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Thread: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

  1. #1
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    What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    OK, so I'm going to start searching for jobs for the summer, and I'm expected to have a fat CV to turn in. I've looked up plenty of guides online, and they all describe how you should basically describe all previous jobs you've had in chronological order. However, I've been studying all my life and never had a job before. So what does one in my position actually write in a CV? Any advice? Or am I screwed?
    Here is the response of a friend of mine :
    Don't worry. There are plenty of things you can write on a CV without work experience. If you have babysitted, organised a travel itinerary or led a group a activity these all have transferable skills you can attach to your next job application. Just make sure that also include achievements and not just responsibilities. Include a resume summary statement and take stock of achievements and responsibilities. There's no harm focusing on your education and skills and by all means include any internships. These resumes are awesome to guide you on the right path: https://www.mintresume.com/resume-examples
    Last edited by joshuax12; March 23rd, 2020 at 12:31 PM.

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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    No newspaper route, busboy, fast food, dishwasher, coaching or any other experience where you showed you could be trusted, showed up, and had responsibilities? No summer job at the local water park, lifeguard, anything?

    Lacking that, you've better have a 4.0 GPA. Did you lead a team (sports or build) in college? Boy Scout/Eagle? Any scholarships?

    You knew this day was coming, but didn't prepare by doing something outside school work? To me, as a hiring manager, that speaks very loudly.

    Read that a few new-age companies are all about standard test scores.

    What you can highlight would depend on the industry/job position being targeted.
    The CV for a software job is different than a CV for a hotel management job.
    Last edited by TheFu; March 18th, 2020 at 02:58 PM.

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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    Student government?

    What follows is not meant to discourage you. It is to encourage you. All of us have been where you are, all of us have felt helpless and hopeless. All of us have been frustrated and depressed by job searches. The point is that people do get jobs in the end. But you have to be willing to wear out your shoes and mop your brow until that happens.

    The best thing you can do in your CV/résumé is to tell the truth, as meager as your experience may be. Put the best face on things, of course. But if you inflate your résumé or misrepresent yourself you will be found out -- which may lead to dismissal and an even more difficult job search thereafter. A "fat" CV that is nothing but hot air is far more damaging than a thin CV that reflects the truth.

    Despite what you may have been led to believe, a résumé does not get you a job. Not even close. It gets you considered for a phone interview. That's all. If there is nothing there that interests one hiring manager, then get your résumé in the hands of 100 hiring managers. A thousand. Whatever it takes. Count on one interview per 100 résumés sent at this point in your career. If you have to get 99 NOs to get an interview, knock out the 99 NOs swiftly. Count on 10 to 15 interviews to be considered for a job. Count on 5 times being considered for a position to be offered one. There is no magic to this. It's all numbers and persistence. It's the most important sales job you will ever have, and it takes a LOT of work.

    Remember that you aren't to the point where 5 or 6 targeted résumés will get you an interview with a corporate officer. That happens at my experience level when I am looking for new clients -- about whom I have done a lot of research and whom I approach with specific solutions. That doesn't mean I get a contract. It's only a sales opportunity. And there are many times when I have to look someone in the eye and tell them I honestly don't have what they need. And there are also many times when they say "Don't let the door hit you on the backside when you leave."
    Last edited by QIII; March 18th, 2020 at 03:53 AM.
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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    Everyone that's ever had a job has had a first job.

    Although it's called a curriculum vitae, they aren't actually interested in the story of your life. They just want you to demonstrate the skills that you'll need so that they can put your CV on the interview pile rather than the rejection pile. If they're getting a lot of new graduate applications, then they're going to expect many of them to not have much work experience. If you don't have any employment history that you can put on there then you'll need to find the most employment-like history to demonstrate all the usual stuff like teamwork, trustworthiness, reliability, and what-have-you. Show that you've had responsibilities and managed them well.

    While you're applying for jobs you can volunteer somewhere so that you can start to demonstrate, and practise, being a capable and valuable employee.
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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    I'm listing some volunteer experience in my CV. Like getting old computers running again using Linux, teaching beginners at a local studio, and I can point to lots of written work I have done, both school work and blog posts.


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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    here the grades etc. don't matter much. it's all about previous connections. so the CV in 95% also doesn't matter much. but we still need to do it.

    i always got an interview with mine, sometimes i get a call (rarely) but they usually they would like me to do some work i have no clue about and for small salary (possibly even smaller than i have now). anyway it is indeed a sales opportunity so the first CV should have some extra activities you took. even if they are sports and even if they are not connected to work. they always wanted me to be class president or student representative, but i didn't want to deal with it. so my CV used to be filled with "assistant to" or "vice-" positions.

    i am also quite lazy so first thing i do is i figure out how to do an 8 hours job in 1 or 2 hours while keeping the quality at the same level. but then they always give me some new tasks. laziness is the main drive of progress. if people weren't so lazy we would never have invented the wheel.

    this year they got me a customer that needs so much work that the previous person used up 6 hours/day. i will shrink that to 15 minutes, maybe 30 mins (working with IT on it) and improve customer satisfaction. it's an uphill battle (it's very stresfull doing all the tasks manually) but i am getting there. i don't want to spend 12 hours a day in the office. that's ridiculous, epsecialy when you work for peanuts. also i have better things to do then clicking with the mouse all day.
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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    Like getting old computers running again using Linux .... both school work and blog posts.
    I don't see a basic question answered: what type of job are you seeking? I am presuming it is tech-related, correct?

    When you say blog posts, do you mean your own blog or blogs on someone else's platform? If it's your own, this is a good resource. Outside of Stack Overflow, the latter may not be that impressive (I know someone who secured a job on their S.O. reputation alone, or I wouldn't put that in.)

    What an employer seeks is how you fit into their organization. So let's say you're a C++ developer or some other specific language programmer, for example. They want to see your GitHub repo, examples of your work. In your blog you will show how you think, the problems you've solved, this is all important stuff.

    Old computers is basically a hobby topic, it may or may not be relevant but shows a familiarity with hardware. To give you a view of what's out there (I'm always looking,) there is a huge market for .net, C/C++, front end JS/Node/Angular, Java, and surprisingly MS server apps. A lot of API integration jobs - SalesForce, etc. What it seems most companies seek right now are young hungry minds that are unformed and not set in their ways, programmers and developers they can get rather cheaply and mold them into what they need in their organization. It is entirely possible that is you.

    Where you look is also very important. In one very famous recruiting site I frequent there are requests from some companies for college graduates only, for the very reasons I mentioned above. Dig around the recruiting sites and look at some of their offerings, and before applying craft a cover letter specific to the company as to why you would be a good fit. Don't use a form letter, make it specific - research the company, understand how they work and their philosophies, then write the letter as if you are sitting in the first interview. Keep it short but hit hard.

    As a very, very last resort, you can also look at intern positions. Preferably paid, but a lot of them aren't. If you have the financial means to get through an unpaid internship, it's a good way to get in the door and see how the industry works, and learn from experienced developers/techs. If you need to pay rent and eat, seek only paid internships.

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    Last edited by sdsurfer; March 18th, 2020 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Typos, typos, typos!

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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    Also wanted to add:

    Treat your job search as a job -- because for now it IS your job.
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  9. #9
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    Re: What to write in a CV if you've never had a job before?

    Quote Originally Posted by sdsurfer View Post
    I don't see a basic question answered: what type of job are you seeking? I am presuming it is tech-related, correct?
    Your questions should be directed at the OP, not me. I'm just a student, not "in the market" really. MY CV was for the after-school job.


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