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The Art of First Impression: How to optimize your CV for jobs abroad

Dec 11, 2020 by Monica Garcia

Your CV is the first thing your future employer will know about you. It's important that you choose this opportunity to make a good impression on your potential future employer in order to maximize your chances of landing that cool new job that you're applying for. We've summarized the top points that make the biggest difference between a good and a bad CV. Follow these steps to increase your chances of getting hired!

woman writing a CV

1. Format & File Type

The most important thing with your CV is that it will be easy to read for recruiters. Choose a format and layout with clear headlines and sub-headings. Make sure that sections are separated by some blank space.

Your CV should always be saved as either a Word or PDF file to make sure that recruiters will be able to open it - no matter the computer they use.

2. Cover Letter: Yes or No?

A cover letter is a tool to allow you to add a message to your application. It's not always required and you can often apply for entry-level positions without a cover letter as well.

It should be seen as a tool to introduce yourself to the recruiter, explain your interest in the job and provide a short summary of who you are.

Your cover letter should NOT replace your CV, and while a cover letter is often optional, a CV is always required.

3. Contact Details in your CV

Make sure that your CV has the following parts, preferably visible at the top:

  • Full Name
  • Phone number (including your country code)
  • Email address
  • Nationality (due to potential employment restrictions within the EU)
  • Languages (remember to mention both your native language and English, plus any other languages you might be proficient in)
Notebook to write ideas for CV

4. Picture?

Adding (the right!) picture to your CV gives the employer a hint of who you are and might increase your chances. You’re not always required to add a picture to your CV. Also, only add a picture if it:

  • Is of proper quality and lightning. Don’t add old Facebook profile pictures.
  • Shows you in an appropriate setting, educational/business environment.
  • Shows you as professional & friendly looking.

5. Work Experience

This is a chronological list of your previous employments (most recent one first) and a short description of your tasks and responsibilities in this role.

  • Make sure to separate your employments to make it easier for the employer to read and find relevant experience.
  • Add a timeframe for every position. (i.e. June 2016 – July 2017)

6. Education

This is a chronological list (most recent one first) of schools/universities/courses that you have attended.

If you’ve attended any special education that might be relevant for the position you’re applying for (i.e. you’re applying for a technical position and you took extra IT courses in school) make sure to add this information!

7. Other skills to include in a CV

In this section you can add other relevant skills for the position that you might have. For most technical/customer service/IT/office positions, the following are good to mention:

  • Confident PC user
  • Experience with the Microsoft Office Suite
  • Other PC programs you might have special skills in

Congratulations, all done!

By optimizing your CV for jobs abroad you're setting yourself up for success in finding your next big step! Browse our current open jobs to find your next experience abroad!