A CV outlining your suitability for work experience is likely to be one of the first CV’s you ever write and could potentially be your stepping stone to a new career, so you need to make sure it is a good one! In the first instance, it may be a good idea to use the template of a skill based CV, as this type of CV does not focus on your work experience, but rather what skills you have gained at school/university and can bring with you to the internship or work experience programme.
The aim of your CV
The aim of any CV is to highlight to the prospective employer why they should choose you above all other candidates. What do you bring to the situation that makes you unique and stand out above everyone else? The CV should reflect your enthusiasm and interest in the role you are applying for while ensuring the attention of the employer is drawn towards skills you have gained elsewhere (school, university, part time jobs etc). You may not realise it but transferable skills are everywhere. Captain of your hockey team? That demonstrates your leadership skills. Helped organise your school prom? That outlines your team building and time management skills. Head boy/girl? That outlines you responsible nature and interpersonal skills. As you can see, there are many, many examples of experiences in life prior to employment that can be transferred well into an employment market.
Voluntary work or a part time/weekend job can be a huge boost to your CV and shows dedication and motivation to potential employers – someone with a ‘go getter’ attitude and one to whom they are more likely to take note of. During the course of any work like this it is likely that you will have learnt other skills such as cash handling, stock taking and such like, so make sure that these responsibilities are listed, especially if they are relevant to the work experience you are applying for.
Work experience is an essential springboard by which you can make your mark in a certain environment and gain valuable experience which may lead you further into a career, so it is worth taking the time and effort to make you CV stand out for the right reasons. Do not assume that just because it is work experience, the employer does not expect the same level of professionalism from you as any other member of staff. Read on for our do’s and don’ts when writing a work experience CV.
- First impressions count so do make sure the language you use is professional and tailored to the industry
- Do not use ‘text’ speak or abbreviate as you would in a text/SMS
- Don’t waffle: the whole CV should be no longer than 2 A4 sheets
- Do use a skill based CV template as a guide
- Do include all your contact details at the top of the 1st page and make sure they are correct
- Do open with a strong personal statement which can outline not only your skills, but also your career goals and other aims
- Do highlight flexible, transferable skills which are useful in multi faceted environments
- Do list any predicted grades as well as ones which you have gained in any exams or other qualifications. Include dates they were obtained and the school/university.
- If you have any previous work experience (weekend job, voluntary work) the do communicate this in a brief work experience section with dates, employers names and job titles (where applicable)
- Do point out any interests you have that are relevant to the role
- Do adapt your CV to different work experience placements you are applying for. This does not mean you have to write a new CV each time, rather edit it to reflect what competencies the employer is looking for
- Don’t lie on your CV. Facts are easy to check and it is likely that the employer will check them.
- Do make sure to spell check the document and if possible have a teacher, lecturer, friend or parent proof read it for mistakes, grammar etc