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#5QuestionsTo Marijn van Faassen, Head HR at Syngenta

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#5QuestionsTo Marijn van Faassen, Head HR at SyngentaIn #5QuestionsTo we ask questions to admirable persons in the seed industry. This time with a slightly different approach. We’ve asked 5 questions to Marijn van Faassen, Head HR at Syngenta Benelux about tips for job applications.

Syngenta is a multinational company that supplies growers with seeds and crop protection. They have 28.000 employees in more than 90 countries, so a good HR policy is a necessity. Marijn is head HR for Syngenta Benelux. Usually, he makes decisions on a strategic level. Especially for us, Marijn will be answering questions from students. What do you write in your cover letter? What do you put on your CV? He shares his tips and tricks.

What skills do I need for working in Seed Valley?
It’s difficult to point out a specific skill or characteristic, especially since the industry has a wide range of possibilities. I suppose if you have affinity with healthy food and if you’d like to work in a very innovative industry that contributes to a better world: Seed Valley is the right place for you. Syngenta, for instance, focuses on sustainable agriculture.

How do you stand out at a job interview?
As far as I’m concerned, there are three important things. First: prepare yourself for the interview. This shows your motivation and shows that you’re seriously interested in the job. Second: be yourself. A bit challenging when you’re nervous, but authenticity makes great conversation. Lastly: your enthusiasm and passion. If you can talk about your knowledge and experience with the right amount of enthusiasm, this will leave a positive mark on the conversation.

How do I keep my nerves under control for my job interview?
As mentioned before, preparation is key and will help you to get your nerves under control. Gain knowledge of the company and on the job itself. Read into all the activities of the company and read into the function. Something else that helps you to get control over your nerves, is to prepare the ‘story’ your CV tells. Some people have a lot of different experiences on their CV. But what do they have in common, or how do these follow up on each other? It helps if you can talk through your CV whilst following a common thread.

What do I write in my application letter? 
An application letter is very personal and to be honest: there are no rights or wrongs. What I’m usually looking for is your motivation for working at the company and why you are so interested in this particular job: do show this extensively. A common pitfall is that people tend to repeat their CV’s into their motivational letters. That’s unnecessary. Your motivational letter is your motivational letter, your CV is your CV.

What do I put on my CV?
Put all your relevant work experience onto your CV. However, do think about how far back you want to go. Is it really necessary to mention your student job as a delivery guy/girl? Is that of any relevance for the job you’re applying for? Something else I would recommend is to write down your achievements within your jobs and education. Did you do a particular research? That’s great, but do mention the results and if possible, the implementations.

Want to read more #5QuestionsTo? See our previous interviews here.

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