Exciting and terrifying in equal measure, the world of work awaits, so make sure your first CV is up to the challenge
The days of school books, morning breaks in the playground, and weird-smelling lunches are over… forever! You've got through the education system, whether that's as a 16-year-old leaving school, a college student, or a university graduate, and you've come out the other side with some decent qualifications. Congratulations!
But if you thought all those exams and coursework were difficult, think again. It's now that the hard work really begins. It's time to step inside the adult world of work, where, on the negative side, holidays are reduced from 13 weeks a year to four but, on the plus side, you don't have to put your hand up to request a lavatory break!
Once you've got an idea of the type of job you want to apply for, the first thing you need to do is create a CV that's relevant, easy to read and scan, and filled with information that will compel the hiring manager or prospective employer to reach for the phone and dial your number.
So how to make a CV for your first job? It's not going to be easy, but with our guide below, you can rest assured that you'll have a robust idea of how to make a CV for your first job by the end of this article.
What to include when making a CV for your first job
State your name at the top of the CV, in a slightly larger font than the rest of the CV, and put your location, mobile number, email address, and link to your LinkedIn page, if you have one, underneath. There's no need to state the words, “mobile,” “email,” or “address” here, as it's obvious what they all are.
This is a section just underneath your contact details that sums you up by including your qualities and skills. While there might be a limited amount you can say here, you should focus on those soft skills that you've acquired from any walk of life, whether that be school, extracurricular activities, or hobbies. Think deeply about your strengths. Are you amazingly organised? Do you thrive in a team environment? Can you solve IT problems? There'll be plenty once you start concentrating on them, so let them all out and put them all down.
An organised, versatile and dedicated English graduate with a wealth of transferable skills acquired during recent academic achievement and relevant customer-facing work experience. Possesses a keen desire and willingness to learn, along with an eye for detail. Quick to grasp new ideas and concepts while performing well under own initiative. Demonstrates exceptional time management abilities with outstanding punctuality and effective communication.
The chances are you've just left education, so this section should sit near the top of your CV as it's your most recent achievement. List all qualifications achieved, along with grades - if they're above average - plus the name of the educational establishment. Do list that you achieved a first class degree, but not necessarily a 2:2 - though you can still put "honours."
BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology, First Class, Kingston University (2021)
Three A Levels in Biology (B), Chemistry (C), and Physical Education (C), Brighton College (2018)
11 GCSEs including Triple Science, English, and Mathematics, Worthing High School (2016)
Think of any Saturday jobs, university responsibilities, or babysitting for neighbours that you've done. They can all be included, as they show determination, a bit of get up and go, and a willingness to do other things that don't involve scrolling through TikTok 24 / 7. Remember to include your job title, who you did the work for, and the start and end dates.
Oct 2018 - Jun 2021 STUDENT AMBASSADOR - Kingston University
- Undertook a variety of tasks to promote the university both internally and externally
- Capitalised on advanced administrative experience when contacting new undergraduates, answering queries on the enrolment process, and escalating calls to the correct department
- Conducted in-depth research on job opportunities and placements for students on different courses, as well as administrative tasks, such as creating PowerPoint presentations and accurately inputting data
Nov 2016 - Aug 2018 SALES ASSISTANT - WHSmith
- Created a welcoming ambience for shoppers by conversing with them pleasantly to ensure their first and last impression of the shop was favourable
- Demonstrated responsibility and integrity by handling large amounts of cash, as well as undertaking end-of-day cash management and closing the store
- Proactively ensured stock records were updated, and carried out auditing processes
This can include internships, volunteering, relevant courses you've undertaken, or anything else that's worthwhile adding in, but doesn't quite fit in any other section.
Undergraduate Member of the British Pharmacological Society
Volunteered at a Cancer Research shop, Brighton, East Sussex (2019)
Hobbies and Interests
While most professionals tend to shy away from listing hobbies and interests on their CVs, as they take up valuable space, it's perfectly acceptable for you to include these when making a CV for your first job. Keep them relevant to the jobs you're applying for, if possible, and don't include things that everyone does such as, “socialising with friends,” “watching films,” or “listening to music.”
Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award
Grade 7 drums
Playing 5-a-side football for a university team
How can I get my first job with no experience?
It's not easy. But when was anything worthwhile easy? It's not meant to be. You've got to strive to work out how to make a CV for your first job work for you. If you're a school leaver, check out this CV template for a first job to start you off.
It might be tempting to think, “why bother with all of this?” when you could just get AI to write your CV. Surely that's the smart and easy answer.
While AI has a lot of uses, crafting a bespoke CV that tells your story, and yours alone, is not one of them. Plus, recruiters can see right through them and will know that you haven't made the effort. So sit down and take the time to work out how to make a CV for your first job that's clear, concise, and relevant to the job you're applying for.
Still not sure how to make a CV for your first job? Let the professionals help. Compile a first CV and then check its quality with TopCV's free CV review. From there, you can use the advice given to give it a final polish.