The benefits of working while you study

Part 4 - Enhance your CV

The first term is underway and you have settled into university life, from joining societies and meeting course members to finding the local shop (noodle aisle regularly visited…) and cooking for the first time (burnt food is edible right?). To add to your routine, you may have started thinking about applying for a part-time job, and created drafts of your first CV in preparation. If there’s a growing pile of crumpled paper- balls, don’t be disheartened. It is a unique and sometimes challenging skill in itself to showcase your qualities to an employer in writing – but there are things you can do to make it easier.

Brainstorm

Start by jotting on paper what you are looking for in a part-time position. This can range from learning specific skills such as customer service to searching for jobs in a certain location - this may involve researching public transport that is reliable, cheap and suitable for you. This will help you to focus your job search on what you would like to achieve.

The next step is to brainstorm adjectives that describe your strengths, such as creative, sociable, organised, motivated, enjoys working as a team and excellent time management*. Once you have listed your strengths, start inputting into your personal biography and this will capture the employer’s attention at the start of your CV. To help you get started, learn how you can enhance your writing with our example below:

Before

‘I am a second year undergraduate studying BA (Hons) English Literature at ‘X’ University…’

After

‘As a positive and confident second year undergraduate studying BA (Hons) English Literature at ‘X’ University, I enjoy pursuing opportunities where/ I have proven myself to be/ I am skilled in/ I am determined….’

*To Note: The employer may ask you to provide examples where you have displayed these attributes so be sure to have real-life case studies ready in preparation for the interview stage.

Build on experience

Perhaps you are struggling to complete your CV at this early stage of your life. It is not easy applying for jobs without the necessary experience, but it can be done. Think about the skills you have gained from your education, for example working in a team, using initiative and communicating ideas.

It is also a perfect opportunity to showcase your personal attributes. List any clubs, societies or extracurricular activities you’ve been a part of, and use buzz words to influence the employer to hire you. You may be a football team captain who is proactive, takes charge in situations and works well in a team to win matches.

Buzz words

“Should I submit the same CV for multiple job applications?” That’s pretty lazy, and the employer will know it! Job descriptions hold fantastic buzz words that you can use to enhance your CV (and will certainly attract the attention of the employer). List the buzz words used on a separate piece of paper and start dropping them into your CV content. This will ensure your CV is relevant to the job you are applying for, resulting in a more likely chance of being recognised and invited to an interview.

If you are thinking ‘what is a Buzz word?’, here are a few examples:

  • Proactive
  • Leadership
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to use initiative
  • Creative

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