Chances are, you’ve spent most of your life either working or studying and so the skills you learn and the experiences you have can also be applied to your first job.
So, if you need some help writing the perfect CV, or just want to get some tips on the types of work experience employers to look for, click here to contact us for advice.
Teamwork and the ability to work collaboratively and effectively are seen as being of increasing importance in contemporary workplaces. Here are some examples of activities to include in your CV to demonstrate the ability to build and develop these skills:
Many candidates will be surprised to learn that many modern-day skills, such as the ability to bounce back from setbacks and learn from past mistakes, aren’t included in the most popular skills to put on your CV. But by taking the time to write down relevant job experience you can demonstrate how you can adapt to different circumstances and respond to challenges, which is considered an important attribute in many organizations.
It’s easy to get bogged down with technical tasks and forget about the practical side of the job when you’re stuck in front of a screen. While it may not be on your CV, this work experience should be recorded in other ways such as where you’ve secured some interesting project experience, how much it’s helped you to secure future work or how it has benefited your career.
This is an important section to include on your CV because some employers are now more concerned about the values you bring to a team.
Although your CV won’t include the actual words, it’s important to mention the organizations you’ve worked for that have values that are broadly shared with the organizations you’re looking to join.
For example, if you’re applying for a job that values diversity, mentioning organizations like Comic Relief and The Prince’s Trust, rather than just highlighting your own organization, is a good way to demonstrate that you share those values.
Most employers want you to consider the effect you can have on a team rather than your own contribution. This is especially true when it comes to team working because employers can often see the effect that individual contributions have on the overall team.
To demonstrate how you’ve adapted to different situations in this area, you could use examples of a time when you’ve worked with different members of the team or how you’ve used your individual skills to develop other colleagues.
Often this type of work will involve working independently, something that is rarely displayed in a CV, as this tends to look weak. However, if you list a group project as an example of your collaborative ability, you can demonstrate how you’ve used your skills to benefit others in a team.
Vitally, if you’re applying for a role where you need to get on with others, the interview panel will be much more interested in how you’ve successfully collaborated with colleagues and different personalities.
Whether you’re the team leader of a team of builders or the president of a university, the skills you learn from doing this type of work help to develop your ability to solve problems, manage people and prioritize work.
For example, this could be when you’ve been responsible for sourcing, planning, and providing the resources for a project. While this may not directly relate to the job you’re applying for, it’s a good indicator of how you can effectively solve problems.
Someone who has good interpersonal skills and good leadership abilities is likely to have worked as an individual and then as part of a team. This is an excellent example of how to build a CV that is filled with skills that employers look for.
By far the most important section on your CV, this section should contain three key areas, leadership, integrity, and communication.
It’s essential to choose the right examples to use in each of these areas. If you’re looking to be a good leader, for example, try highlighting some examples where you’ve worked to build teams or promote teamwork, rather than giving a monologue.
Although some examples can be seen as part of a general leadership CV, those that are specific to a role or field are much more likely to get noticed.
Include examples of leadership work from a recent job or other work experience.
While most employers are looking for you to be an expert in your particular field, employers are also likely to notice the way you interact with others. If you want to be a good communicator, highlight your talents in this area using real examples rather than relying on theoretical examples.
They’ll be able to see how well you communicate as well as recognize what areas you need to improve in.
Employers often ask potential employees to make a moral judgment about themselves. By including details about recent examples of poor judgment or dishonest behavior in your CV, you’ll give a more personal insight into your approach to the job and yourself as an individual.
For example, if you were suspended from your last job or advised to avoid contact with a client, that could be seen as a sign of dishonesty. So be honest in your CV.
Great Spelling and Grammar
If you want to be a successful candidate for a graduate role, ensure that your writing is grammatically sound and has appropriate grammar. Practice writing emails, and write copy for promotional material.
Are you sure the letters you’ve written are capitalized and that you’re not using hyphens where they don’t belong? Never send a professional email or get an immediate reply to a personal one without proofreading and editing first.
