Six invaluable CV tips for school leavers

If you are about to leave school here are some tips that are guaranteed to help you create an effective CV …

1.  Getting started

Keep it short:  Unless you’ve got plenty of work experience there is no need to have more than one page.  Two pages is the maximum.

2.  What you don’t need to include

Certain data:  Information such as your date of birth, religious beliefs, and even whether you are female or male should not be included owing to discrimination rules.  Unless you have been asked do not include references either.

Photograph: Unless you are applying to become a model or actor, if you are applying for work within the UK do not include your photograph.

3.  What you must include

Contact information: School leavers, graduates, right up to CEO level – you should always include your full name, address and contact details. You’ll be surprised how many people do not include ways for a potential employer to make contact.

Personal statement: Include a summary paragraph about you.  Incorporate your key skills and what you have to offer as well as what you are aiming for in your career.  You can use this section to include your soft skills for example: your ability to work as a team, your confidence or even your organisational skills.

Education: Include all qualifications gained from GCSE level on and grades and ensure you point out any examinations yet to pass as well as expected grades.  Write in reverse-chronological order.

Work experience:  Include any work experience with a description of your duties as well as an outline of what skills you gained from each role.  Make sure to note the company name, location, dates employed and what capacity e.g. full-time, temporary, three evenings per week.

Volunteering:  Include any voluntary experience with a description of your duties as well as an outline of skills gained.  Make sure to note the charity name, location, dates employed and what capacity.

Hobbies: This is where you can get your personality across especially if you have little or no work experience.  The more relevant to the role and its responsibilities or your chosen future career or course the better.  You should also highlight any awards or achievements.

4.  What else to consider

Social media: Only use social media links if these portray you in a professional manner so if you write a blog – include it as this can tell a lot about your efforts and personality.

Be honest: Make sure that you can talk freely about any aspect of your CV if asked at an interview.

5.  The finishing touch

Layout:  The content is important yet your CV needs to have visual impact too.  Avoid small or too creative fonts, and don’t be afraid of too much white space.  Spread the copy appropriately.

Proof read:  look over your CV for poor grammar, spelling mistakes and formatting and get someone else to look over it too for errors or omissions.

6.  Finally

Your brand: You are your own best sales person.  If you have any social media accounts ensure your image and message is consistent, be aware of the image you create both on your CV and in person.

Your confidence:  Keep positive.  Remember your CV is about getting you an interview – take one step at a time.  Ignore negative thoughts and keep focussed on your goals.

“You’ve got to keep going to get anywhere”

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If you would like professional help in marketing yourself can help.  We offer a Graduate CV package that doesn’t just include us creating the most appropriate CV for you; it includes an element of coaching and career advice too.

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