Are you new to the world of CV’s? Our youth bloggers will help you get on top of it, with some great tips. We’ve also created a handy poster, which you can download.
Happy Reading 🙂
- Extra-Curricular Activities/Hobbies
Whether you are a sporty person or you just love to bake, talking about these is a great way to show your personality and to show that you can take on responsibilities.
Not only are you giving something back to your local community, but employers, also like to see that you have done something beneficial out of your own kindness. This is a good place to start.
- Awards and Achievements
Make sure the achievements, you list, are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to work in a café, use your qualifications and experience that involve talking to customers and serving food. Mentioning these can make you look like a hard working person.
- Joining Societies
You can learn more about your favourite interests through societies and meeting other people who can help you to know all you need to know about working in a certain career.
Tolu, 14, Leicestershire
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Building a CV can be highly stressful and confusing for some people especially those who are doing it for the first time. However, the main thing to remember is that we will all be there at some point! We haven’t all just MAGICALLY woken up one day and had our CV ready to be emailed to thousands of companies, that is just not the case. We had to frantically scrutinise every information we could find on the internet on how to build one and hope to the heavens that we did a good job while shakenly pressing the send button on our keyboard. (Don’t lie, we have all done that. You are not alone.)
You see, a CV is all about taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you are applying for. But the question still remains: what if I don’t meet the right criteria? Well thankfully, you have come to the right place. In a second, I’ll be going through the best tips to help you get started in creating a successful CV. So let’s get started! (no need to thank me just yet)
- GET THE BASICS RIGHT:
It’s all well and good having a clear idea of what your CV is going to feature, but if you don’t have the right structure I bet there is a very low chance for you to leave a lasting good impression. Make sure you include personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements, or hobbies; and some references.
- PRESENTATION IS KEY:
This might be my attention to detail speaking but make sure that your CV is always carefully and clearly presented. Remember that your CV is you, not literally of course, but for the employer, it might be. If your CV has an unclear layout and is badly structured, the employer won’t think twice about what kind of person they have in front of them and your CV will just fly into the pile of badly written CVs, right next to their desk (the bin). So please do me a favour and verify that you have a nice layout and good structure. Also, bonus tip (how lucky), the upper middle area of the first page is where the employer’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
- UNDERSTAND THE JOB DESCRIPTION:
Read the job application!!! Think about it as a treasure hunt; we are looking for clues. The job requirements are always a good place to go to and you should highlight everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. If you can satisfy all of them, congrats! you are clearly doing better than me in life. However, don’t panic if you are lacking in some areas, you can still fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. Any experience you have is worth writing about and it will show how the skills you have are transferable.
- KEEP YOUR CV UPDATED:
You must review your CV regularly as there is always room for new skills and experiences. Have you just done some volunteering? Have you worked on a new project? If you have, just slap it on there! Employers love candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.
- DON’T BE GENERIC:
Imagine you are the employer: it’s almost the end of the workday, you have no more energy, you have been going through CVs all day but none of them has caught your interest and the only thing that is keeping you sane is the thought of that pumpkin spiced latte just waiting for you at your local Costa down the road. When suddenly you come across a CV not like the others: this person knows what they are applying for, have a clear goal in mind, their references make sense, their past experiences (although outside the box) make them a good candidate and all of a sudden their job has a purpose again. See that? You want that. You want to be that. You want your CV to be the one that can shift someone’s mind from a pumpkin spiced latte back to their real purpose in life. That is your main goal and I believe in you.
We have finally come to the end and these were my 5 best tips to build a CV. You can either take them as a pinch of salt or you can go ahead and fully invest your life in them. Whatever you do I just hope these helped you and you are now more confident in what to include in your CV. (now you can thank me)
Sharon, 16, Southend-On-Sea
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I wasn’t sure how to start this blog, as I have never attempted to create a CV myself, however, currently my school is holding the application process for head boy and head girl, and a lot of the requirements for that, transfer very well to creating a CV. So, this blog might not have much in the way of the laying out your CV and subtle stylistic techniques, but rather more general ideas to help you stand out from the crowd.
First, you should be really specific about anything you mention. When applying to something, it is not good enough to make vague statements about how you are a ‘good communicator’ or an ‘effective leader’, you need specific characteristics and evidence to back it up. These are really great places to extend on any job experience listed, which especially at a younger age, is generally quite far and few between, can make you seem like a more able candidate.
