Looking for your first job can be a daunting experience, as you need to be able to ‘sell’ yourself to potential recruiters and this doesn’t always come naturally. Writing your CV is a chance to really think about the skills you have learnt to date and how you can deploy them both in your application and interviews.
We have some great advice about formatting your CV on our website but here I want to go through in more detail how you can add content to your CV even if you haven’t had much work experience. Apart from work experience you have many skills that you’ll have developed through some other kind of experience, be it volunteering, hobbies or extracurricular activities. It is important to showcase these on your CV.
Include a Personal Statement
Your personal statement is the first thing a recruiter will read on your CV, so this needs to be good. Although this will head up your CV you may want to write the rest of your CV before attempting this. Ideally you will have three to five lines about yourself, your skills and what makes you the perfect candidate for the role. Remember to keep it short and concise.
Make Your CV More Skills Focused
Without much work experience you will need to make your CV more skills focused. Include examples of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills and a good way of starting to think about these is by looking at the job descriptions that you want to apply for. These are all likely to list skills and qualities that the recruiter is looking for in their ideal candidate and the trick is to match yourself to these as far a possible, whilst remaining honest so that you are able to back them up. Always try and expand on your skills by giving examples of how you have demonstrated these in the past. See our previous blog on the ‘Top 5 Transferable ‘Soft’ Skills’.
Enthusiasm and interest in the company counts for more than you may think. If you are able to show your enthusiasm for both the role and future potential within the company it could put you in a stronger position.
Taking online professional development courses can be a fantastic way of adding to your CV and we covered this in our recent blog ‘Free Online Courses to Boost Your Skills’.
Lastly you can always include a hobbies or interests section to your CV, particularly if you can show how these link to the job you are applying for. These could include memberships of any societies or organisations that you belong to or any fund raising events you have been involved with.