Looking for your first job after leaving school, but worried a lack of experience will hold you back?
If you have no previous work experience to speak of, you may not think you have much to include in a CV. But, with the right amount of enthusiasm, research and professionalism, (not to mention time spent viewing some helpful CV examples), there’s no reason your application still can’t stand out.
To help you increase your chances of success, we’ve put together our CV template for your first job:
Just here for the template? Click the link below:
Always start with your personal statement – and tailor it to the role in question. To put it simply, every time you apply for a new job, you will need to write a new personal statement, which should be tweaked to match the job description.
In terms of structure, consciously try and answer the following questions: Who are you? What do you have to offer? What are you aiming for in your career?
Also, try and quantify and give examples, where possible, and be specific. Generic personal statements can prompt a CV to fall at the first hurdle.
Instead of concentrating on a minimal work history, the most effective CVs written by school leavers often give precedence to skills.
Just as with your personal statement, try giving examples that are applicable to the role in question. For example, IT skills (naming specific programs), or soft skills such as problem solving, public speaking and interpersonal skills, not to mention a friendly and welcoming demeanour, are all desirable qualities to have.
Education should be included from GCSE level on. State the number and general grades you received (Maths and English at the very least). If you’re awaiting any results, you may state mock/expected results where possible, although this is not essential.
Write in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent events coming at the top.
In direct terms, particular course modules you’ve undertaken may be relevant to a role or scheme you’re applying for and can be used to demonstrate your wider knowledge of the subject.
Hobbies & Interests
A Hobbies and Interests section is optional. However, if you lack any notable work experience, they can be a great way of getting your personality across.
Feel like you don’t really have a hobby? Don’t panic. It’s never too late. Starting a blog, for example, can be a perfect way to show what you can offer – and could work for practically any career you look into. From the obvious such as fashion and retail (fashion blogs) through to carpentry and construction (documenting a DIY or restoration project, for example).
Just be wary of anything too generic, such as socialising with friends or going to the cinema (unless, of course, you’re applying for a role at your local cinema).
Ask yourself: Will they help you get the job? If not, it’s OK to leave them out. Finally, make sure you’re happy to expand upon them during your interview if called upon.
If you do have some relevant work experience, even if it was only for a brief period, this can be a great help.
If you have no employment history to speak of, you may wish to leave this section out. Alternatively, use this gap as your opportunity to be pro-active. Try volunteering with a local charity for a few weeks or at a locally run business. They will be grateful for the help, and you will have something extra to add to your CV.
Unless asked directly in the job posting, making them available on request is fine.
However, always make sure that you do have credible references. Close family friends, teachers, or career councillors are all good options, and are usually more than happy to help.
Need more CV advice?
It takes an employer just seven seconds to save or reject a job applicant’s CV. This means creating a succinct CV is absolutely vital if you want to land that all-important interview.
To find out how to make your CV stand out from the crowd, buy James Reed’s new book: The 7 Second CV: How to Land the Interview.
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