A master title is no guarantee for a job. How do you ensure that recruiters stop at your LinkedIn profile and that you manage to get an interview with that amazing company? Freek van Kraaikamp gives advice.

1. First decide what you really want
When you hear all those stories about the lack of jobs and internships, just getting a job seems to be the thing. But first take a deep breath and decide what you want, advises Van Kraaikamp. “Drawing up a CV is a process. Start by writing down your own story, answering the following questions: who am I, what do I want and what can I do? What elements are important to you in your work? Do they include growth potential, salary, colleagues or how much holiday you get, for example?

2. Make a list of companies you think might be interesting
Do you find it difficult to decide what motivates you? If so, Van Kraaikamp has another useful tip. “Spend a whole day looking for potential employers. Look as widely as possible. Do you want to work for a bank? Don’t just look at all the banks, but include other financial organisations too. Put all these companies on a spreadsheet and give five reasons why you would like to work for each one.”

Win the job application handbook ‘Zou jij jezelf aannemen?’ by Freek van Kraaikamp

Erasmus Magazine has three copies to give away. Want to take part? Send an e-mail to [email protected] with the answer to the following question: What will you take with you for lunch on your first workday? Unfortunately, there is only a Dutch edition of the book. Deadline: 19th of February

3. Ask for help
“It’s strange because students know how to navigate the Internet, but they don’t ask questions. Yet there are lots of work-related groups on sites like LinkedIn which you can join like the group Student of Starter,” says Van Kraaikamp. “These are ideal places for talking to experts by experience. So many people are prepared to help you, but they need to know that you are looking for an answer.”

4. Draw up your CV
So you’ve ticked off the first three points on this list? Good. Now it’s time to start on your CV. Van Kraaikamp: “Your CV is a version of your story. Don’t use hollow slogans like pivotal role, hands-on mentality and team player. And don’t make your CV too colourful. Recruiters use search words, they look for competencies, specialisations, etc. Don’t just say that you have a master, but give the title of your thesis.” Bonus tip: don’t just post your CV on LinkedIn, but also on job search sites like Jobbird.com and Monsterboard.nl.

5. Ask for feedback
And then it’s time to actually apply for a job. You’ve sent the letter and then there’s the possibility that you receive a rejection. Take the opportunity to ask why, Van Kraaikamp advises. “You can use that information to adjust your CV and accompanying letter so that next time you do get invited for an interview.”

Got an interview? Congratulations! Did you get the job? More congratulations! If you don’t get it, ask again for feedback. So that next time, you’ll be in a stronger position.

Freek van Kraaikamp (30) used to be a recruiter and is currently a career coach. He writes for papers like NRC and Intermediair and is the author of the book ‘Zou jij jezelf aannemen?’. More information is available on his website.