Whether it concerns a directed or an open application, your CV has to stick out from a crowd. Let me tell you how to make an outstanding Curriculum Vitae.

Turn the first page into a Resume
HR managers en recruiters have little time and loads of applications to handle. They are trained scanners. Turn the first page into a short and well-structured personal profile, in other words make your resume the first page of your CV. Consequently add a clear track record of your past performances on the follow-up pages. The same here: keep it short and don’t add more than two supplemental pages.

Customize your CV to each application
Make a basic CV and customize it to each application. Reflect on why that vacancy is your dream job and write from that frame of mind. Better a few customized applications with a tailored CV than sending out a hundred standard letters. Rejections are killing for your self-esteem.

Have a professional picture made
The first thing that catches the eye on a CV is your profile picture. Have your picture made by a professional photographer, in a way that it shows why you match the job. Energetic and representative? Or cool and hip? Consider in advance what you would like to reflect and tell the photographer. Wear plain colors and make your clothes season-neutral.

Don’t sell yourself
Sales people tend to mention only strengths. However, if you do this during an job application, you might be rejected for being a show-off. Find yourself a working environment that fits you, so you don’t have to bluff. Engage your future employer indirectly by providing examples that reflect your strengths. Write a few lines below your Personal Data that characterize you as a person, like: ‘It’s important/fulfilling to me in my work to …’; It’s my passion to….’; My added value is most significant when I can….’. Leave the concluding part over to your future employer.

Provide references
Your profiling will be even stronger, when someone else endorses you. Add a few references to your CV, however on condition that they can only be contacted with your permission

Make on-line media work for you
Mention the links to your on-line profiles, e.g. on LinkedIn. Or upload your CV to Google Docs and share the link with your future employer. Label it as ‘view only’. Always make sure that you mail your CV in pdf format, so no one can change your personal data.

Screen yourself
Don’t forget to screen your FaceBook page and your Twitter & Instagram accounts. Filter which personal info you allow to go public and prevent your future employer to see you in bikini or Speedo with a cocktail on the beach.

Embellish your on-line CV
Logos of previous employers and pictures of your school, university or interests are nice. However, keep it smooth and bear in mind that patchwork or bungling are not professional.

One grammar mistake is killing
Staring for hours on the same page makes you word-blind. Read your CV aloud or sleep on it for one night and take a fresh look at it in the morning. Or ask a friend with a flair for languages to check it.

Follow-up
Check if your application is well received. That sole telephone call brings you back on top of the pile. It’s even better to have somebody in your network, who works for the desired company. Ask that friend to walk over to the HR manager or the recruiter on the work floor to inform whether your letter has been noticed and to recommend you.

Annick Schoon has developed her own coaching methodology, on which she has started a PhD track at the VU Amsterdam. Do you want more information or would you like to be coached by Annick? Just click on our CONTACT page.