During your studies, you will acquire a number of skills that will be important once you join the work force. In addition, you can also actively steer on a good CV to enter the market with. A good resume shows potential employers all the things you've done that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Whether your resume is any good depends on the job opening.
Get your resume checked
Would you like to discuss your resume or your application letter? Your Career Officer is available for you to help. There are two ways to do so:
- Email your resume, application letter and the job opening you're responding to to Sjoer Bergervoet.
- Plan an interview with any of the other career officers working at the different faculties.. Always perform the career check first and bring the results (together with the resume, application letter and job opening) with you to the interview.
Your resume (or CV, short for curriculum vitae) is a document that shows, clearly and concisely, who you are and what you've done in terms of education, work experience, and extracurricular activities. A well-written resume will leave a good first impression with any potential employer. Fine-tune your resume to the job you're applying for. Create a sort of database for yourself that contains all of your experiences and select from that database only the relevant elements for each job application. Have a look at our job application tips as well (see Job application tips).
Besides your theoretical knowledge, employers also value your skills. Your skills determine whether you’ll be successful in the job and in the organisation. Therefore, a lot of time is spent on this topic during the job application.
It’s up to you to determine what skills you possess. You may have acquired skills during your study, within your fraternity, job or projects. Subsequently you make sure you can come up with a concrete example in your pitch, letter or conversation, to prove you possess this skill. For example, how you brought a solution to a problem:
“In my job as a helpdesk agent, I have to deal with large and small problems, e.g. incorrect data in an annual review. I always try to solve matters in a way the customer immediately has a feeling of being helped, e.g. by quickly adjusting data. That is my first goal. I then make time to further analyse the problem with those involved by automatically having the data checked by the customer, so we can find a structural solution.”
When they ask about your problem solving skills in a job interview, be prepared for questions like:
- Describe a problem that you encountered at work. How did you deal with it?
- Has there ever been a problem prevented, because you detected it in time? What kind of a problem was it?
- Did a problem ever occur that you didn’t anticipate? How did you react to it?
Feel free to make an appointment with one of the Career Officers if you want to learn more or sign up for the workshop ‘The Art of Job Application’.
Job application tips
When applying for a job, it is important to pay attention to the following:
- Make sure you have a clear and structured resume.
- Write an attractive application letter explaining why you would like to work for the organisation and why you think you are the right candidate.
- Prepare your job interview.
Clearly structure your resume
Your curriculum vitae, or resume, shows potential employers who you are and what you have done in terms of education, work, and extracurricular activities. A clearly structured and well-formatted resume makes a good first impression. Always tailor your resume to the job and its requirements. Build a database for yourself containing all your experience and select relevant elements from it for each application you send out.
Structure of a good resume
- Resume structure (pdf)
- Intermediair.nl offers examples of relevant resumes (Dutch).
- Carrieretijger.nl has information about skill-based resumes (Dutch).
How to write a powerful resume: watch the video below.
Write an attractive application letter
It is important that you use your letter to show why you're highly motivated to work for the organisation you're applying to and to argue the case for why you are the best candidate. Download our tips for a good application letter (pdf).
Links (in Dutch)
How to write an attractive application letter: watch the video below.
Do well on the interview
The job interview is an opportunity for you and your prospective employer to meet and get acquainted. The following tips will help you prepare for that interview.
What constitutes appropriate attire depends on the kind of organisation you're applying to. Is its culture formal or informal? Whichever it is, you should at the very least look well-groomed: your clothes should be clean and ironed, your shoes polished, your hair styled, etc.
Meer kledingtips (Dutch).
These questions are commonly asked during job interviews:
- Why do you want to work here?
- What do you like about this job?
- What makes you a good candidate for this position?
- What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?
It is also common to ask how you would deal with certain situations. You can prepare for those questions by coming up with past situations (in your part-time job, circle of friends, administrative positions, or studies) that show how you possess and have applied certain skills.
- What shows that you're a good team player?
- How do you deal with stressful situations?
Practice your answers using the STAR method: start by describing the situation, then tell the interviewer about your task, the activities you performed, and the end result.
Come up with a few questions about the job you're applying for. These interviews are not just an opportunity for the organisation to work out what you can do. They're also an opportunity for you to decide whether the organisation and the position actually offer what you're looking for. It's important to decide ahead of time what you want to know.
Read up on the organisation and recent developments in the industry. This will give you a better idea what to expect of the organisation and its culture. That knowledge will be very useful in answering the questions they will ask you in the interview.
Do what you can to make a good impression, but not at the cost of being untrue to yourself. People are quick to notice when you pretend to be someone you're not. Also, when you don't know something off-hand or don't immediately have a good answer to a question, just say so. Openness and honesty are still highly appreciated.
Assessments are simulations of real-life situations conducted to determine how you would perform. You can prepare for assessments by practicing. A psychological evaluation consists of an intake, written tests, and possibly a (case) simulation. Your employer will try to gauge your competencies based on that evaluation. Assessments can be performed before a selection procedure, or to confirm a candidate's qualities. More information:
- Advies en oefeningen (Dutch language)
- Intelligentie- en vaardigheidstests (Dutch and English language)
- Numerical tests (English language)
- Verbal Reasonings tests (English language)
- Aptitude tests (English language)
More tips? (in Dutch):