Just as strong personal hygiene is important, so too is self-confidence. Asking for help or support when required is not a sign of weakness, and it will demonstrate the confidence and expertise that employers are seeking.
You can also demonstrate your confidence by saying ‘I’m confident I can do this job’. Confidence is attractive in any profession.
While not everyone will appreciate being blunt and direct, employers will prefer a candidate who tells them exactly what they want to hear, rather than going on endless rants.
‘I have been asked to apply for the position. I want to work on this project, and this is my salary/benefits package. I am unable to send a picture as I am a student and I am not signed up to social media.’
A Neutral Tone
Avoid making any major, negative statements such as ‘I’m not sure if this job is for me’. Just remember that this is likely to be seen as a negative, so try and say something that is neutral.
Pay attention to the actions you’re taking towards your career development. Don’t just expect that the work experience you have done will automatically lead to a position, but try to add value to the role you’re applying for.
Think about what you are doing to prepare yourself for the role. This might be attending an industry event or attending work experience. Ask yourself, ‘What am I doing to develop my career?’
The balance between family life and work life is of utmost importance. You have a right to be fully dedicated to your career, and your career shouldn’t compromise your family life. This means managing your time efficiently, and not getting caught up in distractions such as social media or mobile phones.
Don’t Be a Atereotypical Graduate
Get an idea of what the average graduate does and focus your career ambitions and your resumé on that, rather than striving to be the perfect candidate for a particular job or to be the only graduate in the role.
Be aware of what the job description for the role says, but don’t expect it to change as soon as you arrive for your interview.
‘I want to be the best interviewer/work experience placements that the company has ever seen. To do that, I need to give a good interview and showcase my work experience in front of the company and interview panel. It is the only way I am going to stand a chance.’
If you are seeking a full-time graduate role, but you do hold a part-time qualification, it’s important to demonstrate your commitment to your course and to having a full-time career.
If you are considering going part-time, then you should also think about the effect this may have on your job application. Employers are always looking for talent, but they aren’t always prepared to take on part-time employees who aren’t fully committed.
Having a work experience placement at a company that you’re interested in can be a great way to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary skills. The best way to put together a compelling work experience placement is to share your own stories.
‘I’ve worked in this sector for the past five years, and have gained five years of work experience through this position. It is a two-year part-time placement and I have been extremely successful.
I know the ins and outs of the job, and can speak about my experience without fear of misrepresentation.’
If you’re looking for a graduate position, then don’t feel like you have to apply full-time.
‘I am a part-time graduate. If there’s a graduate position available, then I would apply, but I don’t want to be looked upon as a professional only interested in working on the full-time graduate program.
I will still apply for graduate vacancies that interest me, but I would also apply for any part-time vacancies that I’m interested in.’
Be aware of the negative effects that come with any negative comments in your cover letter. While it is important to be passionate about your work, it is crucial to maintain professionalism.
‘As a part-time graduate, it would be nice if I could bring something to the table, but I do not want to come across as being pushy and arrogant with my CV, especially since I will probably be the only part-time graduate in the group.’
Why do You Want to Work for This Company?
Make sure you are able to demonstrate why this particular company is the perfect fit for you, and why you would be a perfect fit for the role.
‘I’ve been working for a major healthcare provider for the past three years, and have gained valuable experience through this role. I would really like to be able to use my skill set to help the organization in its future plans and contribute to its growth.’
Do a Little Digging
Talk to the company’s recruitment team before you apply and ask them questions about what they are looking for, and why they are hiring.
‘I have researched the company and have been in touch with them for the past three months. I have also read all of their recruitment material and can now showcase my abilities and commitment to the role to make the best application possible.’
Some universities offer full-time postgraduate entry points, meaning that if you are already a qualified student, then you can easily switch and become a graduate. The best part about being a part-time graduate is that you can easily take advantage of this opportunity.
Recruitment is a very tricky process, so the sooner you start the application process, the better. Having a good CV is crucial, as is having good questions to answer in the application.
‘It is very important to have the right questions prepared for the interview and do your research on the company beforehand to make a great impression.’