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The Perfect CV

Updated: Jun 19

A Dutch CV

If you are a non-Dutch speaker seeking job opportunities with international companies in the Netherlands, it is crucial to create an English CV. Even if you are a seasoned professional with experience in writing and submitting CVs, it may be necessary to restructure your CV to cater to the Dutch job market.

Your CV, along with your motivation letter, serves as a vital marketing tool and creates the first impression of you as a potential employee. It is essential that your CV effectively represents your skills, experiences, and qualifications, setting you apart from the competition and enticing prospective employers to invite you for an interview. During the interview, you will have the opportunity to further elaborate on your career history, skills, and background.

By crafting a well-structured and compelling CV, you increase your chances of securing interviews and advancing in the hiring process. It is important to adapt your CV to the specific requirements and expectations of the Dutch job market, showcasing your qualifications and achievements in a manner that resonates with potential employers.

CV structure

  • Personal details

  • Personal Profile

  • Work experience

  • Education

  • Skills

  • Interests

  • References

Personal details

Ensure that this section of your CV includes the following information:

  • Contact Details: Clearly state your full name, phone number, and email address. These details should be easily visible at the top of your CV. If you have a LinkedIn profile, include the link to your profile as well.

  • Professional Photo (optional): Including a professional photo in your CV can help hiring managers remember you. However, choose a photo that presents you in a professional manner. Avoid casual or inappropriate pictures like those taken at the beach or festivals. The photo should convey your professionalism and align with the expectations of the industry and job you are applying for.

  • Personal Data and GDPR: Due to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws, you are not obligated to provide any other personal details unless you choose to do so. Recruitment agencies often remove personal information from CVs before forwarding them to potential employers to protect your privacy.

  • Location in the Netherlands: If you are already residing in the Netherlands, it is beneficial to mention this in your CV. Additionally, if you have a phone number from your home country, make a note of it. Being located in the Netherlands can increase your chances as employers may prefer candidates who are already in the country, making the recruitment process faster and reducing the risk associated with relocation.

  • Work Permit (if applicable): If you are from outside the EU/EEA area, state whether you have a valid work permit. Potential employers need to know if you are legally eligible to work in the Netherlands and the duration of your work permit.

By including the necessary contact information, a professional photo (if desired), and relevant details about your location and work permit, you can present yourself effectively to potential employers and ensure a smooth application process. Remember to prioritize professionalism and adhere to privacy regulations when providing personal information.

Personal profile

The personal profile section of your CV is an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, soft skills, and career aspirations. While incorporating relevant keywords is important, it is equally crucial to be authentic and original. Avoid using generic phrases like "communicative team player" and focus on expressing what you can bring to the table. This section should be flexible and tailored to match the specific job description. Instead of simply copying keywords, strike a balance between highlighting your individuality and aligning with the job requirements.

Work experience

The work experience section of your CV is crucial, and recruiters often pay close attention to it. Ensure that it is well-presented and highlights your relevant experience. If you are a recent graduate, include any internships or relevant projects. Arrange your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent role.

Key considerations for this section include:

  • Job titles, company names, and dates of employment: Clearly mention the positions you held, the companies you worked for, and the duration of your employment.

  • Addressing gaps in your CV: If you have gaps in your employment history, provide brief explanations. For example, you can mention periods of travel or other activities you pursued during those gaps.

  • Appropriate job titles: Use job titles that accurately reflect your roles and responsibilities. While creative titles may be catchy, opt for clear and industry-standard terms. Keep in mind the keywords relevant to the job you're applying for.

  • Formatting: Use bullet points and headings to structure the information effectively, making it easy to read and understand. This helps both software and human readers navigate your CV smoothly.

  • Proofreading: Thoroughly check your CV for spelling and grammar errors. Mistakes can create a negative impression and impact your application. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and error-free.


In the education section of your CV, begin with your most recent education and work backward. Provide the name of the university and the city where you studied, along with the degree you obtained. If you completed a thesis, mention the topic and briefly explain your research in one sentence.

Include any additional certificates or qualifications that are relevant to the job you are applying for. These certifications demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning and personal development. However, be selective and include only the most relevant certifications, avoiding the inclusion of every diploma you have received. For instance, exclude certificates that hold no significance for the position you are applying for, such as a childhood achievement or participation award.

By focusing on the education and certifications most pertinent to the job, you provide potential employers with valuable information about your academic background and commitment to professional growth.


When listing your language skills on your CV for job opportunities in the Netherlands, it is important to be objective and indicate your fluency level using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (A1 – C2). Avoid describing your language proficiency in percentages or using visual representations such as graphs and bars.

Instead of using flag images to represent languages, simply write the names of the languages you are proficient in. This ensures that the ATS system can recognize the language keywords when recruiters search the database. For example, if a recruitment consultant searches for "fluent German speaker," the ATS will not retrieve your CV if it only contains an image of the German flag. The ATS software cannot interpret images as text.

