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Creating your first CV- what do you need to know?

06 Dec
Whether you’re looking for a part-time job or want to start an apprenticeship, you need to have a CV at the ready to do so. A great CV will give you the edge when it comes to job-hunting: with it, you can tell companies about your employment history, and the skills you have that will convince them you’re the right person for the job. 

However, if this is your first time creating a CV, it can be hard to know what to include. What should it look like? 

Read on for more.

The structure

Though your CV will be unique to you, there’s a basic layout that you should follow when writing one. Start by including your name and contact details at the top, and then follow that up with a short personal statement. After that, it’s time to list your skills and strengths, education history and finally, your work experience: the details that will back up your personal statement and convince an employer that you’re a great person to hire.

Your personal statement

Research says that the average time a recruiter will spend looking at your CV is under a minute, so your personal statement needs to be short, concise and interesting. Aim to write a few sentences that can sum up who you are, what experience you have, and where you see the job taking you. 

One example could go like this: I am a sixth-form student at Newtown High, looking for a great opportunity to make my passion for building into a career. I have work experience in retail, as I process payments and stock goods for a shop over the weekend. I’m ambitious and want to start a career at a business that will let me develop my skill with metalwork.

This personal statement should ideally be tweaked every time you apply for a new job, to suit the new role’s requirements. 

Skills and strengths

Many school leavers won’t have a great deal of experience to put in their CV, so what you put into your Skills and Strengths section really counts towards how you’ll be seen by your potential employers. 

Like your personal statement, these skills and strengths should be tweaked to suit the demands of the job. For instance, if you’re applying for a role in Customer Services, then include communication skills, IT skills (where you should name specific programmes that you use) or ‘soft skills’ like problem solving and the fact that you’re a good team player. The top skills that employers tend to look for include teamwork, self-belief and self-management: regardless of the job you apply for, it’s always a good idea to include them.

Work experience

You might not have a lot of work experience at this stage, but that’s no excuse for not including it. This section can be very versatile: if you’ve ever had a weekend job, volunteered anywhere, or even done a work placement through school, then it’s worth including as its most likely taught you skills like cash handling, time management and how to communicate with others. If it’s relevant, put it down!

Don’t forget to include any education you might have in the following section: whether you’ve recently taken a course in hairdressing, have completed a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or have just received your GCSE results, include your qualifications- and don’t forget to list them in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent ones at the top. 

Finding a reference

Aside from including any hobbies or interests, the best way to end your CV is by listing a few references. These referees are people that prospective employers can contact to find out more about you, the better to determine whether the information that you’re providing is accurate. 

It’s important to note that you don’t have to put your references on your CV. Instead, you can say they’re ‘available on request’. However, they still need to be credible and you still need to provide them, if asked. If you’ve just left school, for instance, then why not ask a teacher? Pick somebody that you know well, like a coach for your local sports team, or your supervisor from work. If you like, you could even ask a close family friend. 

Above all…

Remember that your CV is the first impression a prospective employer has of you, so take your time and be certain that your CV is accurate and that there are no typing or spelling errors. Ensure that you are confident you can demonstrate or provide examples of the skills you list on your CV, if invited for an interview and that your grades and experience will match up to your CV when employment checks are made after you receive a job offer. 

Take your first step into the world of work with DST

We’re always looking for passionate, motivated people to start their career with us. Could you be it? Let us know: browse our blog for more insights into starting out in the world of work, or take a look at what an apprenticeship with DST could mean for you. 
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