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How to lay the foundation for a great CV

Whether you've just finished secondary school or whether you're completing your tertiary education, you know your future is in your hands. You also know something else should be in your hands - your CV. And this year, more than ever, a good CV is going to help you stand out from the crowd.

What if you haven’t written or updated that glowing personal record yet? No problem! This article will help you prepare positive statements about yourself which you can then work into your CV. You can then ask for guidance from your friendly Studiosity Specialists. Whether you need to write your CV from scratch or whether you'd like to polish up that ever-evolving document, this article can give you some pointers.

A great place to start is your personal summary:

To start with, whether you are writing your CV for the first time, or whether you are reviewing your CV, remember that one of the first items that an employer will see is your personal summary. Your personal summary should be similar to a 30-second elevator pitch (a short, convincing statement telling a potential employer why they should hire you). Writing your personal summary will also prepare you for the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” interview question.

How do you write a 30-second personal summary, do I hear you say? Here are three steps that can help you create a powerful and impactful personal summary.

Step 1: Take a moment to reflect

Before you write your personal summary, take a moment to step back. Consider who you are, your personal qualities, values and goals. Some career courses suggest that you create a coat of arms with words and pictures representing who you are. Here is an example of a coat of arms used to create self-awareness.

Coat of armsImage: Coat of Arms for self awareness. 

You can use each section in the Coat of Arms to think about your strengths, values, talents and interests . Some ideas could be: positive words that describe you; goals that you have achieved; your hobbies and interests, educational achievements, goals that you'd like to achieve. 

Another exercise is to describe yourself in five words and then to create sentences using those words. You can also use the sentence starters “I am, I have, I can” to spark your creativity. For example, “I am a good student. I have two years experience working in the education industry. I can teach English and Math to high school students.” These are great exercises to help you focus on what you truly want, your positive traits, and what you can contribute to an organisation.

Step 2: Begin with the end in mind

Consider your short and long-term objectives. Right now, you may be wanting to apply for holiday work, an internship or your first big break in the working world. Think about the life you want, your personal goals and the steps along the way to achieve them. You may decide that you’d like holiday work that aligns with your ultimate career goals. However, if you feel pulled in a direction that you didn’t think you’d be interested in, perhaps consider giving it a try. Where you want to end up will affect whom you write your CV for and what you write in your CV.

Girl holding her resume

Step 3: Create power statements

After the self-evaluation exercises, you can now look for examples in your life that connect your stellar personal characteristics to employable qualities, specific to your industry. These statements are different to your personal summary because they focus on how you can add value to an industry or organisation.

This is your chance to tell the world about your finest moments! Don't worry, if you've just graduated from high school, and you don't think you have much to offer - think again! You have youth, energy and a fresh mind to offer! Besides, consider everything you've been doing on this planet since you arrived here! Okay, so your employer doesn't want to know how you walked at eight months old or scored two goals in the junior soccer league - so, don't include that! But consider your life experiences, your natural aptitudes, values and personal qualities. Have you ever babysat, helped out at the family business, a charitable organisation, run a lemonade stand (or the digital equivalent), maintained a blog, YouTube channel or similar? Have you shown yourself to be responsible, outgoing or dedicated in a particular situation? Do your friends remark how loyal, adventurous or diplomatic you are? What organisations were you involved in at school or university?

After you have found these examples, write them down in the form of a power statement. Power statements are short, concise statements linking personal qualities with demonstrable examples. For instance, ‘I developed leadership qualities when I lead the student representative council/Rotary club at high school” or ‘I increased sales by 50% during my internship at [name of the company] and I was voted best employee of the month”. Power statements take practise, but they pack a punch and create a powerful impression.

Girl looking up with laptop

Working diligently on laying the foundation for your CV will pay off in getting the position that is best suited to you and your unique gifts. This aligning of your natural passions and aptitude with hard work and focus is a recipe for personal satisfaction and success in your career.

And of course, Studiosity is here to help; we have specialists are trained specifically in CV writing. When you're writing up your CV, bring your draft online and go over it with one of our friendly specialists. We'd love to assist you. 

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