Writing a CV for someone with little or no work experience is different than writing for someone with significant experience. Most times as a fresh graduate it may not be so easy writing a CV that stands you out. This CV writing tips for jobseekers with little or no experience will help you learn how to project your outstanding qualities in the absence of actual work experience.
CV writing for non-experienced jobseekers means you will have to rely on things like design/presentation of your CV, highlighting relevant skills, educational programs and learning that will boost your chances of getting the job, etc.
With these tips it should become easier to create a CV that utilises other non-experience qualities you have to present yourself as a viable candidate for the job(s) you are applying for.
CV writing is a skill that involves organising your academic/educational, work, personal skills and professional accomplishments in a document for prospective employers, hiring managers etc to get informed about your suitability for a job, engagement, etc at a glance.
Your CV as Your Professional Document
CV is short for Curriculum Vitae and stands for the document that presents a professional image of you to potential employers, partners. Your CV shows your expertise, knowledge and suitability for specific roles/areas of work.
At the start of your professional/work career it is important to know how to overcome the shortcomings of lack of experience in your CV. Of course there are things career advisors will advise you do from early on to increase your relevant experience such as volunteering, taking part in student work experience schemes and internships. These most times show that you are an active person engaging in meaningful work with your free time. And it helps!
CV for Inexperienced Candidates
Writing your CV as an inexperienced candidate you should double down on the things you do have that will make an impression on the employer – your education, extracurricular activities that give you some relevant experience related to the job, your acquired skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for the type of work you are applying for.
To write a perfect CV as an inexperienced applicant you first need to get the whole substance of a modern CV and then adapt that your strength as a jobseeker.
The Modern CV
The CV has undergone some evolution from years back. Today a modern CV has to comply with the expectations of employers and hiring managers in the 21st century. For instance a modern CV no longer needs to have – Curriculum Vitae – written boldly on the heading. There are structures for an acceptable CV today.
Outlines for a Modern CV
A modern CV usually has the following outline/sections;
- Contact Information (name, phone, email, address)
- Personal Statement or Career Highlights (this is especially important for people with some experience in the bag)
- Work Experience
- Hobbies and Interests
- Activities, Accomplishments, Awards etc (the more relevant they are to the role you are applying for the better)
Breakdown of the Sections of a Modern CV
Let’s give some brief pointers on each of the sections in the CV outline
- Contact Information: This is where you put your official name and means of reaching you (this may include house address but definitely must include phone numbers and email address). These days with different design templates the personal contact details section of your CV can be in top middle of the page, top left corner etc [See sample designs for Entry Level CVs]
- Personal Statement or Career Highlights: In the modern CV it is no longer necessary or even practical to have a career objective. As you will be applying to several jobs you do not need different career objectives. If inexperienced you can go with a personal statement. This is basically a one paragraph, 2 or 3 sentences max summary of your career persona, aspirations, experience, background etc. You can learn how to write a compelling Personal Statement here.
- Work Experience: As someone starting his/her career you may actually have very little or no prior experience. That’s fine. You can think of any volunteer, student work or internship you have done in the past and include that in this section. If you have done nothing at all that can be used as work experience, not to worry. You can craft a simple paragraph to indicate you have no relevant experience but are looking to start with any opportunity that gives you the chance to show what you can do while you quickly scale up on the job
- Education: This section pretty much is where you list your educational qualifications from order of the highest/most recent qualification. If you have a postgraduate degree that comes first then your first degree, followed by high school (secondary education). These days it is not necessary to include primary education in a modern CV.
- Skills: As someone disadvantaged in the experience area your skills section of the CV is where you can make amendments. Map out all the relevant skills you have and list the ones that will make most sense for the job. The main types of skills you can have in your CV include; computer skills, communication skills, organisational/leadership skills, People skills, Problem solving skills.
- Hobbies and Interests: While some debate whether this has much relevance in a CV, your hobbies and interests are a good section to let the prospective employer know about interests you have that may be relevant to the job you are applying for. For eg Chess is an interest/hobby that will definitely help your cause if you are applying for an analytical or technical position. Some good hobbies that will impress employers (depending on the job role) include; Chess, Photography, Writing, Sketching, Reading, Playing a musical instrument, Podcasting, Travel etc
- Accomplishments, Awards: This section may sound like tooting your own horn but it is one that is even more important for an entry level, inexperienced candidate. If you have school honours, outstanding accomplishments, or any generally useful awards (like from the Boys Scout, Drama club etc) this is where you list them
How to Write a Compelling CV if You Have Little or No Experience
Now you have an idea of the outlines/sections for your CV as an entry level or inexperienced candidate you can get to writing the perfect CV with these CV writing tips;
Get the Layout/Design Right
Half the work on a CV lies in presentation. Your CV has to look pleasing, attractive and easy to read. This means the right spacing, arrangement of sections, using bullet points to list skills, hobbies, awards, job duties & accomplishments etc.
This is where most people have issues, finding or creating the right design template can be difficult on Microsoft Word.
Using a CV Builder that allows you choose from an array of over 20 beautifully designed CV templates saves you a lot of time and headache. Once you choose a template you simply follow the prompt to type in or fill the different sections of your CV and in a few minutes you have a an amazing, attractive CV/resume to download and use.
After the hurdle of design/presentation of your CV the next is to decide your approach to writing the actual words in your CV. From your personal statement/career highlight to work experience (where you describe your roles and accomplishments for each job) you need to write in a manner to make your CV more compelling and easier to read.
Write in active voice not passive. Eg – I led team of 7 interns to onboard 200,000 users for a website project.
Keep your sentences short and not too long. Go for simple sentences and language, there’s no need to use big words to impress anyone. Unless you are applying for a role as a lexicographer!
Watch your spelling and grammar. This is even more important for some roles as bad spelling/grammar will put you out of consideration. Our CV writing tool ensures your CV comes out with no errors of spelling and grammar.
We hope these CV writing tips for beginners and entry level candidates will help you get the best CV you need for your job search.
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