Top 10 Tips to Write Your First CV

If you’re recently qualified or seeking part time employment in order for you to get your first job you will need to write an effective and professional CV. Even if you are applying for jobs using an agency you will be expected to submit a CV.

Start with the format. There are plenty of free templates available online and through word processing programmes that you can use, but make sure you tailor this to suit your personal style and requirements. For example don’t include a section that you intend to leave blank, instead change the heading for a more appropriate one, or delete the section completely. You can always include this later when you have more experience.

Related: Top 20 Most Powerful Words to Include in Your CV

Most CVs include the following:

Personal Statement: indicating your career intentions and how colleagues or employers view you.

Work Experience: include here details of any work experience that you have had including dates and the name of the employer with a brief description of the job role and responsibilities.

Education: A list of the highest level and/or most appropriate qualifications you have achieved including the grades, dates and the name of the education provider.

Key Skills: This is a list of the skills you have acquired, not necessarily through work or education, that are relevant to the post. This may include any languages you speak, driving licence, computer skills, teamworking etc.

Personal Interests or Hobbies: Including this section is optional. If you have a particular hobby, voluntary subject or interest that is relevant to the job it would be appropriate to include.

References: You can include the contact details of your references here, or you can simply state “Available upon request” and submit these when you are requested to do. You should expect to be asked for at least one, and usually 2 references. In your first role this may include a tutor or teacher, or a personal referee. Make sure you seek permission from a referee before writing their name.

Most employers expect your first CV to be short, so do not try to fill it out with irrelevant information just so it seems longer. Ensure that the information you include is all appropriate for the position you are applying to.

You can include details of even short term work experience placements. The employer may also be prepared to offer a reference to you, although as they knew you for only a short time you will probably be required to provide further referee.

Related: First Time CV Example

Gap Years are common now, and if you were able to achieve something appropriate to your career objectives within your year off you can include a further heading such as Gap Year or details of the skills acquired under Key Skills. Skills learned may include Team Working, Resilience, Flexibility, all of which are highly desirable by employers.

Don’t be afraid to put down your educational achievements. You should not be bashful about stating high grades or good performance. The employment market is very competitive and these may be the facts that win you a job interview, so don’t wait for someone to ask about your grades as you may not have another opportunity to demonstrate how well you have done!

Continued learning can demonstrate your commitment to your career. If you are currently unemployed then it may be worth indicating you are keen for more learning opportunities, so make sure you write down any courses that you are currently taking or intend to join up on.

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Peter Farmer
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