Suitability and the Dutch CV

When it comes to a CV, every country has its own style and preferences; some countries insist on a photo, others your date of birth and some prefer to know your work history first, whilst others want to discover your educational credentials at a glance.

Much like the Dutch themselves, a CV in the Netherlands should be to the point and concise. It should be factual and no more than two pages long. Dutch employers do like to see that you value your out of work time, so showing leisure activities is also important.

Do not embellish roles or responsibilities nor exaggerate your own abilities – honesty is always the best policy. This sample (in Dutch) may help.

The following list provides a very simple overview of the structure of a Dutch style CV:

  • Personal details (address, email etc.)

  • Education (list degrees and certifications, not the results)

  • Work experience (reverse chronological order) and include tasks and responsibilities.

  • Leisure activities/hobbies/civic responsibilities

  • Other factors relevant to position (computer skills, languages, accreditations etc.)

Your cover letter should be clear, professional and show your motivations for the position. Research from the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs indicates that a candidate's motivation is one of the main reasons for a job offer. If it is an English speaking office, the letter should be in English, otherwise Dutch.  Do some research to determine if the company is English or Dutch speaking.

Who can help?

There are numerous career advisors and recruitment companies (uitzendbureau) who can help you find work in Amsterdam. There are also many books and online templates available. The American Book Center or Waterstones at Spui both stock a comprehensive range of reading material and the Amsterdam public library (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam) also has a good selection, free of charge.

Above all it is important to realise that the CV you had in your home country may not be suitable in the Netherlands, so take the time to give it some critical analysis, review it against the points above, and seek further help if required. Having the right CV will help you land the right job.

IN Amsterdam partners

For a list of IN Amsterdam partners, including recruitment agencies, please click here.