How to freshen up your CV for 2024


Have you been considering applying for a new job, or do you just want to see what else is out there? Either way, the first step is to make sure that you’ve updated your CV so that it stands out.

It’s especially important if you’ve been in the same role for a while, as employers’ requirements and industry standards are always changing.

Does that all sound a bit intimidating?

Don’t worry — we understand the Dutch job market as well as the recruitment process and can help by providing you with some important tips to make sure your CV is the best it can be.

Let’s jump into it and get your CV looking top-notch!

Make a bold opening with your summary statement

Your summary statement is a short blurb at the top of your CV stating who you are.

Starting strong in your summary statement is crucial to having a standout CV — think of it as the first impression of first impressions!

Your summary should contain:

  • Your job title and how many years of experience you have under your belt
  • Your core responsibilities or top achievements in this role (don’t go overboard! You can elaborate later)
  • What you’re looking for in your next role.

Use a confident tone, explain clearly and concisely who you are, and stick to the facts (i.e, relevant skills and experience in the area of work).

Remember to keep this section short — think of it as the hook into the rest of your CV!

Also, bear in mind that Dutch employers don’t require a photo – so unless it’s specifically asked for, it’s best to leave it off.

Highlight your relevance with keywords

The use of keywords is crucial, especially as these days many hiring managers and recruitment agents search or filter by them.

When applying for a job we recommend that you put your best foot forward from the start — make sure to read the job listing closely. That way you can make sure that you have the skills asked for.

This is especially important for things such as proficiency in systems, languages spoken, and prior experience.

For instance, if the job listing asks for “familiarity with Excel”, try to include that exact phrase somewhere in your CV (such as under any jobs you’ve held in the past).

Make sure that you put these keywords where they are relevant — and true. Honesty and humility are both highly-valued qualities in the Netherlands, so don’t pad or exaggerate.

It’s also important that you use the job listing as a helpful guide for what the employer may be looking for — don’t just copy it word-for-word into your document.

Present your points in an organised manner with bullet points

Employers in the Netherlands prefer CVs to be short and sweet, so keep yours organised and use bullet points.

Additionally, try to keep your page length on the lower side. If you’re applying for a more senior role, you can stretch to two A4 pages; otherwise, keep it to one.

After providing the dates you were employed and the name of your previous employer, list your title and key responsibilities. Then, mention any relevant skills you utilised that will be sought after in your potential new position.

Your bullet-pointed list should be in reverse chronological order, with the most recent jobs first.

A good structure to follow is:

  • Your employment history
  • Your academic record
  • Any hobbies or other skills
  • References and their details.

If you don’t want to put your references directly on your CV, you can make a note that these are available upon request — that way you won’t inundate any potential referees!

While it may seem a little unusual to add hobbies, Dutch employers encourage work-life balance – so showing that you have interests outside of climbing the corporate ladder is a huge tick in your favour.

Just remember that any hobbies you do mention should fit with the job and workplace culture that you’re applying for. For instance: volunteering, sports or fitness, or any sort of self-improvement are generally good to mention.

Sitting on the couch and watching TV can probably be left off your CV — unless the job’s in the television industry, and even then be careful how you word it. “Couch potato” isn’t likely to get many employers biting!

Tailor your resume to each job opportunity

Possibly our most important tip for writing your CV is to make sure that you tailor it for the company you’re submitting to!

You want to show your potential future employers how important this opportunity is for you — submitting a generic CV sends the opposite of that message.

For each job you apply to, take the time to go over your entire CV and customise it. While your employment and education history may not have changed, the key skills that you highlight should be tailored to the opportunity at hand.

You’ll also definitely want a fresh summary statement, as this is about why you are well suited for this particular job. Which skills and hobbies you mention at the end of your CV may change, too.

You may end up having a few different CVs for different purposes, which is totally fine — just don’t get them mixed up when you apply for jobs!

Bring your accomplishments to life with action-oriented verbs

To really wow whoever is hiring you and make sure your CV stands out, use action-oriented verbs when describing your previous roles.

These are verbs that convey “doing” and sound less passive, which has the effect of making you sound more proactive in your role.

For example, rather than saying you were “responsible” for a project, you could say that you “spearheaded” or “oversaw” it.

Or, rather than “implementing changes”, you could have “refocused”, “refined”, or “streamlined” a process.

These words give a better idea of how involved you were, rather than it just being something you checked in on once in a while!

Quantify your success with numbers

It’s an impressive look when you can back up your facts with specific figures. Adding numerical data to your CV shows you know exactly what you’re talking about.

For instance, rather than just stating that you were able to maintain consistent growth in an area, state the growth percentage, or total year-on-year.

If you were top in sales or some other measure, state how much you were in the lead by, or how you compared to the company’s average results for someone in the same role.

Remember to remain humble, however — you don’t want to turn your future employer off by appearing too cocky.

Streamline your resume creation with an online builder or CV template

When it comes to building the ultimate CV, it’s okay to get a little help! Why not use an online builder to make sure your CV is as crisp as it can be?

In today’s competitive job market, using a template builder will allow you to focus on selling the best version of yourself, without having to worry about formatting, spacing, or where to place “korfball enthusiast”!

Additionally, CV templates allow you to create and save multiple tailored CVs for each job you apply for, rather than having to go through the tedious process of rewriting the entire thing.

Wrapping up

If you follow these tips for refreshing your CV, you’ll be off to a great start looking for a new role in the Netherlands!

Some key takeaways to remember:

  • Use your opening statement to capture your potential employer’s interest straight away
  • Use relevant keywords to make your CV stand out
  • Keep the whole thing organised and to the point with bullet points
  • Tailor your CV for the role you’re applying for
  • Use action-oriented verbs to make your experience more eye-catching
  • Use numbers where you can to quantify your success in previous roles (but stick to the truth and keep it humble)
  • Use a CV builder to help you streamline your application process!

Once you’ve got your CV good to go, why not check out some of our other blog posts and guides so that you can really secure that dream job in 2024!

This blog post has been submitted by Novoresume.


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