If you’re looking to land your first job, you’re going to need a CV.
Writing your first CV is a big challenge, but I believe anybody can create a strong CV – even when you don’t have any work experience.
In this post, I’m going to explain what a CV is, and show you 3 example first CV templates along with some CV writing guidance, so that you can create your own CV that will get you plenty of job interviews.
Writing your first CV
- What is a CV?
- Example first CV templates
- How to write your first CV
What is a CV?
A CV (short for curriculum vitae) is a written document which you send to employers when you apply for jobs, and it contains relevantinformation about you, such as your education, skills, and knowledge.
It’s usually a 1 – 2 page document written using a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
It’s purpose is to get the attention of employers, and persuade them to call you in for a job interview.
Quick tip: You should think of your CV as your marketing material – like a leaflet or advert for your services as an employee, selling your most valuable skills to employers.
Example first CV template 1
This is an example of a first CV which has been written by a school leaver with no experience.
Although they have no work experience, they have still managed to showcase lots of skills and knowledge that will be impressive to employers and help them get job interviews.
First CV template 2
First CV template 3
How to write your first CV
Now that you’ve seen a good example of a first CV, I will walk you through how to write a CV that will win you lots of job interviews.
Quick tip: Before you start writing your CV, research the types of jobs you will be applying for online and make a list of the skills and knowledge your target employers are looking for – then try to include as many as possible when writing the CV.
Structure and format
The first thing you need to consider when writing your CV, is how easy it will be for recruiters and hiring managers to read it.
Recruiters and hiring managers tend to be very busy and often have to review lots of CVs every day, so you need to make it easy and quick for them to read your CV, and digest the important information
Use these formatting tips to get started;
- Create a text-based document using Microsoft Word or Google Docs – Don’t add images because they will congest the page.
- Keep it simple by using a clear font (Arial, Tahomo etc.) and black text on a white background
- Give it a professional appearance and make it easy to navigate by clearly dividing the CV sections with bold headings and borders
- Break text up as much as possible using bullet points, to create a pleasant reading experience
- Keep the CV somewhere between 1 and 2 pages long. If you don’t have any experience, 1 page should be enough
How to structure your first CV
Here’s how you should structure and layout your first CV.
I’ll now run through each of those sections in more detail
Name and contact details
Your name and contact details should be clearly visible at the top of the CV, so that readers know who you are, and how to get in touch with you.
The only contact detail you need to include are your location, telephone number and email address.
You do not need to include your full address, DOB, martial status or anything more – these things are unnecessary at this stage of an application and will waste space
Your CV profile
Your CV profile(or personal statement) is an introductory paragraph which sits at the very top of your CV.
It’s the very first thing a reader will see when they open the CV, so you need to ensure that it grabs their attention, and sells your most valuable attributes.
The idea is to give a quick overview of what you have to offer in just a few lines.
Typical things you should include are:
- Your educational achievements – Grades, subjects, courses, awards
- Your hard skills – Numeracy, writing, languages, IT system experience etc.
- Soft skills – Communication, team work, adaptability
- Your goals – e.g. You want to work in finance, or you want to become a lawyer (you should also write about this in your cover letter)
Quick tip:If you struggle with spelling and grammar, try our partner’s CV builder
Check out my video guide on writing a CV when you have no experience
Core skills and achievements
If you really want to highlight your most relevant skills for the jobs you’re applying for and show off your achievements – then add a core skills and achievements section like this.
It’s a simple bullet pointed list of:
- Your skills that are relevant to the jobs you are applying for
- Any impressive achievements that you’ve made in or out of school
These short sharp points will jump off the page at readers and ensure they notice them quickly – a great way to make a big first impression.
As a candidate with little or no experience, your education will need to contain plenty of detail.
List the schools/colleges you have attended and grades you have achieved in your GCSE and A levels, along with any other qualifications.
You should also highlight any positions of responsibility you have held in school such as being a prefect or member of a team or club.
Hobbies and interest
Hobbies and interests won’t be too important once you gain more work experience – but right now, they are a great way to demonstrate valuable transferable skills you may possess.
Good examples of hobbies to include are:
- Sports – Playing for a team or taking part in an individual sport competitively shows determination, patience, teamwork, communication, and many more valuable workplace skills
- Writing – If you write an online blog or perhaps your own books, this is a great way to show off your written communication skills
- Ventures – If you sell things on eBay or raise money for charity, this proves that you are motivated, enterprising and helpful
- Accomplishments – Perhaps you’ve run a marathon or climbed the 3 peaks, these sorts of personal achievements show you have a drive to be successful
- Volunteering – helping out businesses or charities involves a huge range of valuable skills you can showcase.
References: You don’t need to add references to your CV because employers should only ask for them once they’ve made you a provisional job offer.
Boosting your CV
If you feel that your CV is lacking skills and knowledge, there are plenty of things you can do to add some weight to it – check out the infographic below to learn how.
Who reads your CV?
When you apply for a job, your CV will be read and reviewed by either a hiring manager, or a recruiter.
Hiring managers are people within a company who are looking to hire a person for their team. For example, a shop manager who is looking to hire a shop assistant. This is the person you will normally end up working for directly when you are successful in getting the job.
Recruiters are people whose sole job is to find good candidates for hiring managers. They might work directly for a company, or externally for an agency. They will review your CV and speak with you, before passing your CV on to the hiring manager if you are successful.
If you can impress recruiters and hiring managers by showing them you have the right skills for their jobs, you will get plenty of job interviews and move one step closer to landing your dream job.
And your CV is the key to making that good first impression.
Writing your first CV – conclusion
Writing you first CV will always be a challenge, but if you stick to the guidelines above you can easily create an attractive CV that will attract employers.
Remember to make the document super-easy to read with simple formatting and a logical structure firstly.
Then ensure that you use your education, achievements and hobbies to highlight your most valuable skills.
Good luck with your job search.