CV Writing for Students

Your CV contains a brief outline of the key achievements in your life to date.

Now, when you have worked for several years, then your job roles and what you have done in them becomes the core constituent of your CV, the meat around the dressing.

So when you are a student, and your work experience is either non-existent or 'lite' then what can you fill your CV with?

That's instantly the wrong question - a CV should never be filled as that implies that you are putting information down just to complete the empty lines on a sheet of paper. Rather the good CV writing process should be about working out what to leave out rather than what to put in.

At the top of the CV you should put your name in big, bold letters, followed by your contact details: at university you will want to put term-time as well as holiday-time contact details so that the employer can reach you wherever you happen to be.

You will then want to write a short summary of who you are, and the type of job you want: for instance I am a second year undergraduate studying Chemistry at Oxford looking for research roles in the pharmaceutical industry.

As you are at university, then rather than start with job history, you should seriously consider listing your education next, and include your grades for A-level at least. At GCSE given this will be your first job you may decide you wish to put down your GCSE grades; once you enter the world of work this will just become a summary: e.g. 10 passes / 8 A's, 2 B's and so on.

You will need to have some job experience if possible, even if you have just worked at a local restaurant as a waiter for a couple of years or in the supermarket, or doing office admin.

It is a good idea to list a couple of responsibilities that you had during that job and anything 'good' that happens: for instance were you specifically asked to return during the following years holidays? If so this gives an indication that they thought you did well, and hence looks good on the CV.

You will also want to include a little bit about yourself, but try to make this interesting - active pursuits and interests are considered more 'desirable' than 'sitting watching footie on the TV'.

Also any roles at university, or before, of note write down. For instance if you were President of a Club or Society etc at university, worked on the student newspaper and so on then definitely put these down as they all look very good on a CV.

As a student, you will want to keep your CV down to one page, there is plenty of time to expand it to two pages when you enter the world of work, but for now without the long work history to include you should definitely be able to condense all the core information down to the one page.

Finally, don't feel self-conscious writing about yourself, everyone has to do it. And whilst you can present yourself in as positive a light as you wish, don't go overboard and lie on your CV. Just because others may do it, doesn't make it right!

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