If you go online and search for help on how to write a CV you will see different views and advice about CV writing. It is not an exact science. However, there are key points that most recruitment professionals agree on. In this brief article, we will focus on 6 top tips that if followed will set you on the correct path to writing a winning student CV.
1) What sections to include on your CV
Writing a CV as a student is different than if you have 20-30 years of career experience. Students tend to have less employment experience and more recent educational experience. Below is how the CV should be structured for a student;
- Contact information (as a header)
- Personal Profile (a brief section about yourself, experience and where you wish to be)
- Education and Qualifications
- Employment experience
- Voluntary experience
- Key Skills
Employment and voluntary experience can be interchanged depending on the relevance to the position being applied for or how much of each you may have. The key is to remember which one will be more relevant to the job you are looking for,
2) How many pages?
As a rule, a UK CV should be around two pages in length. However, if you are a student and don't have a lot of content there is no need to 'fluff it out' to get to two pages. Many excellent student CV's are on one page only. These tend to be more focussed and help recruiters get information at a glance. Therefore two pages is fine if you have the content, otherwise, feel free to reduce to one page.
3) Education and Qualifications
For a student, recent education and qualifications should be high up on the CV. This is recent and often relevant. Where possible focus the content around the position being applied for. For example, if whilst on a course you have demonstrated analytical skills and you are applying for a position where this is relevant then mention it under the course details. Draw upon your education experience and use it to your advantage.
4) Format and style
After your personal profile and education sections, your employment and voluntary experience should be next. This should be in a bullet point format and in reverse chronological order.
Focus the bullet points on definable impacts you have had if possible rather than just listing what you have done. You should be looking to demonstrate soft skills that can be transferred to the position you are applying for. Therefore if you are looking for a customer service role draw the readers attention to where you have demonstrated this in the past. Think about if you were recruiting for the position what you would want to see on the CV.
5) Utilise voluntary experience
If you don't have much or relevant employment experience then voluntary experience is just as valuable. Therefore if you need to, focus the CV around this if it is more relevant. Again, keep in mind the position you are applying for and show how your voluntary experience backs up your application. Look at the skills you have gained and how it can benefit an employer.
Sometimes an 'interests' section is not required for an experienced professional as it does not add value to a CV and takes up keyspace. However, for a student the opposite applies. With less employment experience you can often use this section to advise the reader a bit more about you and how you will be of value to a business. Remember to keep it short and brief though. Be relevant. For example, if you want to apply for a sports journalism position then mention your interest in sport and your achievements. This enriches the content of the CV.
If you follow the above 6 tips then you should be on the correct path to writing a winning student CV. However, don't be afraid to ask for help if required. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org our experienced team of CV writers would be happy to complete a free assessment of your CV and give you some pointers. With practice and over time your CV will then evolve as your experience increases.
This article was written by Chris Pennington, a qualified recruitment and CV writing professional, with close to 20 years of experience relating to developing staff and recruiting for positions within the UK. Chris is also the Founder of Your CV Consultant.
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