Second, it is extremely important to craft your CV specifically for the position, and even the company that you are wanting to work for. By playing to the weaknesses or wants of a company, you are much more likely to get the job, because although it may seem that it is you trying to get a job at a company that is reluctant to hire you, most job openings are desperate to hire truly effective people, and by making your strengths seem ideal for whatever job you are looking to be hired at, is extremely important and can in many ways be the make or break.
Another important part of your CV is to keep language plain, simple and effective. A CV should not be treated as a creative writing exercise, and less is most definitely more. Language should be powerful, not flowery. Sentences should be short, not running across the page. In many cases, there will be hundreds of CVs for potential employers to look at, so the information about yourself should be easy to understand and easily resonating.
You should also ensure to highlight your strengths, and mention any weaknesses very briefly, if at all. Employers are looking for someone that they can have confidence in- if you don’t have confidence in yourself then how can you expect them to have it in you? And on that note, it is important not to add irrelevant job experiences/volunteering/hobbies, etc that may shift away from a focus on the qualities that will be useful for the job.
And of course, a few last things. Make your CV something professional, and nice to look at. Remember to use standard English. Remember to check the spelling, punctuation and grammar. Remember to add your details so they can actually get back to you if they want to hire you!
I hope that this has been useful to anyone reading. If you want more tips, the link below is a good place to start.
Ella, 15, Driffield, Yorkshire
Read more from Ella
Doing your CV is one of those things that is tempting to put off as it is daunting! Hopefully, these tips will help you.
How to write your CV, to make the most of your skills and experience
If you are doing your CV for a job, look at what the job description is asking for and tailor your skills and experience to this. When writing mine, I googled examples of CVs to get ideas; there are also lot of free templates though I used Word, as it’s what I’m used to. I typed it as a normal document and added bullet points, borders and different fonts with different sizes. Arial is fine for the text (size 12-14), but don’t make your font so small that it is too difficult to read!
You could, if you have a good reference from voluntary work or a paid job, insert a short excerpt from this at the start with the name of the referee. I did this with a reference I had been given for voluntary work.
Things to do
- Consider a cover letter you can adapt. Google examples for ideas, but don’t make it too long.
- At the top of your CV have a short, summary about yourself. Make it punchy – it’s the first thing an employer will see.
- You could put education first, rather than work, unless you have lots of work experience.
- If you have got work or volunteer experience put this under a separate section and write the name of the employer, dates you worked and responsibilities. Start with the most recent.
- Add a ‘Core Skills’ and ‘Achievements’ section. Highlight any awards from school and any positions of responsibility. Explain when you worked in a team and learnt teamwork skills. Don’t forget hobbies and interests; for example, studying a musical instrument could show that you are creative and able to stick at something.
Things not to do
- Don’t, when listing skills, achievements or work responsibilities, start every sentence with ‘I’. Use action words like ‘responsible for’, ‘supported’, ‘organised’ and ‘contributed’.
- Don’t make it too long. One side is fine. Two sides are okay. Three may be a bit too many.
- Don’t have too much text. Section it out and space it so it looks easy to read.
- Don’t be too modest!
- Don’t make typos or spelling errors. Use spell and grammar check in Word. Get people to read it through and check it – get as much feedback as possible.
How to build experience for your CV
Your school may offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme or the National Citizen Service. I did both. These are also great for the section on ‘Skills’ or ‘Achievements’ and you can mention teamwork skills and developing interpersonal skills.
Try volunteering for a local charity.
See if there are any online work experience things you can do. Ask your school if they are aware of any opportunities.
‘FutureLearn’ are an online educational provider who do plenty of free courses – you could do a course to bulk out a CV or to show knowledge for a job you are applying for, but be careful of paid options, as you may be offered the opportunity to upgrade the course or get a certificate. You don’t need to pay and you don’t need a certificate. I think you must also be 12 or over to do these.
If you do an Extended Project Qualification at school, which is like an extra half an A Level, in Years 12 or 13, you can make the most of this on your CV in terms of research skills, independent learning and meeting deadlines. If your school don’t do them, you may be able to do them externally, or online, but you would probably have to pay.
Beth, 17, Leicester
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