Excerpted from the Belgium Career Guide
Belgium is divided into three linguistic areas, so cover letters and résumés/CVs must be in Dutch, English or French depending on the location of the company. When applying, it is best to use the business language of the company. For an international group, English should be used. In the French part of Belgium, a handwritten letter is common; in the Flemish part, typed letters are accepted. Please note there is also a German-speaking region, and Flemish employers do not like to be addressed in French.
Applications must be clear, well-structured and complete. References should be contacted in advance.
Cover Letter Guidelines and Samples
A personalized letter of one page should always be included with the job application. The letter should be sent to the person mentioned in the advertisement, including his/her title. The cover letter should specify the position for which the jobseeker is applying, and clearly describe the applicant’s interest in the position and motivation for applying.
Resume/CV Guidelines and Samples
In Belgium, a résumé/CV (curriculum vitae) is usually two pages in length, but it may extend to a maximum of three pages depending on the jobseeker’s years of experience. If sending an unsolicited application to an employment agency, the applicant may wish to give more detailed information to fully describe his/her potential. A recent graduate should concentrate on those studies, experiences and abilities that are most relevant. In any case, the résumé/CV should be tailored to the job requirements.
The CV must include the following:
- The résumé/CV should be divided into the following sections: ‘Personal Information,’ ‘Education,’ ‘Work Experience’ and ‘Personal Interests.’ The major emphasis of the résumé/CV should be on professional experience.
- The résumé/CV begins with ‘Personal Information’ at the top of the first page. This includes the applicant’s full name and title, address, telephone number(s), email address, date and place of birth, citizenship, civil (marital) status and number of children.
- Under ‘Education,’ the names and locations of the schools attended should be listed with the dates of attendance. Areas of concentration, theses topics (if relevant), special courses, seminars, internships, non-degree and foreign studies should all be included, as should awards and honors received, and any extracurricular activities demonstrating leadership, teamwork or other desirable qualities.
You'll find more advice and cover letter and resume samples in the complete Belgium Guide.