Now that you have finished school or college you may be applying for a full-time, permanent job for the first time. If you are at that point you may now be sitting in front of a keyboard, staring at a computer screen and wondering where to start. Like any CV you must make the most of what you do have – your qualifications and experience – rather than areas that are less strong, such as your work experience.
First things first – include your name and address, together with your mobile number and an email address. Ensure your voice-mail is polite and business-appropriate and that your email address avoids any negative connotations – Partydemon99@hotmail.com or a similar address is best avoided as it may raise doubts in an employer’s mind about your reliability. If necessary, create an email account using a variation of your name e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a brief 3 – 6 line summary of your skills, experience and accomplishments. Make it individual to you and include concrete information. For example:
Education & Qualifications
Include details for all schools, colleges and universities you attended. Specify the years, qualification and institutions. High grades can be included – low grades should be omitted. For example a 2.2 arts degree can be described as ‘B.A. (Hons.)’, while a 2.1 can be expressed as ‘B.A. (Hons.) – 2.1’. Similarly, secondary school results can be phrased as: 7 GCSEs at A – C level, including English (A) and Mathematics (B). Any thesis or projects you completed may also be worth mentioning together with any recognition. For example:
Successfully acted as company accountant in a school mini-enterprise that produced flower baskets for sale at parent-teacher nights; raising £650 over a six-month period.
Choose your top 4 – 5 accomplishments and include these in bullet point format towards the start of the CV. These should be factually based e.g.:
- Awarded Duke of Edinburgh silver medal following successful completion of tasks including 5 km orienteering course and climbing of Ben Nevis.
- Volunteered with Guide Dogs for the Blind over a three year period and achieved a fundraising target of £5,000.
- Four years work experience with Tesco (part-time) with increasing responsibilities over time to include: stock replenishment, checking deliveries, cash management.
At this stage in your career employers are not expecting you to have accumulated much job-related experience and any that you do have can be included in list format after Achievements.
If you have participated in such activities include the length of time you have been involved and any responsibilities or accomplishments. For example:
I have volunteered with Oxfam for two years, serving retail customers on Saturdays and fundraising at Christmas. As part of these activities I helped to raise £300 and am a key-holder for the Greensfield branch.
It can be useful to include a line or two about what you like to do during your free time. Try to make it active rather than passive and provide some detail. Stating that ‘I enjoy keeping fit by jogging 15 miles through Woodsfield Common at weekends’ is much more interesting than ‘I enjoy exercise and going to the gym’.