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Home » Applying » Curriculum Vitae

Creating your Curriculum Vitae (CV)


brief Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) should summarise your most relevant data and experiences in maximal one and a half page. Even if you present yourself in the best way possible, overstating achievements is not recommended and it is a thin line. The likelihood that the recruiter will catch this during the interviews is high and might damage the trust they have in you. As you most likely have very little relevant working experience, it is recommended to emphasize your educational background and extra-curricular activities.

Content

The following information may not be left out of your CV:
  • Personal data: name, address, contact details (telephone & email) is (by undefined rule) always placed on top of your first page.
  • Education: describe in a cryptic way your educational background (include specialisations if applicable), year of graduation and the topic of your dissertation/thesis. If you obtained multiple degrees, work chronologically (put the most recent obtained degree on top). Providing your elementary school is not relevant for traineeships as recruiters assume you have higher education.
  • Professional experience: describe which student jobs you did in the past and why. Keep yourself to relevant working experience that shows your experience within certain skill sets (organizing activities, customer service, ....).
  • Extra-curricular experience: it is also possible that you have gained relevant experience outside your professional activities. For example, you might have been a key play in organising events for your sports club or you guided youngsters on vacation/events and showed leader capabilities.
  • Languages: list in a simple way which languages you are familiar with and at which level (e.g.: speaking/reading/writing).
  • Computer knowledge: the usage of computers is crucial nowadays. Therefore, indicate which software packages you can work with (providing that they are relevant for the position you are applying for).

Optionally you may choose to add your hobby's to give some more information about the person behind the CV. Keep this piece short and high-level. The usage of references is only relevant if you obtained valuable working experience.

The sequence at which you list all the items is also important. The sequence applied here above is most likely the best one. In most cases the candidates for traineeships are young graduates with limited working experience. In that case your educational background is your best asset and a recruiter should be able to find that back easily. Language and computer knowledge is typically placed at the end of your CV.

Don't provide too much information about your professional and non-professional working experience and stick to relevant topics. For example: stating that you worked as cleaning personnel for 5 years is not relevant for a traineeship.

Clearly describe your achievements (e.g.: accomplisched goals, capacity of your work, budgets,...) and clearly show which skills you have learned, mastered and demonstrated.

Do's and don'ts


green traffic lightDo's:
  • Clearly provide your contact data
  • If possible, start every sentence with a positive note
  • Focus on achievements
  • Choose for quality instead of quantity
  • Keep it simple and powerful, make the recruiter curious to get yourself a job interview
  • Prioritize well so that the most relevant information is on top op your CV.
  • Review, correct, review, improve, ... creating a good CV requires a lot of time and revisions.
  • Let a 'professional' review your CV. A second, third,... opinion is advisable
red traffic lightDon'ts:
  • Disguise the truth: a lot recruiters can look straight through lies or will discover it during the interview
  • List all you past achievements: a recruiter is only interested in a short explanation on recent, relevant experiences
  • Being to creative with your CV: don't start playing with the regular formatting, choose exotic fonts or colors. Keep it simple and clear, the content of your CV is by far the most important..
  • Starting each sentence with "I": although it is your story this should be avoided. You can often easily rephrase sentences like "I was selected to execute ..." to "Selected for executing... .
  • Talking in clichés: sentences like "a good team player that can work very well on an individual base with good communication skills and above average analytical skills" are too often used. Surprise the recruiter with a creative wording.
  • Modify your CV for each job: if you're a graduate then your CV should be solid enough to apply for different positions. However, Echter, your motivation letter should be different for each position you apply for.
  • Provide sensitive information: never provide your passport number or social security number in your CV, a recruiter doesn't need this information at this stage.
  • Write a CV of more than 1,5 page: this is a signal for recruiters that you have problems with prioritizing information. Furthermore, the recruiter probably received many applications for their traineeship and is not waiting for multy-page CV per candidate.
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