Getting your CV into shape can be hard work, with work itself being the hardest part. Every young person trying to get onto the career ladder will have been through the 'you can't get a job without experience, but you can't get experience without a job' cycle and knows how much it sucks.
But don't worry, there are ways around it. You can do things to expand your CV that don't require you to even have a job at all. The best thing? Most of them are way more fun than a job would ever be.
Every employer is on the lookout for people who can demonstrate leadership skills, even if you’re going in for a junior position. Even the most menial of jobs will have situations where you’re given the opportunity to take charge and make decisions, so if you’ve got previous experience of leadership, get it down on your CV.
Leadership can be found in many aspects of life, not just work. Perhaps you were captain of your uni hockey team, or you chaired the LGBT+ society, or you’re a youth leader in your local community centre. Leadership, by definition, makes you stand out, so providing examples of it can only help your application.
2 Teaching English as a Foreign Language
The benefits of TEFL are obvious: you get to live and work abroad, meet new people and taking them on a rewarding journey of learning, but it’s also an excellent thing to have on your CV.
Experience in TEFL shows that you’re smart, you’re not afraid to throw yourself into new situations, you can be trusted with responsibility and you love working with people - qualities any employer will be looking for.
Once you've got your qualification (which takes less time than you might think) then you can teach English all over the word, giving you the opportunity to get some serious travelling under your belt.
Oh, and you could even make a bit of cash while you’re at it. It’s a win-win situation.
Global TEFL can guide you through every step of your teaching journey, starting with your training and accreditation, plus free lifetime job placements to all graduates. Teach English in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe - the world really is your oyster.
3 Community work
Doing good things in your local area never fails to impress employers. The best employees are selfless, dedicated and willing to go the extra mile, and that’s exactly what volunteering your time for your community demonstrates.
There are any number of opportunities to help your community; working with young people, old people, disabled people, animals, environmental issues, homelessness - anywhere people need help, you can find a way to give your time.
4 Public speaking
It takes chutzpah to get up and speak in front of other people, so why not shout about it? The ability to articulate yourself clearly and confidently is a valuable and surprisingly rare skill, so if you have experience of public speaking - whether that’s as part of a debating society, making presentations and speeches, or even running a pub quiz - make sure you put it down on your CV.
Public speaking is hard, so if you can show that you’ve done it before, you’re already ahead of most of the other candidates. If you’re working in sales, you need to convince customers to buy from you - that’s public speaking. If you’re in a creative industry, you need to convince clients to go for your pitch, not the other guy’s - that’s public speaking. It’s an invaluable skill.
So if a few quid changes hands, maybe that makes tutoring a kind of work experience, but it’s a very different kind of work experience. Tutoring is more than teaching, it’s about investing in an individual and trying to develop them personally. It demonstrates that you have an in-depth knowledge of a subject and can transfer that knowledge to someone else.
Tutoring also shows patience, dedication and a willingness to work closely with others. Even if you’re giving someone a few guitar lessons here and there, you can chalk that up as ‘music tuition’. Bit cheeky, but you’ve always got to be a little cheeky on your CV.
Every other week there seems to be a new campaign encouraging young people to learn to code, and there’s a good reason for it. Knowing how to code will simply give you an advantage over people who can’t, because it’s the future. Soon the robots will come and take all our jobs, but if you can code, you can keep them at bay. Sort of.
You don’t have to go to uni to study computer science to become a coding whizz, though. Sites like Codecademy offer free courses and guidance to build your own sites and applications; then you can use the things you made to prove you can do it - no qualifications necessary.
7 Writing and blogging
We will add a slight caveat to this: you need to be objectively good at writing and blogging to make it worth putting this down. No one’s really going to care about your pokey little blog with three entries, two of which are about how bored you are. However, if you held a position at your student newspaper or have blogged for publications about things relevant to your career, you should definitely put them down.
Employers love creativity, or at least they try to convince themselves that they love creativity. Showing that you’re more than a pencil pusher, that you have personality and can think for yourself, makes your 2D CV into a 3D person. It shows that you have passion, flair and originality, which is miles better than just saying you have those qualities.