How to write your CV for your first job
The job market can be intimidating at the best of times- but what do you put in your CV if you have absolutely no work experience?
Don’t be discouraged. Employers don’t expect a new graduate to have work experience – but they are looking for a whole lot of other things and they are definitely looking at your social media profiles.
Where to Start: Your Summary
Write a short “elevator pitch all about you. Basically, in a couple of sentences you need to describe who you are and why you believe you can benefit the employer. You obviously can’t write about previous work that you don’t have, but you can highlight your education to date and your skills.
If you don’t know which skills to include have a look at the recruitment ad and you should be able to figure out which skills would be advantageous.
If there are no specific skills listed, then Google similar job descriptions, which will give you a pretty good idea about what your employer is looking for.
What to write in the experience section.
This is tricky because you don’t want to leave the section blank, but you also don’t want to fill it up with part time jobs that have absolutely no relevance to your employer.
Go back to your summary & look at the skills you have listed there. Now this is where you need to think about your life experiences so far & where or when you have applied any of those skills.
You need to think back and provide examples of where you applied those skills.
Perhaps your skill is time-management. These might be a few examples of where you used it:
- How you managed a team project with a number of deadlines
- If you did have a part-time job how you managed to balance studies and work to meet deadlines.
Additional skills as life experiences on your CV
This is an opportunity to share any additional life experiences that illustrate how you learn from situations and translate these learnings into other areas of your life. Be careful of creating information that is “fluffy” just to add extra content.
What should you CV look like?
The last but definitely not the least is the layout of your CV. The way your CV looks is a way for you to stand out from the crowd. Avoid the temptation to add pretty pictures and glitter, remember that the information needs to be clean and professional. Also try to use clean fonts that are easy to read on screen. Remember in this day and age your CV is most likely to be read on screen as well as in print so test it to see what it looks like on screen.
Remember it’s not just your CV.
The most important thing about your CV these days is that your CV is only a portion of what your future employer might be looking at.
Your potential employer will be getting a feel for you from the first point of contact that you make with them. Pay attention to how your emails are worded. Check everything for spelling & grammar. It doesn’t make sense that you spend hours on your CV and then don’t support that with excellent communication in your mails.
Remember that your employer will definitely be looking at your social media accounts. Are you well represented on your platforms and do they accurately reflect what you are saying in your CV.
A 2016 CareerBuilder survey found that 60% of employers research job candidates on social media.
There are positives and negatives that employers look for:
- how you write (grammar and spelling) might have an influence if you are applying for a journalism job
- bad-mouthing ex employees or companies is a no no
- if you are applying for a creative position, your beautiful instagram shots might stand you in good stead
Don’t panic, though; in the same survey a number of employers also said they are less likely to interview candidates if they don’t have social media accounts.
Good luck – happy job hunting.