Ingredients: A computer, library books, an internet connection, notes about your experiences and skills
Number of people: Just the one, or work in pairs
A CV (curriculum vitae or 'story of my life') is a brief collection of facts about yourself that gives employers or academic institutions a good impression of who you are as a person, what you've done and what you're capable of. It is a vital piece of paper for anyone who is looking for work, or voluntary work, and it can also form a useful basis for filling in UCAS forms and other educational application forms. A good CV will make you stand out from the crowd and give you the edge in finding the kind of opportunities that you want for your future career.
To make your top notch CV follow these simple steps:
1. Collect relevant information
Before you try to shape the perfect CV, it makes sense to first collect the information that you'll need by doing the following:
- Sit down with friends and family who know you well and brainstorm the skills and personality traits that make you special. Don't worry - there's bound to be something!
- Make a list of your interests. Try to avoid things that everyone likes to do such as watching TV or surfing the internet, and focus on things like sports, hobbies, ethical or political activities.
- Jot down any academic qualifications such as GCSEs, AS or A levels and the grades that you've achieved.
- Make a note of any other qualifications that you have achieved such as Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, Arts Awards, sporting certificates, dancing certificates, driving licence etc.
- List any work experience or volunteering experience that you've gained (don't forget your experience as a library volunteer).
- For each paid or voluntary work experience, try to break down the role into the component skills or tasks that were involved. By doing this you're demonstrating how you can fit your skills and experience to a variety of roles.
- Think of two reputable adults who know you well (and like you!) who would be prepared to be your referees. They should ideally be people in positions of authority and not family members - teachers, employers or volunteer co-ordinators are ideal. Check that they're happy for you to put them down as referees on your CV.
- You will also need to include your name, address, email address, telephone number and date of birth but hopefully you know these already!
2. Think about your presentation
Once you've done this, you've got everything you need to make your top notch CV. The next stage is to research the style of CV that you want to create. There are likely to be some useful books on writing CVs in the library and you can also find sample CVs and helpful information online. Make sure that the websites you use are British and from reputable sources. You could start looking on the BBC website or Direct Gov.
Your local Connexions Service may also have useful web resources.
How you present the information you've collected is up to you and is another way that you can show your skills and personality to an employer. Be careful though, your CV should follow some basic rules.
- Keep it to a maximum of 2 sides of A4
- Type your CV using clear fonts and a simple style of presentation
- Break information down into short sections using headings and bullet points
- Use positive language
- Don't include images
Here's one I made earlier
You can find example CVs online and in careers information books and advice centres. The BBC Wales website has good examples of CVs for school leavers and for young job seekers. There is also a good CV for school leavers on the CVrite website.
Photo credit: lxmith used under creative commons license.