Writing your first CV

Young man writing first CV

If you are just out of school, college, university, whatever, the task of writing your first CV / resume might seem horribly daunting and is, without doubt, a difficult function to complete.

But, it is what most potential employers will expect and, therefore, something that will have to be done.  Your CV, or curriculum vitae, is, essentially, your life history to date, or, at least, those bits of it that might interest your future employer – experience behind the bike-shed might well be most interesting but should be omitted (for most jobs, anyway!).

We explain best way to portray yourself at any stage of your career.

Contents of your first CV:

  • Contact Information – provide full details of name, address, and contact telephone number where you can be contacted 24/7.
  • Summary – a description of yourself, your achievements, skills and abilities, demonstrating who and what you are.  Correctly formulated, this single paragraph is a powerful ’hook’, illustrating immediately that you are the right person for this job.
  • Education – a listing of educational exams passed, courses taken and so on, list the most important first.  If you have passed exams with first class honours, make sure that this is illustrate, if you have achieved a low grade pass then omit this piece of information.  You must not lie on your CV, but you do not need to volunteer reasons for the employer to reject you before even seeing you.
  • Experience and Work History – all jobs will contain elements that are required by potential employers, time management, teamwork, organisational skills and so on.  List all the tasks that you have undertaken in any job, even part-time.  Concentrate on the skill involved, not the job title and how these may be applied in other areas.  For example, you may have been a football team captain, involving you in team-building skills, analysis of competitor  skills, strategy formulation and so on – get the picture?  This may be your first job, but you do have something to offer.
  • Work Experience – most employers rank relevant work experience as being  amongst the most important attributes they will seek from any applicant; almost as important is the demonstration of a good work ethic whilst others look for, in graduates, a degree that has some sort of relevance to the position sought.
  • Interests – if this is your first CV it is likely that the content may be a little thin as far as work experience is concerned.  In this case highlight the sort of skills the employer may be looking for.  It is important for a first, or student, CV to talk about extra-curricular activities, the wider the interests you demonstrate, the more an employer will see your potential as a well rounded individual able to contribute to their business.
  • General –  Do not expect to produce a good CV in just a couple of hours, it takes longer!  Once written, leave it for a day or so, then re-read and modify as necessary, this is an on-going exercise.

Find our more about writing your first CV:

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