If you’re a recent school leaver or at the early stages of your career, you will probably be thinking how to fill out a two page CV with little to no work experience. But don’t fear, as we are here to give you a few tips on what to focus on and how you can still create a great CV to impress your first employer.
Everybody has to start somewhere
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just left school, college or university. You are now looking for a job and are struggling to put pen to paper on your CV. Staring at a blank page can be very disheartening, but there is hope yet.
First of all, you are not the only person in this position and won’t be the last. Everybody has to start somewhere, and it’s how you approach your first CV that makes all the difference. For entry level positions, an employer will be expected to receive applications with little work experience.
Focus your CV on education
Focus upon what you have achieved rather than what you haven’t. Your time in education will hold many achievements. Your performance, your grades, your accolades – can all be detailed on your CV. Education should not be dismissed as a mere grade, and there is much more to discuss. Focus upon a particular project that may impress the employer. Or better still, may be relevant to the role.
It’s safe to assume that the role you’re applying for will require you to be a good team player. In addition, have good communication skills, be organised, be hard working, be punctual, and also have basic IT skills (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Using your education you will need to demonstrate that you have these foundation skills and how they will apply to the role.
A perfect attendance record, a class presentation, a project, essay or dissertation – all of these academic achievements can show the employer that you are ready for work and have already developed many soft skills. Make a connection between your achievements and the skills required for the role. Don’t leave it to the employer to guess how great you could be.
Don’t underestimate voluntary and part time work
Working for a local charity or even part time on the weekend is great work experience that should go on your CV. You may be thinking that it doesn’t really count and the employer won’t be interested. But this is far from the truth.
You don’t have to be paid for it to be classed as work. The valuable experience you’ve gained from a voluntary position will show an employer that you’ve already had a taste of a working environment. Your interaction with customers and colleagues can demonstrate to a potential employer that you’ve already begun to build up your soft skills.
Part time work will also have the same effect, and you should certainly put this down on your CV. Be careful not to include home chores. Mowing the lawn for your Dad is not quite what the employer is looking for. But working every Saturday evening at your local pub is of value to your CV. It could be linked with many attributes – working under pressure, interaction with customers, dealing with money, and so on.