So you know you need to get a job, but what will you actually need?
It's your opportunity to promote yourself to a potential employer. CV is actually short for the Latin phrase 'curriculum vitae' but most people just refer to it as a CV. It acts as a record of your achievements and needs to be updated as you gain more experience and skills. A CV needs to include information about you (name, address, contact info etc), your education (where and when you went to school, any qualifications you have etc), and your personal interests (sports, hobbies etc).
This is your opportunity to promote yourself so it’s worth spending a few hours to get it looking good!
Whilst it’s important that the content is good, it also needs to look good... The smarter your CV looks, the easier it will be for someone to read and understand. After all, if they find it hard to read and understand, they won’t want to meet you!
- Make sure it’s typed - not handwritten.
- Make sure it's A4 sized, and no more than 2 pages.
- All the fonts should be the same, with equal sizes and spacing.
- Make sure your email address is professional as employers might reject anything that is silly or inappropriate.
- Be honest but don’t be too modest! While you want to sound really good, it’s important to be honest so make sure it’s an accurate reflection of everything you’ve done.
- Always alter your CV for each job application so that you modify your words to match their needs.
- Try not to waffle!
- Don’t forget to spell check it and double check all the dates .
- It’s hard to spot mistakes in your own work so ask your parents or a teacher to proof read it for you.
- Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression so it needs to be good!
As well as a CV, you’ll need a covering letter. This is a letter that accompanies your CV to explain why you’re applying for the job. It should convince the person reading it that they want to know more about you.
- Remember the person reading it will get dozens of CVs and covering letters so make sure yours stands out!
- Always tailor the letter to the specific job you’re applying for - you can’t use the same letter for every job.
- Focus on why they should choose you, and what you can bring to their organisation if you get the job.
- Just like your CV, always type your covering letter on A4 paper, making sure you spell the name of the person you are addressing it to correctly.
- Don’t forget to add the position that you’re applying for - big companies will be advertising lots of roles!
- Like with your CV, ask someone to proof read it for you
The chances are that you won’t have much experience to put on your CV, or to tell potential employers about if you haven’t had a proper job yet. All is not lost though as, with a bit of creative thinking, you can turn your experiences and things you do into transferable skills an employer is looking for.
- What about the musical instrument you’ve recently picked up? The ‘practice makes perfect’ theory is exactly what employers want as a quality in their staff – determination. It’s also a great indication that you’re creative, have great listening skills and have the desire to learn outside of school or college.
- Remember the volunteering you did last Summer? Volunteering can change the way you see the world, and can therefore give you a broader perspective and a real sense of community. Not only does volunteering create the perfect team worker, but it can also develop networking and leadership skills too.
- What about if you haven’t done any of these activities? Did you play any team sports either at school or outside? Well just like musicians, athletes never give up and are great at managing their time. People who play team sports work well with others and develop strong communication skills… not to mention they’ll work hard to achieve their goals.
Almost anything you do, you can develop into a work-placed skill.
Even just mentioning these in your CV and covering letter will create a better overall impression of yourself – remember, it’s all about selling yourself.
To make things easier for you we’ve created a tool to help you put together a professional CV. Just ll in the information below honestly, checking any details such as dates and spellings so that it’s accurate.
As previously mentioned a cover letter is just as important as a CV, so dont forgot to also download and complete this also.
Check out The Prince’s Trust ‘Get into’ programme.
They give young people aged 16-25 the opportunity to gain work experience and receive training in specific sectors. As well as giving you vital experience, they also focus on your employability skills to help you move into a job after the course. They run programmes across different sectors including retail, construction, logistics and hospitality where you'll get on-the-job training and gain valuable work experience in your chosen sector.
What are you interested in?
If you’re a people person why not go and volunteer in your local care home or at the local Scouts Association?
If you like animals why not apply to become a volunteer at your local animal shelter?
Charity shops always need help, even if it’s just a few hours a week. Whilst it might not always be the exact career you’re looking for, volunteering looks great on your CV and gives you real first-hand experience.
If you’re struggling to find somewhere, there’s a number of organisations which specialise in helping volunteers find suitable places - check out some of these;
Work experience is a brilliant way to get a flavour of different jobs and will look great on your CV.
It allows you to experience different roles, companies and sectors for a week or two, and although it won’t be paid, it might help you to decide what you do or don’t like. You’ll normally shadow someone to see their role first-hand and you’ll get the chance to ask questions. Companies will get a lot of requests so make sure your application letter is articulate and professional to ensure you stand out from the crowd.
Try to convey your passion for their company and why they should offer you a week’s work experience.