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CV's: Learn to Edit & Shed Your Nordic Skin


With growing up in the Nordic countries, we are all familiar with the advice we receive in terms of CV's - Add all the experience you have and more!

The bigger and fluffier the CV, the better right? Well, it is fine and dandy if you are looking to work within the Nordic borders, but what happens when you want to work abroad?

In 2014 I was looking for a new multilingual job, and I, by accident found an international company that was looking for a Norwegian speaker for a Customer Service Job. When I handed in my CV in Norwegian it was approx. 7 pages long excluding the cover letter. This is what I was taught in the CV writing class I took. They got back to me asking me to send it in English and maximum of 2 pages.

The dread I felt, having to do something new and remove things from my CV? How would I be able to do that? I sat down and started editing, I removed everything relating to my childhood and school years, only adding on my education of what I studied and extracurriculars, then I removed part-time job experience, still, it was 4 pages, 2 pages more than I was asked to submit.

I submitted the CV and they accepted it, but they asked me to try and compact it further but for the interview process it was ok. I got the job, and this is where I learned how to edit my CV, and I will now share the secrets with you:

  • Step 1: Do not set it up as a letter, just add your Name, Nationality, Contact Details – skip the address, add the town you are living in. That is all.
  • Step 2: Only add the most relevant experience for the multilingual job you are applying for, remove the summer job you did when you were 14 and picked strawberries, it doesn’t add anything (in this case), it just takes up space.
  • Step 3: Bullet points for experience. Do not tell a story, paint a picture with bullet points and only add straight to the point sentences. To be honest most companies don’t care that you were sitting behind the CEO.
  • Step 4: Education is important but just add what you studied, the years and where you studied. Do not add your publications because recruiters won’t read it and it just looks pretentious, it doesn’t help your case at all.
  • Step 5: Try to keep it on 1 page and keep it pretty, do no add pictures or other disturbing elements. As a recruiter myself, I look at your experience. If you really want to add something in - how about creating a part-time projects heading and naming them briefly under here?
  • Step 6: To stand out from the crowd, just keep all relevant information and keywords easy to spot, bold them out if you must, this makes your CV pop and will be better assessed and less chances of it being binned/shredded.

That’s it, you just need to remember what we have learned is not what is looked for in today's world. Being a Nordic myself I had a hard time adjusting, but after I followed the 6 steps above I was more successful finding a multilingual job, now I look for these myself and I am always happy when I see a CV that is straight to the point and shows me exactly what you are about. The rest of your personality I get to know over the phone when I pop you a call.