Getting that first interview

How to make your CV stand out when you don’t have much experience

We interview hundreds of young people each year for our Digital Marketing Academy. There are six key things you can do to stand out from the competition when applying for those first career jobs.

It’s difficult at the best of times to get your foot on the career ladder of your choice, but particularly during COVID 19, competition for jobs has dramatically increased. You can really stand out from the competition just by spending a few more minutes on your applications and CVs.

1. CVs do matter

People often don’t give enough thought or time to CVs because they’re considered a bit of a dying breed. In fact, they are still really important because your CV is your first impression. When an employer puts an ad out on Indeed for example, the first thing they see is your CV. How your CV looks and what’s contained within, will inform the employer’s decision as to whether or not you go through to the next stage.

2. Format – keep it simple

In my experience recruiting for our Digital Marketing Academy, one of the first things we see is the CV. We’re looking for a simply laid out CV that is really easy to read. Using fancy fonts can sometimes distract from the content itself and it can make it more difficult to read. As an employer, when you’ve got 80 CVs to read in a couple of days, you need it to be easy. So when you’re writing your CV, think: “Is this going to be simple to read for the employer? Are they going to be able to find the information they need within seconds?”

3. Summary – grab the employer’s attention

A statement at the top of your CV about who you are is one of your key selling points, especially when you may not have much experience. It is the first thing an employer reads and your opportunity to really grab their attention. Don’t just talk about what you’ve done before, talk about the person you are. What drives you? What motivates you? What exactly do you want to do? What career do you want to get into? 

Also, as simple as it may sound, make sure that what you write in that profile summary reflects the job you’re going for. I’ve read CVs for a digital marketing role and the headline summary says: ‘I really want to get a job in politics’. So of course, that’s a no. 

4. Think about where the job could lead

It’s okay to keep tweaking your CV and to have a different version for different types of roles. But be absolutely sure that the role you’re applying for is one you really want. 

In the case of a digital marketing apprentice, we’re looking for somebody that’s really passionate about marketing. Our clients are scale-up businesses, so they are looking for an apprentice who will work their way up within the business to become a marketing manager, get more involved in strategy and then lead a team.

5. Put your passion into practice

Talk about your passion and evidence it. If you have some work experience in the field you’re applying for, that’s great, include it. If you don’t, but you absolutely know it’s the thing you want to get into, then prove it on your CV. 

For example, do some online courses. This shows that you have a real, genuine interest and you’ve been resourceful and completed something to enhance your CV. Go online and research some relevant courses, then get them done. There’s loads of great free stuff out there. 

6. Volunteer and collaborate

This is another way to put your passion into practice. In terms of digital marketing, offer to create a website for your local charity shop or if you have a friend that’s setting up a clothing business, offer to set up a website and put it on your CV as a project. 

It’s not work experience, but it doesn’t matter. It proves to the employer that you have a genuine interest and passion in that field and that will put you on the ‘yes’ pile for an interview. 

Good luck!

If you’re interested in becoming a digital marketing apprentice find out more here

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