Writing a CV at any stage of your career is sometimes a daunting task, but for those who are starting out with little or no work experience, it can seem like a major challenge. So how can young people from military families impress potential employers? The answer is easy, according to Sian Richardson, Founder & Senior Career Consultant at Forces CV & Career Services…
Generally, employers will want to know the answers to three questions: can you do the job?; will you do the job?; and will you fit into the team?
Your CV should be tidy, and easy to read so that information stands out clearly. Start by giving your name, location and contact details.
Open by writing a few lines which describe you and importantly, why you feel you’d be the ideal candidate.
Next, add a section to confirm that you have skills the employer is looking for. These can include things like teamwork, problem solving, communication, customer service, attention to detail, planning and organising, IT literacy, numeracy etc. If you have particular experience in the field of work you’re targeting, add in those role-specific skills too. By virtue of the environment in which they grew up, military kids are exposed to leadership, commitment and hard work from an early age. Resilience and adaptability just go with the territory. You may have been to boarding school or moved frequently, making new friends, adapting to new places, people and ways of doing things. Overcoming these challenges may have enabled you to gain language skills, social skills and flexibility – all great attributes that hiring managers are keen to hear about.
Even if it’s a weekend job or volunteering, it’s a great opportunity to show how you used the skills the employer is looking for. Set your application apart from others by including results you’ve achieved, projects you were involved in or what you did well. Due to the pandemic, you may have missed out on the chance to take part in work experience, but all is not lost! Think about projects you’ve been involved in at school, college, university or at home, how you’ve gained new skills such as online learning and presenting to your class, or things you may have done to help the community.
Include what you do in your spare time; do you belong to a sports team? Have you helped to train junior club members? Do you have a talent for art, engineering, cooking, languages, dance etc? Have you taken part in any productions? Do you belong to a cadet force, scouts or guides and taken part in any activities which have shown your resilience and perseverance? Have you raised funds for charity? All of these things help to show that you’re capable, motivated, team-focused, results-oriented and someone who is committed to doing a good job.
Remember to show off those grades.
Your CV is a living, breathing document so keep it up-to-date as you move on. I wish you all the very best for the exciting career you have in front of you. You are awesome, good luck!