Stand-Out CVs

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30 July 2018

By Bronwen

Finding and securing a job is one of the most frustrating experiences. Ultimately and despite what people with rich parents say, it all boils down to luck unless you have tons of connections. If you’re not in the right place at the right time, you may miss opportunities or not have the right interactions. For teenagers and students who want a part-time or summer job, the usual method of reaching out to employers in emailing or handing out CVs. The CV is the employer’s first impression of you so it needs to be pretty good. Many teenagers or students don’t have too many experiences to write down on a CV. A lot of 18-year-olds are fresh out of school and haven’t much to say. However if you’ve made even a small amount of effort over the years, you can make your CV as impressive as someone with tons of experience using these simple tips:

1- Understand what you’re applying for: For example, if you’re applying for a job in Topshop and in Year 10 you did a week of work experience in a small coffee shop. The fact that you may know how to make tea and coffee is of zero interest to the Topshop. What is relevant though is that you gained customer service expertise during the work experience. Mention all of your experiences in the work history section, but in your personal statement, focus on the skills you gained which are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

2- Think about soft skills: Following on from the last point, you need to mention your transferable or ‘soft’ skills. Some examples include:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to work well under pressure

In most jobs, you will learn and have experience using soft skills. If you worked in a pub, you may have learned conflict management, communication and till operation. These are skills that can be transferred to pretty much every situation.

3- Modify your CV: Writing CVs and personal statements is a really boring job but it needs to be done. Don’t hand the same CV out to every employer. A CV for a job at Marks and Spencer should be different from a CV for Wetherspoons. Think about the skills each business will want you to have. Also, try to include a covering letter. The format of a covering letter can be really basic and you could even use a similar template to this:




To Whom it may concern,

I write to apply for the position of _______ in response to the advertisement on _______.  Please find my CV attached.

I have experience working in the __________ sector and as part of this I can/have experience [EXPLAIN SKILLS]. I enjoy working as part of a team and thrive in a _______ environment.

I am a motivated person and I always take pride in my work.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to consider my application.

Yours faithfully,


4- Give it some salt bae: Add a bit of pizzazz. Most employers will have hundreds of CVs to filter through and they don’t want to read a long, boring CV. Keep it simple and choose your words carefully to really sell yourself. With persistence, a killer CV and a bit of luck, you will stand a great chance at finding employment in today’s highly competitive job market.

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