Job Searching

How to write good CVs and applications


A complete guide with examples on how to write effective CVs and good applications when looking for a job in Denmark.

Your CV is often the first thing that employers read - and thus also the entry ticket to the rest of your job application being read.

It is therefore important that you put effort into writing a clear and comprehensible CV that, most importantly, is targeted at the job you are writing for.

Here you can get answers to the most important questions for your CV and find a template for your CV that you can be inspired by.

Create a comprehensible resume that you can customize

It is easier to delete than to add. So when you start the job search, it is a good idea to create a complete CV, which contains all the information about your previous jobs, education and experience.

Your complete resume will be too long and unfocused for you to send when you're applying for a job, but you can use it to continuously create more targeted versions. That way, you don't have to start over every time you have to send your CV to a new employer.

Your CV must be short and clear

Employers don't spend long browsing your CV. It is therefore important that they can quickly find the most important points.

An analysis shows that the vast majority prefer the candidates' CV to be 1-2 pages, while the second most would like the CV to be less than 1 page. In other words, you must be concise when writing your CV.

In addition, you need to structure it with subheadings so that they can quickly skim it. A good structure that you can use in your CV is:

  • Summary/your elevator pitch: Feel free to use the headline to give a good argument to read on. It must be catchy and say something about you and your professionalism - or about the challenges the company would like to solve.
  • Selected core competencies
  • Work experience in reverse chronological order
  • Education and further education in reverse chronological order
  • IT skills
  • Language (both oral and written level)
  • A little about yourself as a private person
  • Reference to any references

Start with your elevator speech

Begin your CV with a short text of 5-7 lines about yourself and your motivation for applying for the job. Briefly and precisely explain why you are qualified for the job and how you can contribute to the employer achieving its goals.

Remember to keep the recipient's needs in mind - what's in it for them - what can you contribute, rather than what's in it for you.

Think of the introduction as your elevator pitch, where you sell yourself for the job, and always make sure it's targeted to the job you're applying for.

Your core competencies in point form

In a survey by the recruitment agency Ballisager, 92 per cent of the companies surveyed responded that it works positively when the applicant has written down his or her skills in point form.

Therefore, select the skills that are most important in relation to the specific job you are applying for and explain how they can be an advantage in the job. List them in point form after your introduction.

Your work experience and education

Under the section with your core competences, you must first write your work experience and then your education and any courses in point form.

The employer is most interested in the latest that you have done, so you must write both your work experience and education in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.  

Be sure to elaborate on which areas of responsibility and tasks you have handled in your previous jobs and any also which results you have helped to create. Write it in point form under each employment relationship.

Short employments and gaps in the CV

Perhaps you are worried about what the employer thinks if you have many short employments or gaps in your CV where you have been unemployed.

In both cases, there is a certain probability that the employer will wonder about it, and therefore it is best that you mention it yourself, so that you can pre-empt any skepticism.

  • Short-term employment: The employer's biggest concern is probably whether you are difficult to work with. You should therefore explain if the real reason is that you wanted to test your skills in many different positions, or if you have been employed in temporary positions. In addition, try to find a common thread in the many positions by finding some core competencies that you have used in all jobs.
  • Gaps in the CV: Few employers perceive it as a negative that you have been unemployed for short periods if or if you match the profile you are applying for the job. If you have very long gaps, it may worry some, and then you must write how you have kept up to date professionally during your unemployment and why it has taken you longer to find a job.

References from previous employers

It is a good idea to write on your CV that the employer can obtain references about you.

On the other hand, attaching a reference text in advance has a limited value. Most employers will agree this with you before calling your reference. This gives you time to brief your reference so that they can emphasize the qualifications that are in demand in the job you are applying for.

If necessary, remember the photo in your CV

Several companies have started to use HR systems that hide information about candidates' gender, age and ethnicity. Therefore, they cannot see pictures of the candidates either.

In a study by the recruitment agency Ballisager, however, 73 percent of the companies estimate that it works positively with a photo on the CV.

You must decide for yourself whether you are comfortable using a picture on your CV. If you choose to do so, it must be a well-liked and professional portrait photo. If you don't have one, you can ask a friend or partner to take it in a neutral setting, but avoid using an old holiday photo.

Try the IDA CV Assistant

The CV Assistant helps you to keep your CV updated and ready for use.

Log in to MY IDA and start building your new CV!

How to write an application

It is important that your application is specific to the company and the actual job. You shouldn't use exactly the same application for several companies.

Your job application must focus on what you can offer the company in this job – what they will gain by employing you. You will need to list the reasons why you are the best person for the job and back these up with examples.

The application itself must not fill more than one page.

An application usually contains the following points, and usually in this order:

  1. An engaging headline that captures who you are
  2. What is your motivation for applying for this job? Describe why you think the company and the job are interesting.
  3. Describe why you are the right candidate for the job
  4. How do you fulfil the job criteria?
  5. Describe your experience with tasks that relate to those listed in the job ad
  6. How does your personal profile match the job and the company?

Get feedback on your job application and CV

IDA will assist you with input and feedback on your job application or CV. Remember to attach:

  • The job posting that you are looking at (if possible in the form of link).
  • Your application
  • Your CV

Log in to My IDA and submit your application and CV.

More useful tips in our videos

As a rule, a job application in Denmark is made up of two parts: an application and a CV. They are equally important and must supplement each other. In this first video, you'll get an introduction to what a CV is in a Danish context.

Solicited and unsolicited applications

Want to know more about the difference between solicited and unsolicited applications in Denmark? 

Working with your CV and LinkedIn

What are the tips and tricks when working with your CV for LinkedIn? Learn more and get the insights in this video with IDA's Career Consultant Lise Dan.

More useful advice about job applications and CVs

Find more information and good advice on how to write an application and CV on Work in Denmark's website.