Composing your Curriculum Vitae (CV) for the Netherlands

When you are applying for a job in the Netherlands, you will be required to hand in a written account of your personal details, education and the jobs you’ve had, otherwise known as your Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Composing your CV

Composing your CV

A CV is quite a bit more detailed than a resume and usually about two or three pages long. Many of us find writing our CV a daunting task and we tend to make our CVs too elaborate. But did you know that the average employer only spends about 30 seconds looking at your CV? In this article we’ll share all of our tips and tricks to make your CV stand out.

Let’s start with your picture and personal details. It’s important to add a picture to your CV: it’s the first impression a possible future employer will get of you. You’ll want to make sure it’s a high-quality picture. Some people choose to have their picture taken by a professional photographer; others select a slightly less formal picture of themselves. It’s best to look professional as well as friendly, and to make sure there are no distractions in the background. But please, don’t use a selfie. Alongside the picture you can add personal details such as your name, phone number, email-address, date and place of birth, and nationality.

The second part of your CV consists of your personal profile. You can compare this to giving an elevator pitch. Use it to share a bit of background information and write about what you want to achieve in your professional life. It’s important to highlight your work ethic, what drives you and what your qualities are. This is where you can sell yourself, and the key is to keep it short and sweet. Anything between 100-150 words will do. Your personal profile is the part of your CV that you can easily change — depending on what position you’re applying for — to make yourself a more attractive candidate for the job.

After you’ve finished your personal profile, it’s time to list your employment history. List all your previous jobs — starting with the most recent one — and add a bit of information about what the position entailed. Make sure to add the full name of the company you worked for, in case your future employer wants to reach out for a reference.

The next part of your CV will consist of a list of your educational achievements and qualifications. Again, start with the most recent item and work all the way back to secondary school.

Finally, add a list of the languages you speak, including your proficiency level. Start with your best language and work your way down.

Some people add on a short list of hobbies to add a personal touch.


That’s that! Do you need more inspiration? There are lots of example CVs to be found on the internet. Watch the video from the University of Utrecht on how to write a powerful CV.