If you’ve just left school or university, writing your first CV can be a big challenge. With little or no work experience and no prior exposure to the job market, it’s difficult to know how you should format your CV and what information you should include. But help is at hand, as StandOut CV has produced this step by step guide showing 5 ways to boost the success of your entry-level CV.
The biggest hurdle for most entry-level candidates is gaining some real life work experience to add to their CV. With most employers preferring to hire experienced workers, it can be tricky to get a foot on the career ladder. But there are actually a few ways you can gain experience without having to land a job in the first place;
Volunteering for a local business
If you can volunteer your services to a local business for a few weeks, you can gain some valuable workplace experience and it will look great on your CV.
Utilising opportunities at school / university
Doing a work placement through school or university is a great way to gain exposure to working life and you can even get a gleaming reference from your line manager to use at interview stage.
Freelancing your skills
With plenty of freelance marketplace websites available; try signing up to one and offering anything from article writing and web design work, to data entry and tele-sales.
Undertaking vocational training courses
This is another excellent way to add some value to your CV. Whether it’s sports therapy or accountancy, you can enrol at college, university or even online and start learning some real practical skills. You don’t have to wait until you’ve finished the course to add it to your CV either – just make sure you add the expected date of completion and any qualifications that you hope to gain.
Undertaking personal projects
This is another proven method of getting some valuable content into your CV. A personal project could include anything from writing an online blog or work portfolio, to organising events or raising funds for charity. Write plenty of detail to demonstrate the skills used during your personal projects and the results you have achieved for both yourself and any beneficiaries.
Once you’ve got your CV up to a high standard with plenty of skills, knowledge and experience, you need to gain maximum exposure to recruiters and employers. By uploading your CV to job website databases you will make your CV searchable by thousands of companies. So try to upload your CV to at least 5 databases and sign up for email job alerts to ensure you are getting immediate notification of the latest job opportunities.
With literally millions of professionals across the globe on LinkedIn, and many of them being recruiters and hiring managers; it pays to have a strong presence on LinkedIn. Ensure that your profile is updated with your latest skills and includes a professional photograph. You should also look to include as many relevant key words in your profile, so that you will be found in recruiter searches. Once you’ve set up your profile, you can’t sit back and expect the job offers to start flooding in – you need to network relentlessly to ensure that you hunt down as many opportunities as you possibly can. Connect with recruiters and hiring managers in your industry by sending personalised messages that describe the benefit of connecting. You can also use LinkedIn’s job board to search for opportunities and make direct contact with role advertisers.
About the author: Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV writing service StandOut CV.