By Kibet Tobias
Truth is, writing a professional CV for the first time is a challenge to most of us? How do you sell yourself to the hiring manager, when you don’t have any experience in your targeted field?
If you just graduated and want to apply for your first job, these are some useful ways on how to write a CV to highlight your strengths and qualifications which will make you the ideal candidate for the position you are applying for.
To get started, it is advisable to include your casual jobs. Remember the way you present yourself, your skills, and your assets to a hiring manager begin with a strong resume.
How To Write A CV When You Have No Work Experience
1. Start with a personal statement
This will be the very first thing any hiring manager will read, so getting it right is key. Keep it as short and simple as possible.
Start by introducing yourself with your education level and a top skill or two (“I am a hardworking and self-motivated recent graduate”). You’ll go into more detail later, so only add in your degree subject or university if you feel it’s particularly impressive or relevant to the role you’re applying for.
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2. Identify your most impressive qualities
The first thing here is to make a list of all the things you’re good at, regardless of whether they’re professional qualities or not. Then, match each item on your list to one (or more!) of the top skills employers look for.
Have a look at the job description and try to find the skills and qualifications they are looking for and include these in your summary.
As you have no or very limited work experience, it is highly important that you lead with what you do have. Always start with your most recent qualifications and then in descending chronological order.
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3. List skills rather than roles
Most CVs begin by listing the candidate’s most recent employments, but for this case you haven’t worked before or have only worked in unrelated industries. Hence, it’s much better to start your CV with a list of skills you’ve acquired. Employers will see them as much more interesting and relevant.
Start by mining your life experience and academic achievements to show that you’ll be an asset to the company, despite the fact that you don’t have any related job titles to show off at this stage in your career.
Take the skills you have, and show how they translate into success where you choose to apply them. Include volunteer experience, school achievements, sports, and clubs and organizations you belong to.
If you can do something which could be useful in the workplace, put it in. Especially applicable are computer programs you can use and languages you can speak; you don’t have to be fluent for it to be useful, but don’t lie about your ability.
4. Don’t lie
If you’ve been job searching for a long time, and not getting any job offer, it is tempting you might stretch the truth. However, lying on your resume is always a bad idea.
You might make it through this round of interviews and even get the job, but you won’t be able to deliver on the promises your resume offered.
Remember you will be probably fired if caught. It’s likely to come back to bite you. We have several cases of successful people whose careers were discontinued because of a falsified education credentials. So don’t be one of them!
It’s always important to get the facts straight. If you’re not honest, it’s going to be an issue for potential employers if they do background check.
5. Proofread Your CV
Nothing is less persuasive than a resume full of typos and inconsistencies. Have a trusted friend or family member proofread your resume before you submit it.
Typos and spelling errors on your resume can quickly undermine your chances of getting the job. Luckily, catching errors and improving your resume is easy to do when you know how to edit and proofread.
Proofreading requires time and concentration; set aside at least an hour to complete your review and find a quiet place without distraction.
You can perfectly proofread your resume using a printed copy rather than relying on a screen. Our brains don’t read words on computers, cell phones, or other screens as deeply or with as much detail.
With all these said and read, make it your habit to build a perfect professional CV by practicing them.
Happy job hunting!
The writer is a Communication Officer & Professional CV Writer at Jobs Kenya Network.