A great overview of the key aspects of CV writing  - Undergraduate attending Sian's seminar

Some practical help for finding work experience or your first step on the career ladder

20th May 2013

Next Saturday, 25th, I'll be offering advice on CVs and job search to everyone who can reach Stratford Upon Avon Waterstones. As exam season gets into full swing, the more organised young people are beginning to think about life beyond exams and how to reach their first step on the career ladder or secure some meaningful work experience.  I also know many parents who have been thinking about this too, probably for some time!

 If you can drop in to Stratford Waterstones with a copy of your current CV, regardless of your age or job seeking intentions, I'd be delighted to meet you and offer you some specific advice. I can also sign your personal copy of 'Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less experienced jobseeker' .  If you can't make Stratford Upon Avon this week, then here are my top tips for CV presentation, particularly focusing on the needs of young people, who may not have much work experience to draw on;

1. if you can't find paid work experience, voluntary work  will impress a recruiter even more because it demonstrates enthusiasm and dedication. There are loads of good causes local to you who would be very grateful for just a small regular commitment of your time that will also help you learn all sorts of work friendly habits , such as punctuality, reliability, communication skills, technical skills, customer service, planning and organising skills, etc., etc. 

2. Understand what you have learned from your studies, voluntary or paid work experience or sporting interests/ hobbies. Then you can bring your CV to life, making it more than a list of job titles and dates. Demonstrate for the recruiter the impact of what you have learned and achieved; for example, virtually every sport teaches you how to work as part of a team, resilience under pressure, communication skills, planning and organising and so on. There are exercises in 'Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less-experienced jobseeker' to help you identify what you have learned and structure it in an recruiter-friendly way, for now, the key message is to write down after each job or hobby or experience: "What I learned' and "How I can show that to the recruiter"

3. Accuracy is key for all CVs. Make sure that everything you right is both truthful and correct. If you are not a confident speller, then use Spellchecker, set to UK English, not US English. Show your finished CV to as many people as possible, preferably older than you, to get fresh eyes finding your typos. Consider the appearance and page layout for both screen and paper. Does it look balanced and uncluttered? Choose one font and stick to it, with consistent use of either bold or italic or underlining for headings, not a mixture of all 3. Font size should be no smaller than point 12, to help the recruiter with tired eyes to be in a better mood as they read your CV.  

Even if you are not looking for work right now, I still recommend a visit to Stratford Waterstones as all the staff there are really friendly and helpful about any sort of book you might be interested in! 

See you there, from 11. a.m. till around 2.30, best wishes, Sian 

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