How to write a “life history” when you are just starting to experience life in all its glory.
So you’re about to leave school, college or university and you’ve been asked to put together a CV.
There are templates available, laid out by your tutors or careers advisor, which will do the job. The main problem being every one else in the market has access to the same templates so all the CVs are going to look fairly similar.
How to make your CV stand out?
How to make it different?
How to make it brilliant?
It’s up to you. What are you trying to sell to your prospective employer?
You have two areas with which you can hope to make an impression.
- Exam results
Yes, your employer will want to know about your exam results and he will also want to know about you as a person. What have you been doing in your spare time and how would this relate to the job you’re applying for?
Let’s cover exam results first. Are they all fantastic? Then list them all with the grades or awards you were given.
Were some of them great and some not so great? List the great ones first.
Were none of them very good? Are you considering resits?
If so, say so!
If you aren’t, you still need to list the subjects and put the best results at the top. Hopefully these will be the subjects most relevant to the job you want to be offered.
How else can you make an impression? Let’s see what we can do with the subject of experience.
What experience have you had?
Have you had a part time job, a paper round, serving behind a bar or waiting on at table in a restaurant or café?
Have you had any workplace experience at all, perhaps as a project, you can talk about?
Have you done any volunteer working, helping out at a kids club or with elderly people? Have you helped anyone in your close, or extended family, in the same way?
What have you been doing in your spare time? Scouts or Guides Awards, Duke of Edinburgh Award?
Are you an organiser? Have you planned trips or outings for your family or friends?
Are you a member of any clubs or associations, inside or outside school, and perhaps been involved in team sports, games or quizzes?
How are you with technology? Used your computer to design a website? Taken any fantastic photographs or video? Play and record an instrument?
Think about your involvement, check our notes about achievements and see if you can draft three or four good statements.
Now to lay it all out on paper.
Read over our notes on CV layout so you get an idea of what looks good and what doesn’t. Don’t worry if you can’t stretch your CV to two pages, one page for a school leaver will do the job, especially if it’s brilliant!
Put your information in chunks – the headings could be:
- Name and personal information
- Personal statement
Depending on how good your exam results are, you might want to switch the order of the “Experience” and “Education” blocks.
Remember, you want people to read the good stuff first!