As someone who is studying you are certainly planning for future success. One of the biggest steps toward that success will be your learning to write a good curriculum vitae. Your CV, as it’s known for short, will be the first way you make an impression on your potential future employers and as such is a document that’s much more important than most people think it is. At this stage of life you are unlikely to have much work experience with which to populate your CV, but there is still a lot you can do to secure your first job even if you haven’t graduated yet. Here then are our top tips for writing your first CV and making an impact.
It is always important to understand the position you are applying for and adjust your CV to reflect the knowledge and skills you have which apply to that position. What will be required of you? What will your job be like day-to-day? Look at the skills they are searching for, which of these are you able to fulfil? And just what proof do you have that you can do these things? Think about your achievements, how can you write about these, so they are relevant to the job you want?
While this section will likely fall away from your main CV over time, for your first job your personality and beliefs will be extremely important for separating your application out from those of the other applicants who likely also have no work experience. It is therefore recommended that you write a short “personal statement” at the top of your CV detailing your strengths, highlighting your value and speaking to the awards and achievements that you have. Do not be tempted to make this section too long as its primary role is simply to lure your future employer into giving you a job interview, not your life story.
If you are at university then you already have an impressive resume when it comes to the section on education. Explain what subjects you passed at school, your marks and what you are currently studying. This will give employers and idea, not only of your intelligence, but also of the role you hope to occupy in future life.
With most CVs employers will want to see your CV laid out in chronological order, detailing your work life and explaining your experience in their field. For this first job you don’t have any of that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show your value as a future employee.
This is a good section in which to detail any work experience you may have even if it’s from volunteering. You should describe what you were required to do and for how long.
You can also include any clubs you have been in where you have held a position of responsibility. If you were captain of the chess club at school, put that in and describe just what that role required of you. Were you tasked with choosing the team? Packing and storing equipment? Locking up the classroom? All of these things go to prove that you are a person who someone has trusted to do things in the past and helps strengthen your claims about your personality.
For your first job this is going to be the most crucial section. Make a list of the skills you have that are applicable to that job. Importantly, you should not take anything for granted. For instance, if you are familiar with Microsoft Office, or know how to use the internet, don’t be afraid of putting this on your CV at this stage. You would be surprised to find how many people don’t have these skills.
Add a short, one sentence, description to each point to explain why you have included it. For example: “Leadership skills: I am patrol leader at my local scout group and am required to assist with tasks running the scout hall”. Or “I have excellent IT knowledge, displayed through creating and maintaining my own website”. Or “Problem solving: I help my local church with the logistics around choir trips and maintain the sound equipment”.
This is another section that may fall away at a later stage, but for now is an excellent way for the future employee to work out just what skills you might bring to their company. Avoid listing hobbies that are of no use, such as “Watching TV” and rather stick to things that might prove you have a particular skill. For example, instead of saying, “Spending time with friends” say, “Going to quiz evenings with my team” which shows both teamwork and general knowledge.
Your closing section should be your contact details, which it goes without saying, is extremely important if you ever want anyone to be able to call you in for a job interview. The less obvious part of this section is your reference list. References should not just be friends or family but should rather be leaders in the community that you have worked with, and who are prepared to vouch for your reliability and skills. Church leaders, headmasters, and even favourite teachers will do at this stage, but if you have people who can vouch for you, and who also happen to work as seniors in the field you are hoping to enter, you should definitely include them.
If you are staying at The Fields you are in the perfect position to not only write your CV with the free WiFi, but are also centrally located near public transport such as the Gautrain, A Re Yeng and Metro Rail meaning you can get to your job interview no matter where it is. Get some tips here on how to access our superfast Wifi.
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