How do you write a compelling CV to get your first job when you don’t even have any work experience?
If you’re sitting before your laptop and thinking of this, we are here to help you. Writing your first-ever CV can be a difficult task, but with the right examples, you can craft the perfect first-time CV for yourself.
Read through this article to find out the most important details of a first-time CV and also get free templates to write yours!
Here are some graduate jobs in South Africa you can apply for.
A CV which is an acronym for the word Curriculum Vitae is a document that contains the necessary personal and professional information about a person, that a recruiter requires to decide between hiring him or not. It includes professional information like skill, educational background, experiences, abilities and competencies. The personal information included would also be name, contact details and any other personal interests.
Statistics have shown that 80% of CV owners do not get shortlisted for an interview. So, you must do your best to grab the recruiter’s attention with your CV within the first 6 seconds of him coming across your CV.
When writing a first-time CV, different segments of the CV are very important and must be paid attention to. Here is a list of the most important parts of a first-time CV.
For an entry-level CV, you must begin with your contact details when writing your CV. This is practically the only way the recruiter can contact you, and get to know you. Also, while writing your contact details, be sure to be professional about it. Your contact details should contain the following
Mobile phone number
Having an objective on your CV for an entry-level role is an opportunity to sell yourself to any recruiter. Since you do not have any work experience, your CV objective helps you express your excitement and plans for the future, all of which make you a good candidate worth taking a shot at. Also, while writing your objective, you must highlight the soft skills you possess that distinguish you from other candidates.
As an entry-level candidate, you would not be expected to have full-time work experience. However, replacing a normal work experience with volunteering or internship experiences puts you in a good position to land a great job. Nothing screams competence for a first-time job seeker as having internship or volunteering experiences on their CV. as you include this segment, be sure to highlight the roles you played, the results you achieved and the skills that enabled you to carry out your responsibilities.
Here, you include your educational background for the recruiter to get more insight into you. In this section, only include your CGPA if it’s within a range of 4.0-5.0. Also, if you do not have volunteering experience, you write your education after your CV objective.
With your skills and competencies, you would most likely have to focus on your soft skills relevant to the job you are applying for. These skills will enable you to be a good fit before the recruiter. Also, if there are hard skills you possess due to volunteering and internships, then you can be sure to include them too.
Some volunteers, interns and even students win several awards or get some certifications during their stay. If you have such awards and certifications, then it would be okay to include them. It shows the recruiter how resourceful you are and your ability to reach goals and stand out.
One of the things that can give you an edge as an entry-level candidate is to have an interesting personality and show it. Including intelligent personal interests in your CV shows the recruiter how interesting you are.
If you are going to nail your first CV for a job, there are certain things you have to keep in mind.
The most important thing about a first-time CV is communicating your passion and interests to the recruiter. It's your first job, and actually, your to-be first work experience. Use your CV Objective to communicate your passion and willingness to learn and grow at the job.
For an entry-level role, your experience is not the centre of concentration because ideally, you may not have any. However, to get a good first-time CV, concentrate on highlighting the soft skills you have and how they are relevant to the job. Your soft skills are your first shot at landing a role.
While writing your CV, don’t include soft skills that are not relevant to roles when applying for them. This is why you shouldn't use a one-size-fits-all CV for applications, especially if you're applying for jobs across different fields. Always tailor your CV to the job roles. This will enable you to use the relevant keywords the recruiter used in the job opening and not just generic words.
Use your interests well by writing interests that are relevant to the job. Make yourself interesting to the employer with your interests.
Include any training you may have done outside college. With this, you communicate how resourceful you are and your willingness to learn and grow.
When sending in your CV, use a professional email. Do not use slang or pet names for your email. It is better to use your full name for your email address.
For your first-time CV, try not to exceed one page. The recruiter knows it is an entry-level role and may not have much time to read through a CV beyond a page. As much as you can, keep it short and simple.
Most recruiters use tracking systems to collate CVs. While writing your CV, be sure to use the relevant keywords that will enable you to beat any applicant tracking system so your CV can be parsed successfully.
Avoid grammatical errors in your CV. Proofread your CV carefully to ensure you do not have grammatical errors in it.
Be consistent on your CV. Avoid using different fonts, or font sizes while writing your CV.
Use simple bullets to neatly highlight your points and also be consistent with it. Complex bullets will make it difficult for your CV to be parsed if a tracking system is being used by the recruiter.
You can use our CV Builder to get your CV ready from scratch.
Here are some templates you can use for an entry-level role when you come across them.
This is what an internship CV could look like. You can download this Word template to craft your CV.
If you are looking to apply for an engineering internship role, this is what it looks like and a Word template you can use.
This is an entry-level administrative role resume available for you to use.
For an entry-level call centre resume, this template works just fine and you can tailor it for your next job application.
This is what an entry-level teaching CV looks like. Download this template and use it for your next application.
If you need an entry-level nursing CV template, you can use this one and tailor it to your specific use.
For an entry-level HR intern role, this template works well and you can download it for your application.
These are some of the CVs you can use to get hired for your first job. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section and we’d be sure to attend to them.