I don’t mind admitting that last week’s CV workshop was a bit scary.
Scary? Really, Sherry? But surely you do this all the time.
And yes I do. But this time it was a CV workshop in a local school for a class of 16 year olds. It always feels very different.
I worry about being ‘too down’ with the kids, not being ‘hip’ enough or not getting their interest from the start.
My husband works with teenagers ALL the time.
So I asked him how he’d start the workshop. He suggested using CVs of celebrities.
I gave out worksheets with a series of mini celebrity CVs to see if they could guess who from limited details i.e. year of birth, place of birth, education and early career.
Can you work them out?
I followed up with a second worksheet giving more information on awards and career highlights.
It worked brilliantly. I picked people like NikkieTutorials, Stormzy, Zendaya and Benedict Cumberbatch. Just to be clear, I am NOT down with the kids. I got my teenage daughters to help with WHO to pick.
CV basics to get you on the YES pile
Then I covered the basics for writing a CV that gets you on the YES pile for interview.
These basics are pretty much the same whether you’re a teenager looking for your first job, a mum going back to work after a career break, or you’re making that next career move. That’s why I’m sharing them with you today.
First though remember that the whole purpose of the CV is to get you on the YES pile so that you get a job interview.
Because guess what … you’ve only got 8.8 seconds to impress and get on the YES pile.
So you need to think about your CV from the potential employer or recruiter perspective. What are they looking for? What skills do they require? What will help you to stand out?
CV Layout – 2 pages. Clean and uncluttered, lots of white space. This is a guideline, not a black and white rule. Depending on the length and complexity of your career, 3 or 4 pages might be OK too.
Personal details – name, telephone and email (that’s all you need).
Personal statement – is the most important item on your CV. You need to tailor it for EVERY role. Read the job description and the person specification and make sure you reflect the job requirements in your personal statement (and throughout your CV).
Showcase WHO you are, WHAT you do and HOW you do it, i.e. the type of results you get.
Skills – when you’re looking for work aged 16, you’ve got less work experience, so it’s essential to showcase your best skills. If you’re looking for a technical role, you might want to specifically list your technical skills. Otherwise the skills section is not essential.
Employment history – for teenagers, it’s about their work experience, temporary jobs or volunteering and demonstrating the skills acquired.
For example teenagers might have taken on a Sports Leadership role or volunteered in a local charity shop.
What achievements can you talk about? What can you quantify?
For example a teenager may have worked as part of a team to fundraise for a local charity.
Or perhaps you’ve set up a women’s network from scratch and built membership from 0 to 300.
Education – less relevant the older you get but essential for teenagers. Include your mock grades or predicted grades if you’ve not yet done your exams. Start with English and Maths because that’s what employers want to see most.
Hobbies & interests – only include if relevant to the role and avoid generic ‘going to the cinema’ or ‘reading’.
However if your hobby gives you an opportunity to showcase leadership experience or communication skills, it’s good to include.
How to make sure your CV gets on the YES pile
Although there’s no guarantee you’ll get your CV on the YES pile, get these basics right: layout, personal information, personal statement, skills, employment, education and hobbies, and you’ve got a much better chance to impress in those first 8.8 seconds.
Still not getting the job interviews?
And if you’ve done all of this and still not getting the interview, or if you’re getting lots of interviews but no job offers, let’s talk and explore how I can help get your CV on the YES pile.