Monday, March 07, 2005

Pushing the right CV buttons

*Sigh* - My current job doesn’t force me to kick those warm duvets out of the bed and out of the way in the early mornings of 6:30… the plea is just not there, instead I cower and submit to my unjustifiable desires. How difficult life can be? Needless to say, I am starting to really feel tired. In fact I should not blog this, I think.

I work as a Sales Manager in a Dutch IT company. The pay is alright but I am reaching to the point of squeezing the last nerve of patience for this job. I need something that fits my personality, that will keep my talents chiseled, my knowledge growing, my experience enriched, my ideals tested, and myself happy.

I think its time to look for greener pastures… (Darn, what took you so long?! *slaps face*)

I have been staring at my CV (Curriculum Vitae, this is how they call the Resume here in Europe) for hours like I am looking into a jumbled entry and suddenly I see nothing but only a white tunnel starting to slowly spin, then faster, more faster, until such that I am caught in a timeless spinning circle of daydreaming.

“Will you stay dreaming, or will you do something?” – An advert of ABN-AMRO Bank I saw in a magazine.

My CV is okay but I want it to have better impact and presentation. So I went to Expatica and reviewed the rules of this serious CV business. One of the new articles I found on the site was this:

The Modern CV: Beware of Clichés
(click this to read the article)

The research says that many job seekers are parroting back the criteria that employers themselves have defined in their job advertisements. In short, job seekers are doing the cut and paste method.

Top 10 CV Clichés Percentages

1. Communications Skills – 35%
2. Team Player – 28%
3. Project Management Skills – 27%
4. Results orientated – 25%
5. People Management Skills – 24%
6. Creative – 23%
7. Meet deadline – 22%
8. Motivated – 21%
9. Thrive on challenges – 20%
10. Organisational skills – 17%

Top 10 Job Ad stock Phrases Percentages

1. Communication Skills – 41%
2. People Management Skills – 35%
3. Creative – 30%
4. Strategic – 23%
5. Project Management Skills – 22%
6. Team Player – 19%
7. Commercial Knowledge – 19%
8. Leadership Skills – 18%
9. Negotiation Skills – 18%
10. Analytical – 17%

The advise: Get -Up Close- and PERSONAL. Do not just use overstated highfalluting business terms, but get real and be personal with it.

And to proceed to the main meat of this discussion...

How to Create a Culturally Correct CV
(click this to read the article)

I will be summarizing the points made in this editorial which I believe is geared for expatriates looking for a job outside of their country of birth or origin.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Find out about the company, i.e., their business, their corporate values, their competitors, who is interviewing you, and so on. You can use Google too.

Also, those forceful “cover letters” or “motivation letters” or “letters of interest” to accompany the CV can also make wonders in the convincing department.

LENGTH: It must be at least 2 pages. No ifs and buts. HR professionals read hundreds of CV’s in a day so why do you think they will read a 4 page CV of yours? Do not play a joke on them.

FORMAT: How do you want it? Chronological or reverse-chronological order? Attaching a photo in the CV is not always a good idea as they can lead to issues against race, color, or beauty discrimination(lol). Well unless you are applying for a stewardess position, or perhaps an actress, or wait, a bar girl, hehe. I guess a photo should suffice.

EDUCATION: Please give a background of your education and what it is all about other than just stating the degree you graduated. A university degree in NL takes at least 6 years while in other countries it is only 4 years.

If you are a professional with experience, a one or two liner about your education should be adequate.

LANGUAGE: Ah, my weakness and frustration. In mainland Europe, an average professional speaks at least 3 languages: the local country language, English and another EU language. I only speak the damn English fluently!!!

Anyway, have your CV done in English and also in the local language of the country you are in (such as Dutch for me, but I never do this!).

ACCURACY: Do not forget that Bill Gates has incorporated the “Word Spell Checker” into the Microsoft Office. Make use also of a “Human Spell and Grammar Checker”, your partner or your friend can be handy.

DELIVERY: Email is the trend but the article advised to send a follow-up copy of your CV by post mail. Hmm, I wonder if that is really needed.

Be careful also of the paper standards. In Europe A4 size is used, unlike in the US, its 8.5 x 11 inches.


  1. Anonymous12:01 am

    You might want to check out
    the standardized format which you may want to adapt as you are job hunting within the EU.

    Good Luck

  2. my brain clogged: too much norsk
    In my job a photo is very important dear, being in yachts for many years, how we look as well matter.

    My cv includes:
    being proactive
    eye for details

    My tips:
    when you do write languages specify the level.

