Writing a great CV is your first step to securing your dream job. There’s lots of advice out there about what makes the perfect CV, but one thing to consider is it can differ depending on where you are in your career.
If you’re looking for your first time job, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it might be a struggle to fill out your CV with enough attention grabbing information to snag a position.
However, it’s not just paid employment which can help you along the way. Ask yourself the following questions when sitting down to write yours and you’ll have an impressively full CV in no time.
1. What are your exam results like, and is there any particular subject you excelled in?
It goes without saying that you will have spent the best part of the last few years concentrating on your exams, so you should rightly be proud of whatever you have achieved. As well as including a general round-up of how you did overall, you could use your CV as an opportunity to detail any subject which you have done particularly well in, or enjoyed the most. This is particularly relevant if applying for a job relating to that subject.
2. Did you take part in any extra-curricular/non-compulsory activities that helped towards your study?
Taking part in any extra activities while at school is a great way to show a level of commitment that goes beyond your compulsory attendance at classes. So, were you a regular at revision sessions, did you take on extra assignments/projects, read any extra books and so on to help with your studies? If yes, include details of this on your CV – it also shows motivation, dedication and a willingness to go the extra mile to succeed.
3. Were you a member of any clubs during your school time?
It’s not just exams and academic achievements which help when looking for employment, your activities outside of the school curriculum show that you’re a well-rounded individual. They can also show crucial job-skills, such as team-work, commitment and problem solving. Perhaps you were part of a sports team, took part in amateur dramatics, or did some volunteering in the community – it all helps to show off the variety of skills you have to offer.
4. Did you have any special responsibilities at school?
If you took on extra responsibilities at school, that shows an employer that you’re committed, trustworthy and not afraid to work hard. It’s worth mentioning if you had any extra “duties” when at school. Perhaps you were a prefect, mentored younger students, helped out at lunchtime, ran the school shop, or helped to co-ordinate assemblies, study groups or clubs.
Try to include details about why you were chosen for these roles, or why you chose to volunteer for them in the first place, and what you learned from your experiences. For instance, if you helped to run the school shop it’s likely that you learned about handling cash – pretty handy for jobs which require you to work with money.
5. What were your hobbies while you were at school?
Much like extra-curricular activities, your hobbies help to show what kind of person you are and if you have any extra transferable skills. Try to steer clear of the “obvious” hobbies, such as “watching television” as these can look a little unimaginative, but do include things such as cooking, photography, travel, sports and writing.
6. What was your attendance and punctuality like at school?
Employers naturally want to work with people who are going to turn up on time and regularly. Your school will have a record of what your attendance figures were like, so including this information on your CV is a good idea, especially if it was particularly impressive – such as a 100% (or close to) attendance record.
7. Did you win any awards or special achievement prizes?
Lots of schools give out prizes for a variety of different achievements, such as excelling in a particular subject, extra-curricular activities, high attendance rates and so on. Include information about any such awards on your CV, detailing what you won it for, how many times you won it (if applicable), and the work you had to do to win it.