[This is #1 of Get Your Dream Job Series: Things To Write on CV]
Because of the lack of experience, even bright and talented individuals usually have to write poor CVs and thus fail to get noticed by the preferred companies. But the trick is that you can showcase your talents and assets with minimum experience in just a one-page CV. All you have to do is just to use your creativity and step into employer’s shoes to understand what kind of employee you are expected to be. I’ve been in those shoes and I will gladly share what employers will be thrilled to find in you.
You have more skills than you think
People are either too boastful or too shy when writing their CVs. Presuming that you don’t know what to write there, you must be too shy then. Create a list of all your skills and talents, even if you think they are not related to the job you are applying for. For example, such qualities as analytical thinking, creative mindset, and unique approaches to solving issues, time-management, and attention to detail are very much appreciated in every worker, regardless of what he/she will do in a company. Make as long list as possible and then delete those which are the least relevant.
Any experience matters
It’s not only paid experience that can describe you as a personality. Add any volunteering jobs you’ve been involved in, like organizing certain events and helping with certain projects. Describe your most remarkable internship programs and your major responsibilities there. An employer wants to see your willingness to stay active, socialize, and develop yourself as a personality. Don’t also forget to add all the foreign languages you speak.
Have your own blog? Then do not hesitate to mention it, or even give a link, unless it’s too personal. Blogging will showcase your creativity, writing skills, ability to structurize information and interact with the readers. Even if you are not applying for a position of a writer, having a blog with regularly added posts will illustrate your time-management skills and dedication to innovative trends.
Write only key information about your education
I know you might be tempted to say a lot about your study only to fill blank space in your CV. But you will have to delete it sooner or later anyway. Add only basic facts about your education. If they want to know more, they will ask you at the interview.
If you attended some special courses, like web design or development classes, don’t forget to mention it as such classes usually give more practical knowledge than traditional education. And, of course, don’t ever hide your achievements as a self-learner. Employers adore candidates who are persistent enough to study new things individually. If you are watching webinars from time to time or reading tutorials on specific topics or are currently learning something new, tell this in your CV. Employers do not expect you to be experts in everything – they need to be sure you are able to learn independently and do it with ease.
Tailoring your CV to a job description
Presuming you apply for a job in one particular niche, you need to study the job requirements carefully. Read through job openings carefully and don’t be scared if their requirements do not match your current skills. Write out those you have vague knowledge about and take a day or two (or preferably more time if you are not in a hurry) to do some research about them. Even basic theoretical knowledge is better than no knowledge at all. Upon analyzing a few job descriptions and doing some research, get down to writing your resume. In your experience section, indicate that you have theoretical knowledge about the required skills, software, or processes and show your interest in them. Employers don’t just need to know your expertise – they are interested how quickly you are going to master the required skills.
HRs are too busy people, they prefer the CVs of those candidates who match their job descriptions the most. If you apply for a few different positions, create a few different CVs. I know that creating one CV still looks scary for you, and creating a few different CVs must sound like a nightmare. However, the job description is your biggest assistant when you are curious what else you can write about. It doesn’t mean you should just copy the requirements and insert them in your CV claiming you can do it all. I mean you have to do an extended research about these requirements and write that you are currently involved in the intense mastering of these skills.
A list of references adds confidence to your potential employers. Pick up a few references who can say good things about you. These do not necessarily have to be your ex-employers. You may take your university professors, internship supervisors or other people you were working with, even as a volunteer. Your potential employer will expect to hear you are the person to rely on and easy to communicate with. Three or four references would be enough.
Formatting and visual look
HRs spend nearly 30 seconds to figure out whether they are going to read your CV or not. It means you don’t have much time to make a good first impression. Create a CV that is going to stand out and look appealing at the very first glance. First of all, don’t create too long CVs as a compensation for your lack of experience. Use bullets and write short summaries for each point. Be concise and specific, even about something really important. Make it possible for HRs to scan your CV and figure out who you are immediately. Why don’t you create a resume in the form of the infographic? It’s a perfect way to show your creative approach and innovative thinking. Of course, you will need at least basic design skills, but you will then be able to add one more skill to your list.
Still uncertain what to write in your CV? Think again. There are so many worthy things to mention – just make sure you don’t include too many of them. Avoid any unimportant details that can make your CV too boring. Remember that employers look for enthusiastic, innovation-driven personalities who are willing and capable to learn new things quickly. The lack of experience shouldn’t be your reason not to apply for your desired jobs, even if they look impossible to get. Go ahead and you’ll see you do have what to write about.