At some point we will all have to write our first CV, and most of the time we do this with no work experience. We may have some qualifications from school, college or maybe even university. But how do we write a CV with this information that an employer will want to read?
The aim of the CV is to present positive information about you in a way that makes the hiring manager want to meet you.
The first thing we need to look at if the format of your CV:
|Contact Details |
Include just the key contact information, such as your most reachable contact number. Check your email address as well and ensure it’s appropriate for employers; they probably won’t want to see email@example.com. If you do have an email address like this change it for something more professional, even if it’s just used for your jobs searching and networking.
Typically a personal profile should be 4 -5 lines, however as this is your first CV, you can make this a little longer, although try not to write an autobiography. This is where most employers read about you first, so use it to sell your skills and also your enthusiasm for the job you’re applying for. Try to link in any experience you may have to the role you’re applying for, even if it comes from a personal hobby. Learn more about how to write an effective personal profile here.
This section is optional but can be a good space to further sell yourself to the employer. Try to think about the job you’re applying for and what you may have done in the past that links to this. Bullet point this section and keep it to no more than 6 bullet points.
Education / Qualifications
Set these out by giving your most recent school / college first. List the qualifications you have gained at each stage. If you don’t have them yet, put down a predicted grade and make sure you let the employer know it’s predicted.
At some point most of us have done some kind of work experience, maybe it was a work placement during school, a paper round, helping in the family business, or helping family or friends. Try to be as detailed as you can here about what you did, again thinking about the job you’re applying for and putting emphasis on the skills the employer is looking for.
Hobbies & Interests
This will be the last section of your CV and a final chance to sell yourself to the employer. Think about your hobbies and interests, and try to focus on the ones which link back to the job and employer you’re applying for.
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If you’re struggling to think of any suitable work experience then use your qualifications section to elaborate on your skills in a way that is meaningful to the employer. Think about what you have done at college, for example, you might mention your passion and ability to write compelling dissertations. This shows the employer you have the skills to research and write lengthy documents that will make communications easier for the department.
Another great way to prove your skills and abilities to a potential new employer is to gain testimonials from previous work experiences, such as school placements. You can add these under the title of the experience as a testimonial and will help demonstrate to the employer that the skills you have are accurate.
Ultimately the best way to demonstrate your skills is to have work experience, so why not volunteer. This will show the employer your passion and dedication to wanting to work. Volunteering doesn’t always have to be in the local charity shop either. Why not contact the company you’d like to work for or at least a company in the sector you’re looking at and offer to work for free to gain some experience. This will not only give you experience in the job but also give you skills to add to your CV. Plus you never know, if you prove how good you are, why would they want to let you go, they may offer you a paid position.
Finally, don’t be a afraid to experiment a little with the layout and style of your CV. Why not use some colour or create a CV that not only reads well but looks visually appealing. This will further enhance your skills showing the employer you have a creative side. You can see some examples of more creative CV styles here.
Good luck and remember, we’re here to help if you need anything.