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Six ways to boost your CV for career success

Sitting down to write a CV can be a stressful task, especially if it’s your first, but don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be. There are so many different ways you can boost your CV to help you stand out from the crowd and land your dream job. Whether you’re applying for an apprenticeship or looking for a part time job, there are a number of routes which are guaranteed to make you more employable.

First impressions do count, so make your CV a success with these top tips:

1. Work experience

Work experience is a great way to prepare you for the world of employment and the good news is, employers love it! It shows you’re passionate and driven to pursue a career in that industry and gives you the opportunity to ask employees questions about the job role. Gaining work experience will help you to experience your chosen industry first hand. You will gain transferrable skills and learn how you should act appropriately within the workplace.

Work experience is sought after by employers as it demonstrates that you’ve been proactive in your job hunt and have done your homework to make sure it’s the right career path for you. It also helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses which will come in handy when you get through to the interview stages. Remember, employers love to ask the question ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’

2. Youth Employment Programmes

There are lots of Youth Employment Programmes available which help young people to become more employable. It’s all about finding one which is right for you. These programmes are committed to helping you to gain vital skills and experience while building your confidence and resilience so you’re better prepared for adult life. Having the right mindset for employment is vital to your success and that is exactly what these programmes are designed to do - get you career ready!

Here are a few providers of Youth Employments Programmes:

  • NCFE - Helps with your job search, interview skills and employability skills.
  • National Citizen Service (NCS) - Gives you a clearer idea of what you want from your future career through activities.
  • Duke of Edinburgh - Give you the opportunity to explore the great outdoors, help others and gain new skills.

You can apply for a Youth Employment Programme directly with the provider or search for them on a careers or jobs website. Youth Employment Programmes bring together young people to tackle unemployment. They give you the confidence to believe in yourself and support you in reaching your true career aspirations.

3. Extra-curricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities can be extremely beneficial when job hunting. Essentially, they are activities you do outside of the classroom. Participating in extra-curricular activities will show that you’re active and have gained key skills which can’t be taught in the classroom. You’ll develop an understanding of leadership or team work while enhancing your communication skills.

What type of extra-curricular activities you do all depends on what you want to get out of it and which you think you’d find more enjoyable. These type of activities can include:

  • Joining a sports team
  • Arts class
  • Music lessons
  • Academic competitions

Extra-curricular programmes can help you to learn more about yourself while developing your knowledge and impressing potential employers with your interests. They are a great way to spend your free time out of the classroom and can help inspire you to step outside your comfort zone.

4. Gap Year

Taking a gap year is another excellent choice to improve your CV. If you’re a college leaver who is interested in taking a break from education then you’ll want to ensure you do something productive during your gap year, and no, we don’t mean binge watching Netflix all summer. If spent the right way, gap years can make you more in demand to employers. Why? This is because taking a gap year involves making big decisions, financial planning and gives you independence which employers will recognise.

There are three main types of gap years, these include:

  • Volunteering
  • Paid employment
  • Travelling

Gap years can be done abroad or in the UK, it’s about realising your passions and spending a year out to be constructive with your options. They can be highly rewarding and give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and life experiences to ensure you’re better prepared for the world of work.

5. Distance Learning Courses

If the career you’re interested in pursuing needs a particular skill to succeed, then a distance learning course could be just what you need to improve your CV. Perhaps you need to be competent in Photoshop, or learn how to code - there are courses available for this. Showing that you have used your own initiative to source a course that offers opportunities in your chosen career is a sure way to impress employers and will help you to stand out. If you choose to commit to a distance learning course it will also highlight your drive to succeed in the sector related to your course as you have gone the extra mile to become more employable.

6. Get a part time job

Getting a part time job, whether it’s related to your career goals or not, is certain to make you more of an attractive candidate to potential employers. A part time job can help build your confidence and enable you to develop transferable skills which will come in handy with future career opportunities.

Thinking ahead and laying down the foundations for your dream career is essential. Today’s job market is extremely competitive and you need to stand out. Having good grades alone isn’t always enough to become employed and you need to demonstrate exactly why you should get the job through boosting your CV application.

It’s important to remember not to get disheartened if you don’t get the job, instead, take the positives with the negatives and improve! Ask for feedback and land your dream career.

About the author:

Sharon Walpole is Director of Careermap, an online jobs board with a difference, we tell stories to bring vacancies to life for young people and their influencers. I am committed to providing quality up-to-date information about careers and qualifications to help navigate through careers of the future. Careers are no longer a linear path and you cannot know what you do not know. One of my many roles at Careermap is Editor of our range of Careermag publications. I lead on creating content that explores sectors, gives up-to-date labour market information and bust myths all over the place!

Having previously worked with young people as a lecturer and mentor, I have learned first hand the challenges they face. I believe that understanding these challenges is not only crucial for preparing them for the world of work, it is crucial for their wellbeing and mental health.

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