I just gave someone advice on their CV, and because sharing is caring – I am sharing it with those who may benefit from it as well. I often hear or read how difficult it is to land an interview or a job. But when I read some of the LinkedIn profiles or CVs, I understand why. If you want your desired outcome, you have to put in the effort. You have to know who you are, where you want to go and align your personal and professional brand accordingly. This is my personal unbiased Dutch advice based on my own experience. I hope it will help some of you, and if you have additional advice please leave a comment!

Personal branding

This is key as recruiters want to know you and your value proposition. What is your elevator’s pitch? Summarize “you” in your heading from your perspective, without writing a monologue. You can look at several LinkedIn profile summaries of professionals in your field for inspiration. Ensure your contact details are on top with an url to your LinkedIn profile. And make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date!

 What are your key strengths and skillsets

The second heading should be your key strengths or skillsets. In a nutshell, people should be able to read what your value is immediately. Knowing your strengths and skills will help find you the job you want. Suggest to look at job profiles that are appealing to you and re-use some of the key words. A Porsche is valuable not because of its design, but because it drives you from A to B. So it is not only about what you offer, but how your value proposition advances the organization you want to work for.

Experience

This should be your third heading and instead of listing your duties and responsibilities – outline 3 or 4 bullets of key achievements. Data and facts will help substantiate your achievements. Ensure you demonstrate the value of what you have done and how it has advanced the organization you work for and underscore the impact of your achievements. Future employers want to know how you will help them address their challenges. So this section is key in articulating in a concise and effective manner your value and its impact.

Education

In order to save space, just list the subject of the degree, name of university, place and time. Follow and stick with the CV template you choose at the outset. Consistency is key. Focus on your message and clean CV instead of graphics and design. Grammar errors and long boring sentences will not do you any good either!

Additional Assets

Languages, Certificates, other valuable information – be mindful of space though – CV should not exceed 3 pages max! (And this is the long version!)

References 

We all have great things to say about our self, and it is important to know how to sell your self. But what will have an even greater impact on your CV is what others say about you. Make sure you filter the negative from the positive though and choose those recommendations that are relevant for your job search! What others have to say about you will help substantiate your branding.

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