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How to Write the Perfect CV with Little to No Work Experience*

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Before you begin worrying yourself with the fact that you have little to no work experience, just remember that everyone has to start somewhere. We’ve asked the consultants at EduStaff to offer some tips on how to best write your CV when you may be lacking in work experience.

Jobseekers tend to focus on the ‘previous experience’ section of a job advert and can rule themselves out of the role before they’ve even had a chance to look at the rest of the advert. “Use your CV as a chance to showcase your skills and character”, says Senior Consultant John Cobb. “Employers want to know if you are a good fit for the whole company, so tailor your CV to highlight how you possess the personal qualities asked for in the advert”.

Adding examples to demonstrate these traits is another way to make your CV stand out, and these can range from extracurricular activities to personal projects.

Make the most of your educational achievements. Stating that you have a degree is great, but how is an employer going to know that this will make you right for the role? “Any qualifications are gained through developing a certain set of skills, even if you don’t realise it”, Cobb explains. “If you’ve completed a group project, describe the role you took in the team and how you contributed to its success”.

Completing a dissertation or long piece of work can be impressive to employers if you describe how you did it and how it will benefit the company. For example, organising your time effectively and conducting your own research can be great skills for most roles; now all you need to do is say how you would adapt this to the role you are applying for.

Not having work experience allows you be a little creative with the layout of your CV.
You don’t need to follow templates or a strict chronological order where previous work experience sections usually sit high up on the page. Put the most important information first, as an employer will make a decision if they want to keep reading based on their first impressions of the CV.

“Making the CV relevant to the reader is the key to a successful resume, regardless of your experience”, says Senior Consultant Jonathan Sammons. “If you’ve written a good piece of coursework on a relevant topic, or completed a course or tutorial of your own volition, let the employer know straight away”. If you are applying for a creative role such as a graphic designer, use your CV as a chance to showcase what you can do, and what you can bring to the company.

Don’t be tempted to ramble on in your CV to fill up space – employers would rather read short, snappy points than a long paragraph explaining something that could’ve been condensed. If you’re worried about blank spaces, play around with the format and structure to fit everything nicely onto one page.

*This is a collaborative post.
*How to write a CV image from Shutterstock.

This article has 19 comments

  1. carol

    These are some great tips for today’s job market. It is a hard time getting going when you don’t have experience behind you.

  2. Maureen

    Great tips! Writing a great CV really needs some guidance to be able to really put ourselves out there and giving us a chance to hopefully getting picked from many other CVs.

  3. NZ Noob

    Great tips on writing a CV, I know that it can be very time consuming. Last time I did my CV it took ages lol

  4. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Presenting yourself positively on a CV with little work experience can be challenging! You’ve definitely provided some great tips here on how to do it well!

  5. Shell

    I had to look up what a CV was. lol It looks to be the same thing as a resume. In that case, very helpful tips.

  6. Heather

    These are great tips and the good thing about today’s job market is most places are willing to hire someone new for a fraction of the price that the person doing that job the last 15 years has. So employment is promising, but if you are older and have a family and 15 years behind you, its often harder to maintain your title only because companies want to phase you out so they can bring a younger version of you in for less pay. I guess that’s just the pecking order of society these days.

  7. Bonnie @wemake7

    I too was a little confused as to what a CV meant. Thank you for sharing your post. I have learned a lot.

  8. Adriana

    These are such great tips!! I’ll definitely need to refer back to this a lot – very helpful and informative!!
    xo Adriana

  9. Liz Mays

    Not knowing where to start is half the battle. I’m so glad you laid some tips out for everyone here.

  10. Michelle

    I sure wish I had read this post when I was looking for teaching jobs about ten years ago. I will share this with my daughter who will need a CV when she is looking for a new job soon.

  11. Amanda Tempel

    I don’t think I’ve had to write one of these yet, but these sound like awesome tips, and I’ll be sure to come back when I’m making one.

  12. michele d

    Your post is so helpful for those going into the working marketing. My son will need these tips very soon! Thanks for posting them.

  13. Eileen

    Great tips for creating a CV. Wish that I read this when I was younger. Looking back I had some pretty bad CV’s.

  14. dawn

    you have provided some great tips especially for those with no experience. thanks for the awesome share.

  15. Regan

    Great information. This is perfect for new grads trying to get started in their careers.

  16. kerri

    I haven’t had to write a CV in quite some time and it is amazing as too how much has changed. I know that my sister had just changed job and this seemed to be the most important part next to her interview. It is all about 1st impressions and employers see this first.

  17. jared's mum

    this should be handy for those who are trying to spruce up their CV’s but without any substantial work experience!

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