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How do I write a professional Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

With your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume you make your first impression at a company. Although a CV could be seen as a full history of your credentials, whereas your resume as a shorter and concise picture of this, mostly, the terms CV and resume are used interchangeably.

10 Tips for a Top CV

Recruiters make up their mind about a job candidate in only 7.4 seconds!

Ladders Eye Tracking Study, 2018

Where to start? 

When starting with your CV, think about the impression you want to make. How do you want to present yourself?

  • What keywords are you going to use? How can you describe yourself as a professional?
  • What do you write in your personal profile? If you find it difficult to describe your qualities, interests, and ambitions, check the webpage Qualities & Competences.
  • Think about your presentation and choose an attractive format. Canva is a free and easy to use platform that offers professional CV formats.
  • A CV is not 'one size fits all.' You can write a basic CV showing all your work experience, education and skills, but tailor this CV for each application. Adjust your CV to make sure it matches the job advertisement and the wishes and requirements of the organization.

CV checklist

In general
  • Use a maximum of 2 A4 pages (preferably 1 page).
  • Use an attractive format, color, and font. Clear and inviting to read.
  • Use quick "scanable" lists and bullets in your enumeration.
  • Use 'keywords' from the job descriptions of your profession.
  • Share your CV as a PDF-file.
Personal details
  • Choose a professional photograph (neutral background en professional clothing)
  • Address and contact details
  • Optional: date of birth
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Describe who you are and what you have to offer. What are your qualities? What is your added value? What are you looking for?
  • Make it authentic and present the best version of yourself.
  • Keep it short.
  • List your education anti-chronologically, meaning your most recent study program first.
  • Give extra information about your education besides the name of your program and institution. For example important courses or your thesis topic.
  • Do you have a GPA of 7,5 or above? Mention it!
Work experience/ professional experience
  • List your work experience anti-chronologically, meaning your most recent work experience first.
  • Your job title is most important, use that as your heading followed by the name of the organization.
  • Mention your tasks and responsibilities in bullets.
  • Add side jobs and internships.
Additional activities/ extracurricular activities

Add additional activities that you did besides studying, even if they do not seem relevant for the position you are currently applying for. These activities underline your commitment and the soft skills you developed.

Skills and competences

List your:

  • Language skills
  • Technical skills
  • Soft skills and competences

Complete your CV by listing your interests. They reveal information about who you are as a person and give your CV a nice personal touch.

Navigate through the model to take your next career step

Take a next step!

The path to a to a (new) career is different for everyone. What phase are you in? What steps do you still need to take? Click on the buttons above for advice from the Tilburg University career advisors!

Need help?

Please ask Student Career Services for advice.