Additionally, if you have knowledge of specific software or systems, be sure to include them in your CV. Hiring managers often search the database by typing the names of required software for a particular job. For instance, roles may require proficiency in software like Photoshop, SAP, Oracle, or Exact, and recruiters will search for these specific terms. The same applies to industry-specific terms such as US GAAP, VAT, or Google AdWords. However, avoid using these keywords solely to fill your resume. Be honest with yourself and potential employers about your actual proficiency in these skills.

ATS friendly

When applying for jobs with international companies or through recruitment agencies, it's important to be aware of the Application Tracking System (ATS) used by many organizations. The ATS is a software tool that helps manage and organize job applications. Understanding how the ATS works can significantly impact the visibility of your CV and increase your chances of being selected for further consideration.

To optimize your CV for the ATS, consider the following:

  • Format: Save your CV in PDF or DOC(X) format, as these are commonly recognized by most ATS systems. Other formats may not be compatible, causing your CV to be overlooked.

  • Font Choice: Use standard and widely recognized fonts like Arial or Times New Roman. Uncommon or specialized fonts may not be recognized by the ATS, resulting in the system misinterpreting the content or rendering it unreadable.

  • Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords throughout your CV that align with the job description and industry. ATS systems often use keyword matching to filter and rank resumes. Including these keywords will increase the chances of your CV being identified as a potential match.

  • Clear Formatting: Maintain a clean and structured layout with clear headings, bullet points, and sections. This helps the ATS accurately parse and categorize the information in your CV.

By optimizing your CV for the ATS, you can enhance its visibility and ensure that it is considered by hiring managers and recruiters in the initial screening process. Remember to strike a balance between ATS compatibility and creating an aesthetically pleasing and reader-friendly CV.


When it comes to including references in your CV, you have two options:

  • Generic Statement: You can use a generic statement such as "References are available on request." This indicates that you are willing to provide references if requested by the employer. With this approach, you don't need to include specific contact details for your referees in your CV.

  • Actual Referee Details: If you have obtained permission from your referees, you can include their actual names, professional titles, and contact information in your CV. This allows potential employers to directly reach out to your referees for a reference check. Ensure that you inform your referees in advance and confirm their availability and willingness to provide a reference.

Consider the norms and preferences of the country or industry you're applying for, as practices may vary. In some cases, employers may specifically request references upfront, while in others, they may wait until later stages of the hiring process to ask for references.

Regardless of the approach you choose, it's always a good idea to have a list of reliable references prepared separately, so you can readily provide them when requested by the employer. Select references who can speak positively about your work ethic, skills, and qualifications, such as previous managers, supervisors, or colleagues who are familiar with your professional abilities.


Including relevant leadership experiences, team activities, published articles, and volunteer work can greatly enhance your CV. These sections provide insights into your skills, interests, and character, which are valuable to prospective employers. Here are some tips for presenting these details effectively:

  • Leadership Experiences and Team Activities: Highlight any positions where you held leadership responsibilities or collaborated with others in a team. Describe the specific roles you undertook, the challenges you faced, and the outcomes you achieved. Emphasize the skills you developed, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork.

  • Published Articles: If you have published any articles, whether independently or collaboratively, provide relevant details. Include the title of the article, the publication or platform where it was published, and any notable achievements associated with it. This demonstrates your expertise and ability to contribute valuable insights in your field.

  • Volunteer Work: Mention any volunteer work you have been involved in, particularly if it relates to the job you are applying for. Describe the organization or cause you volunteered for, your responsibilities, and the impact you made. Highlight the skills you gained or strengthened through your volunteer experience, such as organization, adaptability, and empathy.

  • Hobbies and Interests: While not always necessary, including hobbies and interests can provide a well-rounded picture of your personality and motivations. Choose hobbies that showcase desirable qualities or skills relevant to the job. For example, if you enjoy playing team sports, it demonstrates your teamwork and collaboration abilities.

Remember to be concise and selective in presenting these details. Focus on experiences and activities that align with the requirements and values of the position you are applying for.

Other CV tips

To summarize the final tips for crafting an effective CV:

  • Keep it concise: Your CV should be no more than 2 pages. Hiring managers have limited time, so make sure your key information is easily accessible.

  • Have someone review it: Ask a friend, family member, or professor to proofread your CV. They may catch small mistakes or offer suggestions for improvement.

  • Spell check: Use a spell-check tool to ensure there are no silly spelling errors that can undermine your professionalism.

  • Print it out: Even if you're submitting your CV digitally, print it out to ensure the formatting remains consistent and visually appealing.

  • Tailor it for each application: Customize your CV for each job opportunity. Analyze the job description and emphasize relevant skills and experiences that align with the requirements. Avoid exaggeration or fabricating information; instead, prioritize and present your relevant achievements prominently.

Remember, your CV is a crucial tool in making a positive first impression on potential employers. Taking the time to craft a well-structured, tailored, and error-free document can significantly increase your chances of securing an interview and ultimately landing your desired job. Good luck!


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