This article will appear in ‘Leaving School’ issue 13

A free guide to study and career options for high school students and graduates

When you want to find any kind of job, you are going to need a CV. A CV is important because it gives an employer information to help them choose the best person for a job, and it helps you stand out from other applicants.

Your CV needs to include your contact details, a short summary of your skills, any work experience you’ve had, and where you are up to with your education. It is also helpful to include a short profile summary.

Tips for the Content of Your CV:

Put your name and contact details clearly at the top. Include a residential address.

Add a short profile of 2-3 sentences explaining a bit about yourself and what you are aiming for in terms of study or career aspirations.

List your skills as bullet points and explain where you have used each skill. Include things like written and oral communication, team work, responsibility, time management, money handling, customer service, computer skills, written & oral communication. These are what employers are looking for in younger employees. You can use experience from being in clubs and teams, as well as any paid or unpaid work you have done. Don’t forget to include the skills that are mentioned in the job advertisement.

List any previous jobs you have had along with the name of who you worked for and what you did.

Include an Education section. Give the year you are in and list the subjects you are studying.

List your outside interests.

List the names and contact details of people who will be referees for you. These can be teachers, sports coaches, family friends, etc. You need people who know you and have worked with you in some way.

A Word About Layout:

  • Use a computer to format your CV clearly, leaving plenty of white space so it doesn’t look cluttered.
  • Choose a font that is easy to read. Use headings for each section and list your skills with bullet points.
  • Make sure all headings line up and the line spacing is the same throughout.
  • When you have finished, ask someone else to proofread it for you before you send it off.

Questions:

 

Is it a good idea to get someone else to write my CV for me?

No. It is easy to tell when someone else has written a CV because the language is generally more formal and sometimes a bit too sophisticated. Sure you can get someone to help you if you are not sure how to say something, but putting your CV together yourself will mean that you know what is in it and you will answer interview questions using the same style and language.

 

Should I include a photo?

As a rule, I generally advise ‘No’. We all like to think that our picture might get us a job, but I think it can introduce the possibility of bias for whatever reason.

 

Should I use colour or make it look more attractive in some way?

The content of your CV is the most important thing. Using a lot of colour and design features can be distracting

Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist

Helping people make good career decisions, no matter the age or stage of their career.

M: +64 21 526 387 E: janet@careerclinic.co.nz

Are you entering the workforce for the first time?

Writing a CV for your first job isn’t all that different to if you have been in the workplace for years. It just takes a bit of lateral thinking to discover what skills you have gained through other activities that can be beneficial to the position you are applying for. Let’s chat and see how I can help you get started.

Janet – 021 526 387

This is the final post in the current CV series. Next up, how to take ownership of your career.

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