Work experience is important when applying for graduate jobs. It is something the school strongly encourages all our students to have; whether it is an internship or placement year with a company the student would like to work for in the future, or working in a bar, volunteering in a shop or temping in an office during the summer. However, some students, due to various reasons, are not able to gain work experience before or during their degree. So what should they do when it comes to writing a CV? The Guardian has written an article which gives some useful tips on writing a CV with no work experience:
Start with Some Research:
If you’re just leaving education and have never worked in a professional environment, it’s unlikely that you will already know what employers look for in an ideal candidate. Get an advantage over competing applicants by researching your target employers and identifying what they value in an employee. Decide on the types of jobs you want to apply for, search through plenty of relevant job adverts and make a list of the requirements that regularly appear. These could be qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels or skills such as communication, organisation or languages. Some adverts for entry-level roles may also value extra-curricular activities. Once you have built a list of essential candidate requirements, you will know exactly what to populate your CV with, giving you a huge advantage.
Draw on non-work related experience
To compensate for your lack of direct work experience, it’s important that you include plenty of detail in all other areas of your CV, to showcase the skills that you can offer an employer. The following key areas will give you plenty of scope to demonstrate your capabilities:
Education: As a school-leaver or recent graduate you should have plenty to write about your education. Use this section to showcase your talents by including plenty of detail around the grades you achieved, the topics you studied, other projects you completed and positions of responsibility you held. Writing about your educational experience comprehensively will allow you to demonstrate workplace skills such as organisation, planning, team work, motivation and meeting competing deadlines.
Interests and hobbies: Although you may think that your hobbies are irrelevant to your job search, they can often make a great addition to a CV. If you have any interests that are pertinent to your job or the role you are applying for (such as an IT candidate applicant who runs a personal website in their spare time) then it’s definitely worth including them to show you skills and dedication in the field. Impressive achievements such as running marathons, organising fundraising events or leading sports teams can prove you have a pro-active attitude and ambitious nature.
Sell yourself with a CV profile
It’s important that you capture the attention of recruiters and employers within the first few seconds of them opening your CV. Failure to do so can result in your CV being skipped over very quickly and forgotten about. Head your CV up with a short profile that summarises your offerings and persuades readers that you are a strong candidate for your target roles. Your profile should detail your level of education and describe all of the relevant skills and knowledge you have in relation to the roles you are applying for. For best results, tailor your CV heavily to match the essential candidate requirements from your earlier research.