Where to start
Sometimes the hardest part of doing up your first CV is knowing where to start. Below are some tips to help you write a CV for your first job that you can be proud of. Empty pages are often a bit hard to look at sometimes, especially when your mind goes blank and you wonder what you did that you can add to your CV. Well…. chances are you have done quite a bit. Just remember everyone has had to do this at some stage!!
Thanks to Crosscare Dun Laoghaire, Sallynoggin Youth Project, for their help with this skills puzzle which should help you focus on the things that you have done, that you can put on your CV.
Writing your first CV
The main thing to remember when writing one is to keep it clear. The person reading it is most likely reading many other CVs and nothing stands out or impresses like a clear CV that is easily read.
- CVs give basic information about you, your education, work experience, skills & achievements.
- Start with your name & contact details you will need an email address and mobile phone number so a future employer can contact you!
- If you are adding in your email keep it professional, firstname.lastname@example.org might not be the best email to use if you are applying for a job. Set up another email address and make sure you remember it, especially if it is the one employers might be contacting you on!
- Keep it short, sharp and simple, no more than two pages.
- Treat your CV as an advertisement of yourself – be positive, sell yourself.
- Have one master copy – adapt and update your CV to suit each job you are applying for, (*a tip*- you will find the important words/phrases in the job advertisement, so have a look at that).
- Start with your most recent job/ education first and work backwards.
- Include any awards/ medals/ skills as they show commitment and dedication.
- Do not lie on your CV as you are likely to be found out at an interview or dismissed if you get the job.
- If you’re asked for referees, include a past employer, teacher or sports coach – make sure to ask that person first! If you’re not asked write ‘References available on request’ at the end of your CV.
- Read over the CV for typos and spelling mistakes. Get someone else to double-check!
- Save your CV and cover letter and amend it to suit each new job application.
- Use your name as the file name, so the employer knows whose it is.
Think through what the employer is looking for, and emphasise how you can fill those needs. Address the letter to the person hiring if you can. Paragraphs 1 – 4:
- Tell them the job you are applying for.
- Tell them a little about yourself, why you’re interested in the job, and why the company attracts you.
- Tell them about your strengths and how you can add value.
- Tell the employer that you are available for interviews at a time that suits them.
Quick word about skills
It is important to get across the skills and attributes that you have. These are only some samples but the key is to look at skills or attributes that apply to you, make sure you write about them and how they can be demonstrated by your activities, e.g. I work very well within a team as demonstrated by my membership of the Green Schools Committee and many team sports. By reading the job application you will have an idea of skills that the employer is looking for, but here are examples of some skills and attributes;
- communication skills
- teamwork skills
- interpersonal skills
- analytical skills
- computer skills
- strong work ethic
- motivation and initiative
- flexible and adaptable
- organisational skills
- honesty and integrity etc
For more information read our post on Identifying your Skills.