need to keep your CV fresh. Our recruiters received a CV that featured the last job from two years ago.
  5. Order of jobs. Your current or last job needs to be listed first, not the other way around. The oldest jobs are last on the list.
  6. Too many jobs are listed. For example, one-month jobs could be mentioned, while you can provide more details on relevant jobs. 
  7. Long CV: People who have over 10 years of experience often send long CVs as they add everything they did. Keep the CV 1-2 pages long with short sentences and paragraphs.
  8. Lack of information about the workplace. Listing only the day and company’s name without your duties doesn’t help employers understand your role in the company.
  9. Adding marital status: Adding single, divorced, two children, or other information about your family isn’t relevant to getting a job abroad. It is best to leave it out.
  10. Grammar and spelling errors: Always double check the details you add and make sure you correct your errors after you write and before you submit a CV. 

Submit a CV to Robin

Now that you know how to write a CV, you can prepare it and apply for the jobs on Robin. We are looking forward to seeing you apply for jobs abroad, and one of our recruiters will help you with the entire process! 

 

07.01.2024

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