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Four tips for writing a CV when you have limited experience
1. List skills rather than job roles
Once you have read the requirements of the role you are applying for, think about the skills you already have that could help you in the job. These might include skills that you developed while studying or working in a part-time job. Working with peers on educational projects often includes teamwork, leadership and time-management and maintaining any job usually involves organisation (being on time), responsibility and communication skills. Consider which skills you have and which you think will be needed in the job you are applying for. Only including relevant skills will help your CV to look well-suited to the job.
2. Include relevant key words
The person reviewing your CV will be looking for certain key words. These do not just include qualifications and skills – they are also looking for words such as ‘achieved’, ‘motivated’, ‘improved’ and ‘initiated’. If you can think of an example in any setting that shows you achieved something or motivated someone, add it to your CV. These words will stand out and show the employer that you are capable of taking action and finding solutions. When you have limited experience, it is also useful to point out that you are willing to learn.
3. Add some character
CVs are often full of facts, so it is important to also show the reader who you are as a person. Get creative with the format and explain your traits as well as your skills. If you do not quite have the experience the employer is searching for, you could make it up with personality! Recruiters consider more than qualifications – they look at which candidates would fit into the work environment, so showing who you are could really help.
4. Ask someone to read it
It is always good practice to get someone you know to look over your work, and this is especially important when it comes to a CV. Even a small typo could influence the employer’s decision about your application. As well as checking for errors, a family member, friend or former co-worker might be able to suggest skills or experiences that you have forgotten to add. Seeking advice and a different perspective can be valuable, and adding a forgotten experience could give you a better chance at getting the job.
Showing people what you can do and who you are rather than drawing attention to limited experience will ultimately help your CV to attract more attention. So, think about including relevant skills, using the right words, adding some personality and getting a second opinion.
Europass is a free online tool that can help you prepare an effective CV. If you are interested in working abroad, a EURES Adviser may also be able to help you improve and tailor your CV. Find out more here. Good luck with your search!
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"Focus on…" articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. They do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Commission.