If you took a whole bunch of photos of yourself you would be able to see that even though they are all different, they are still all uniquely “you”. As you study the pictures you will see yourself with different profiles – a different part of your face showing, a different tilt of your head. You are still the same person but you look different depending on the angle. A School Leaver CV or Personal Profile is a description of you. It isn’t the whole of who you are and everything you ever did, it is just one particular picture of you. It must be a true picture but it can have an angle.
You want to show the reader not only your best side, but the side of you that is most useful to them. When you send a CV, your application is often one of very many. You need to catch your reader’s attention right at the top of the page, by selling them exactly the person they are looking for… who also happens to be a true version (or profile) of you!
As you apply for different jobs you will likely build up several different versions of your CV to suit the positions you are applying for.
The Best School Leaver CV is:
- Easy to read – the poor person in the company you are applying to will likely have upwards of 50 CVs. You have about half a minute to sell yourself.
- To the point – only include information that is relevant to the job you are applying for. No one needs to know you won the Under 12 gymnastics!!!
- Interesting – Think about what the company is looking for. How does your experience, skills or personality match up?
- Specific about achievements – Tell at least one great story. Don’t just say that fishing is your hobby, mention the biggest fish you ever caught and how long it took to land it!
- Unique – what is different about you? Remember, your CV needs to stand out among at least 50 others.
- No longer than 2 pages – and you don’t need a cover page, this is not a school project!
Do some research about the company you are applying to. What sort of people do they employ?
Get the angle right. What can you tell about yourself that will help you get this particular job? Here are some skills employers might look for that have nothing to do with your education and everything to do with who you are. If you have ever volunteered or had any job then you will have some of these workplace skills.
- communication skills
- customer service skills – in person, on the phone, and online
- ability to work well in a team
- literacy and numeracy skills
- confidence learning about and using computers and technology
- planning and organisational skills
- initiative and a can-do attitude
- problem-solving skills
Write your CV up on a computer and SAVE it electronically (email it to yourself or put it on a flash drive). This way you can review it later and make changes without having to rewrite the whole thing. Read through your CV carefully. Pay attention to the little colored lines that show up spelling and grammar mistakes. If you don’t know how to fix them, ask someone to help you.
ASK your referees if they mind being included in your CV. If you are applying for a particular job or bursary, let your referees know so that they are not caught off-guard when your potential new boss phones them for a reference.
Here is a template to get you started! To download the template, click on file on the top left of the page and select “download”. Time to make yourself shine!