10 Tips For Your First Professional CV

Daniel Kilmister


21 December 2023

Everyone at one point or another has had to tackle the same problem: How can I create a compelling CV when I don't have any experience? The pressure is real, especially when it seems like the job market demands a seemingly impossible level of experience and skills even from its youngest candidates. But rest assured, there's a way to craft a stellar CV, even if you're just starting out.

1. Think Outside the 9-5 Box:

Remember, every experience is valid. Did you babysit the neighbour's kids? Manage your school's football team? Organise a charity event? These are all real-world responsibilities that show potential employers your work ethic, reliability, and commitment to getting things done.

2. Volunteering is Golden:

Not only does volunteering demonstrate a sense of social responsibility and commitment, but it also offers hands-on experience that can be translated to the working world. Whether it's at a local charity, community event, or school function, volunteering can beef up your CV with valuable experiences.

3. Digital Natives, Use Your Powers

As it happens there are some advantages to being young. One of which is that you're likely a digital wizard, raised in a world brimming with technology. Use this to your advantage. Showcase any tech-related skills you possess, from designing a website for a school project to managing your school club's social media account.

4. Extra Qualifications Make a Difference

Make the most of additional courses, online classes, or workshops in areas you're passionate about. Not only does this show your commitment to personal growth, but it also provides you with credible skills to add to your CV.

5. Don't Underestimate Soft Skills:

As Michael Jordan put it "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships", and while not every career will offer the opportunity to win a shiny trophy at the end of each year, almost everyone will require that you work with other people. So be sure to highlight qualities like communication, problem-solving, and leadership. For instance, if you've been a team leader on a school project or captain of a sports team, it showcases your leadership skills.

6. Personalize Your Profile:

Taking inspiration from platforms like ZEIL, consider adding elements that showcase your unique character. A brief video introduction or a portfolio, for instance, can give potential employers a glimpse into who you are beyond just the words on paper.

7. Network and Tap into Connections:

In today's connected world, sometimes it's about who you know. Engage with peers, teachers, and community members. Join clubs or organisations that align with your career aspirations, allowing you to meet professionals in the industry.

8. Prioritise Layout and Presentation:

A clear, well-structured CV can make a world of difference. Make sure it's easily readable, formatted consistently, and free from errors. 

9. Set a Vision:

Even if you haven't set foot in an official job, it's okay to be ambitious. Outline your career goals and aspirations on your CV. This will show potential employers that you're driven and where you see yourself in the future.

10. Seek Feedback:

Before sending out your CV, have a mentor, teacher, or anyone you trust review it. Feedback can be massively valuable, as it’ll help highlight all the things you didn’t consider at first and overall refine your presentation.

In today's ever-changing job landscape, where Gen Z values like authenticity, diversity, and employee wellbeing are at the forefront, it's essential to communicate not just your qualifications but also your personal values, aspirations, and the things that make you unique. Remember, every experience, no matter how small it may seem, contributes to your journey. Start crafting your CV today and open the doors to endless possibilities tomorrow!