    The best way to edit as well as doing the spell check or the human check, PRINT IT OUT, then go through it, proof read it!

    can I add more tomorrow? ;-)
    well Miss T I suppose that if work becomes a routine and its hard to get out of bed then... it is indeed about time you move on!
    Good luck!

  3. miss dutched:

    this is a nice summary of hints and how-tos in creating a resume/cv. i'm in the process of doing so myself. funny how you have to distill your life into two pages.


  4. Hey MissT... correct me if I'm mistaking but don't you speak 3 languages? Philipine, English, and Dutch? Mayabe this could help you get one of those exclusive jobs in trading with the Philipines? But maybe you're not interested...

    I'm a business student now, so your tips come in handy, thanks :P! I just couldn't imagine myself doing the same work every day either! I'm no fan of routine, in fact, it drives me crazy... I wonder if I'm in the right business then... lol!

  5. GIA: thanks i will look into that website after work. tonight i mean!

    SCHATZLI: true, printing out the CV for proof reading is very handy.

    attaching a photo really depends on the job. it also depends on the country/culture. in the philippines, a photo is normal, even a must but in western countries it is not since it can lead to many types of discrimination. you dont even have to put your nationality too, hehe. well these limitations are only for the professional-corporate type of jobs, but for others, i am sure it is different.

    RENA: thanks for dropping by.

    yeah, i am having a hard time putting my last 10 years working experience in 2 pages, argh. hey, good speed to you too!

  6. ELENTARI: yes, i speak 3 languages but my philippine lingustic skills (1 language and 1 dialect) is too niche in Europe, hehe. and my dutch is not that fluent or native to conduct proper business. i can only speak conversational dutch. remember i am just 2.5 years here in NL!

    re: trading companies, would you know? i know you are in business-economics so perhaps you know some of these trading companies in asia (more so the philippines)? give me your email please! :-)

    and your time will come soon that you will hit the job market, hehe.

  7. What I dont like in biodata as what they call that in Philippines is THEY PUT THE RELIGION ON.
    Where religion matters when you apply for work? I never ever do this!

    Yes its true the CV conforms to your job market as well.In my area, in travel, catering services, we must write down our VISAS! Especially for the USA.

    Have you seen the EURES SITE?The European Job Mobility portal.
    Thats where I found answers about my legal rights on moving, working in Norway!

  8. in france, they practice 1-page CV, so imagine, we have to condense our lives in an A4! photos and names are indeed subject to discrimination, so even if you're a french national but you call yourself M******, you have a big chance to be classed as 2nd best.

    languages - it's important to add your level. english is a big plus here.

    if you exert a lot of effort going to work, it's then time for you to move out...

  9. Anonymous2:48 pm

    Sha, I work in the travel industry, but i've never heard of including visas in the resumes, am dying to see the format you use .

    Here, they take care of getting my visas for me, I work with so many other nationalities, that getting visas, is part of the messengers job, and the embassies are used to it na.

  10. Hey MissT... not sure what you mean (I don't think I know companies that trade with Asia if that's what you mean...) anyway, I would give you my email addy, but rather not so open on internet when everyone can see it (spam). I also have friendster, maybe I can send you a message through there? I think I sent you a message last week or so through friendster, if that was you, let me know, then I know where to send it (complicated, haha)! Greetz, Elja

  11. Anonymous5:51 pm

    this entry reminded me that i should be doing the same, update my CV. thanks for the useful tips. i can't wait for my intensive language course to be over, i miss having a professional life! the next hurdle is as you say...where are the jobs? veel sucess MissT! SARI

  12. SCHATZLI: am going to check it now, just finished dinner and cleaning the kitchen, sitting now with a hot cup of coffee whilst internetting hehe.

    re: religion on biodata (tita, this is an old term! pinoys now use resume term), true! i find that really discriminating, as in! like those so called christian oriented companies, they prefer someone who is also from the same denomination, hello?

    ANALYSE: 1 pager in france!!!??? lol, no one can beat that! how about those very experience professionals with projects and whatnots to boast? can you make the fonts miniature size? hehe

    yeah its time to move, really. been telling you about this loooooooong time ago na!

    SARI: you will also have a how to make a CV class in the integration program. this will fall under the "loopbaan orientatie", and they will even teach you how to be organized. but if you are an experienced professional, you will find it just a waste of time. its only good for starters. check expatica for more articles.

    ELJA: ooops,i thought you are aware of some import export companies? anyway, will check friendster. i seldom go there!!! :-)

  13. Anonymous1:26 am

    I use Leren.NL to learn how to make a good CV and sollicitatie brief :)


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