Top CV tips

19 August 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes

Whatever your chosen path is after leaving school, having an up to date CV will be important as you progress through university, college or into the world of work. You may be applying for your first full time job or looking for a part time job but, either way, it’s important to show off your skills and impress recruiters with your CV. Writing your first CV can be daunting, and you may be unsure of what to include or what recruiters are looking for. Gillian Brown, Recruitment Consultant at Business Stream, is here to help and has some top tips for writing your first CV.

First and foremost, remember to include your contact details. It’s important to include these at the top of your CV or in a place that won’t get lost as you want the recruiter to be able to easily contact you for an interview. You should include:

  • Your phone number (make sure your voicemail message is professional or you can leave it as the generic one from your network provider)
  • Your email address (again, ensure it’s professional - you can easily set one up for free)
  • Your home address/area of residence
  • If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can add a link to this too.

Including a personal statement on your CV is really important too. It’ll tell the recruiter more about you and what skills you have that make you right for the role. You should tailor this to the job you’re applying for – check out the job description to help you. You only need to write a few sentences (around 150 words) which includes a bit about you, why you’re a good match for the role and what your career goals are. You can have a separate section for your hobbies and interests too which is a great way to get your personality across. Try not to say things like “socialising”, which isn’t very specific, and include more unique hobbies like blogging, foreign travel, musical theatre or mountain biking.

It’s essential to include your education and any qualifications too. If you’re waiting on exam results, you can put your expected results. You should include any training you’ve done too.

As a school leaver, you may have little or no work experience, but you’ll have plenty of hard and soft skills you can include which a recruiter wants to hear about. Hard skills are specific abilities which enable you to do a job and include things like speaking a foreign language, speed typing and proofreading. Soft skills are non-technical or interpersonal skills such as problem solving, team working, being a good listener, organisational skills, time management and patience.

If you do have any work experience, or perhaps volunteering experience, you should add this to your CV too. List your most recent experience first, and include:

  • The organisation you worked for
  • What your role was
  • Some key aspects of what you did in the role

Remember to be honest in your CV and don’t exaggerate your experience or skills. Ask a friend or family member to proof read it for you too, it’s important there are no spelling or grammar errors.

If you’re struggling to make a start, have a search online for a CV template. There are plenty available and if you already have a template you’d like to use, you may still find inspiration to make a start.

One last note from me, good luck! I remember applying for my first job after school and it can feel overwhelming. There are lots of exciting opportunities out there so I hope you find the one that’s right for you!

If you’d like to come and join the team at Business Stream, we’re recruiting Modern Apprentices and we would love to hear from school leavers. You can find out more about the role here.