How To Write The Perfect C.V With No Experience

For college graduates and young interns taking those first steps into the real world without any prior working experience can be a daunting task. This should not discourage you from going for the job you desire.

Everyone has to start somewhere and by providing a well presented Curriculum vitae you can show a potential employer exactly what you have to offer and why they should hire you.

Summarise Yourself

This is effectively your sales pitch to an employer. Talk about who you are and what you have to offer, since your work experience is limited make sure you emphasise your skills and educational achievements.

In terms of skills try to list any that may be relevant to the job that your are applying for. Displaying the right attitude and listing appropriate skills may be enough to convince an employer to hire you.

Any Experience Counts

Just because you have never been in previous employment doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have experience in life. If you have ever volunteered for an organisation or a charity make sure to put it in. Maybe you helped coach a children’s sports team or provided a babysitting service.

All of this counts as valid experience and just because they were on a voluntary basis does not mean to that they didn’t help you develop skills that could be used in the future. For example let’s say you helped organise a summer project, you could list leadership and project management as skills you possess.

Make sure to list all relevant experience, even things you may think are irrelevant, you would be surprised how many employers will look at those things.. If you do choose to leave the experience section blank, then try focus on your practical and interpersonal skills instead.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

This is essential. Many people who have little or no previous experience feel the need to exaggerate certain details on their curriculum vitae in order to make it more appealing. This approach will NOT work.

One of the main factors an employer will take into account when assessing a potential candidate is honesty. Always remain honest and open about your work history if any. Claiming to possess skills that you have yet to require will only cause problems for yourself down the line.

Everyone has to start somewhere and a good employer will know that and help the candidate develop their skills from the beginning.  If a candidate has claimed the ability to take on a task that they’re unable to complete to then they may quickly find themselves out of their depth.


Study Plans…

It’s October already and you are into your 5th week of school, whether it be primary or secondary. You by now should have transitioned from the summer vacation back into the routine of secondary school, learning, books, homework and study. Of these the most challenging is homework and study as no one is making you do it, while the former you are obligated to by your parents / guardians and teachers. So, how do you make homework and study somewhat more enjoyable, structured and worthwhile?

By developing a Study Plan!

A study plan is a one page document in a Word or Excel format (in colour) summarising the seven days of the week and up to 15 hours in each day. Each day is divided into the number of hours you need to spend on each part of the most important areas of your life primarily focused on your education. With respect to homework and study, you divide the plan into 45 minute and 15 minute segments, where 45 minutes is the time period for completing homework and doing study and 15 minutes is the time period for taking a break and letting what you have done in the previous 45 minutes ‘sink-in’ and to feel a sense of accomplishment and reward. We do this for every day i.e. Monday to Sunday.

Daunting I realise and appreciate, but this is only for 8-9 months of the year and it will yield and you will reap great benefits by having this type of plan and discipline during your academic years, especially towards the latter part of your secondary education.

Complete the study plan with a specialist or expert or a parent / guardian so as to make it fair and realistic, yet challenging.

And remember, stick to the plan…!

People you know need to know you…

In Ireland and I guess in most countries, who you know can have a significant influence in achieving your career, academic and personal goals and let no one tell you differently. Yes, many, many people achieve success through their own hard work, dedication and effort, but it does help when you have an inside line, some more information on somebody or something or they know somebody or something all leading to you succeeding or at least helping you get there!

We all know the term or word ‘Networking’! You will agree we do not do it enough. We do not make the effort to meet people who have like-minded interests, who work in our area of expertise, who have achieved in what we want to achieve in.

When it comes to securing a job, people that you know need to know your situation:

  • What job you want
  • Who you would like to work for
  • Where you would like to work
  • Your qualifications
  • Your work experiences

The whole point is that you don’t know who the people you know know without meeting them and sharing your situation and needs.

This meeting needless to say should be a formal meeting (in person), almost like a semi-interview pre-arranged by telephone or e-mail. You will arrive with copies of your CV and clarity on exactly what you want. You will never ask them for a job. If they have one and they feel that there could be a fit, they will say it to you. As they speak to you, write everything down professionally. Remember you don’t know who they know or indeed what they need in their business. Network with at least one person per week and watch the transformation in you and the realisation of your wants, need and likes. People you know need to know you…

See it as more than a summer job…!

For many of you second level (over 16’s) and third level students, you are probably working either locally, nationally or internationally and hopefully making some money to fund your summer with some change for the next academic year. I guess many of the jobs that you are in are not what we say ‘your dream job’ and you can’t wait for the summer to be over, while others are enjoying the experience and getting a lot out of it. The latter is what I’d like to focus on in these short few words.

Do see the job as more than a summer job…you:

  • Are working with business owners, managers, supervisors, work colleagues who are sharing their knowledge and experiences with you
  • Are learning new things i.e. life-long learning known and unknown to yourself that will stand to you some time in the future; today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and years from now
  • Don’t know who the people you are working with know in their network and how some day in the future you might need them to help you progress or indeed get a job
  • Need to learn all you can, no matter how boring, do more than expected and you will be rewarded for it
  • Should appreciate that you have a job and are able to perform in it
  • Need to accept that the customer / client is king and whatever they say is right
  • Should enjoy it, as future, more permanent jobs may not be as easy, less-responsible and less-accountable as this

Look beyond into the future, this summer job could be one that gets you that all important college place, that gets you that all important interview, that gets you that all important job offer…enjoy the rest of your summer, whatever you are doing…