Entry-level CVs are most common amongst those who have recently completed an academic qualification or sector-specific course and wish to enter a particular job sector.
Securing your first job can be a push with a high number of applicants applying per job post. With competition so high, it’s crucial that entry-levels CVs capture the hiring manager’s attention and angle skills and knowledge in an influential way.
Follow our expert advice to learn about the most effective ways of creating an entry-level CV which influences recruiters positively and directs attention to your specialised knowledge.
Tips for writing your entry-level CV
There are mistakes that all jobseekers make frequently, so read our tips and learn how to make your entry-level CV stand out.
Keep it relevant
There’s no use in explaining a bunch of things you know how to do if they aren’t relevant to the type of job. Angle your skills and knowledge at recruiters in a way that demonstrates your capacity to be able to work well and fit the job specification perfectly. Show recruiters originality and a different profile to the one they are used to viewing constantly.
Use entry-level CV templates to view examples and get a better idea of the type of CV content which captures the recruiter’s attention. Consider how to explain your skills and other sections of your CV in a professional and confident tone.
Entry-level CV format
The correct entry-level CV format is vital for being noticed and coming across as a professional, organised applicant. Recruiters can read up to hundreds of CVs for one sole job opening, so make sure your entry-level CV is organised, easy to navigate and understand.
Depending on the type of job and industry, you might want to consider a more imaginative approach to your entry-level CV. For example, many in the design sector will create their own CV to present recruiters with an example of their design abilities.
Each section of your entry-level CV should be marked with a clear title that encompasses the main aim or topic of the CV section. E.g. skills, education, achievements. Whatever you do, do not title your CV with anything other than your name (first name and surname).
Bullet point format is one of the most productive writing formats for professional CVs. They are useful not only because they make information much more digestible and clearer, but also because they save space on your CV, allowing you to include more.
Sections to include in your first CV
All entry-level CVs should endeavour to include the basic sections of a CV:
- Personal details
- Work experience
- Academic background
The above four sections are typically the most included sections on a CV, so you should be sure to include these in your entry-level CV. Other sections which you can include are:
- Profile: personal statement or CV objective
- Hobbies and interests
- Voluntary work
Each individual can choose whichever sections they wish to include in their entry-level CV. Overall, all CV content should be as relevant as possible to the job post. For example, if you are applying for a job working for a charity, as a fundraiser or other similar posts, including the voluntary work section on your CV with any volunteer work you have would be extremely relevant and contribute to strengthening your job application.
CVs for entry-level jobs generally tend to be less complex, as applicants will not have an extensive work history. The following guide to sections of an entry-level CV will explain each section in detail, helping you to understand further how to write each particular section on an entry-level CV, as well as whether it would be a good section for you to include in your own entry-level CV.
As simple as this section may seem, your personal details need to be displayed correctly on a CV to tick the first box on a recruiter’s checklist. Display your personal details efficiently, taking up little space, yet making them clear and ensuring they are well-formatted.
TOP TIP: do not title your CV “curriculum vitae” or “CV”. Use your full name to title your CV.
Under your name, you can also choose to include your graduate title or status. E.g. Business and finance graduate.
Other information to include in this section of your entry-level CV:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Location (optional)
- LinkedIn handle (optional)
Note: it’s not necessary to title this section of your entry-level CV, as personal details always start a CV. Other titles should be given because CV layout often changes, as no CV is laid out in the same way. This can be disorientating for recruiters, hence why it is a good idea to title other sections.
There are two main ways of writing a profile for entry-level CVs in the UK; a personal statement or a CV objective.
You can use either of these to intrigue prospective employers and make yourself stand out. Perhaps there are qualities that you possess which other applicants won’t. If this is the case, make sure you mention them in your personal profile.
Personal statements are common in the UK, though they are not included in all CVs. It can be beneficial to include either a CV objective or a personal statement on your CV, as they give you an opportunity to make a first impression and give recruiters insight into your character.
Entry-level CVs can benefit from a profile on a CV, as it can be a good way to explain why you wish to enter the particular sector or what you have recently studied to help you advance in this sector.
As an entry-level applicant, your education is an influential part of your job application and can demonstrate to recruiters the knowledge that you have acquired whilst studying for your degree or academic course.
List your education above your work experience if you feel that it strengthens your job application more. This is a particularly good idea for those who wish to indicate their current status (i.e. graduated) and is helpful in indicating why you might have unemployment gaps or part-time jobs in your work experience that were short-term.
You can choose whether to include the education or work experience section of your entry-level CV first, depending on the work experience you have. If you have work experience relevant to the position for which you are applying, it is probably better to list your work experience before your education on your entry-level CV.
If you’re worried about taking up lots of space, simply list the highest academic certificate and if you wish to mention your A levels or GCSEs, specify the number of certificates and the grade brackets. E.g. 10 GCSEs grades A-C. This way, it only takes up a line or two of your CV, yet informs recruiters of your academic background.
However, if you wish to explain further your academic background and your CV permits you more space, elaborate on which subjects you studied and allow recruiters to gain more insight into your studies. This is particularly beneficial if they relate to the type of job and will help you to make your entry-level CV more influential.
If you’re reading this CV writing guide to learn more about writing an entry-level CV, then the chances are you might not have much work experience and wish to enter a particular job sector.
That said, those with entry-level CVs are encouraged to include as much work experience that relates to the job post or uses skills of a similar kind. Even if a previous job you had isn’t in the same sector, you can highlight skills that you used in the job which you may need for your new one.
List your employment history in a reverse chronological order and use bullet points to describe the responsibilities and tasks you carried out in each job. Bull point format is a frequently used writing format on a CV, as not only does it make information clear and simple but it also saves space.
As an entry-level applicant, one of the best ways to prove that you are the ideal candidate for a job is by including as much relevant information as possible. Any previous jobs that have similar aspects in common should be listed. E.g. if you used Excel or another programme and need to know how to use it in the new job.
If you’re concerned that your entry-level CV lacks work experience, have a look at combination CV structures and learn about the benefits of combining the structures of a chronological CV and a skills-based CV.
Some applicants opt for writing a combination CV and list their key skills at the beginning of a CV if they feel that they are particularly influential or important.
Skills are an important section to include on an entry-level CV which can help recruiters to make the final decision when it comes to shortlisting your application.
Other sections of your entry-level CV
Entry-level applicants should decide whether to include alternative sections such as hobbies and interests or achievements, as this depends on the individual and their personal profile.
It’s recommended that every part of your CV pertains to the job specification in one way or another, meaning that it isn’t a good idea to include hobbies and interests if they are completely irrelevant to the job post. However, if, for example, you are applying for a job as a chef and you are interested in healthy eating and nutrition, as well as creating your own recipes, then it is definitely worth mentioning!
CV for teenagers
If you’ve recently left school and you’re looking to enter a particular sector or find your first job, use the following tips to write your entry-level CV:
- Aim to write an entry-level CV that is between 1 and 2 A4 pages long
- Use a standard CV font which is easy to read
- Include any responsibilities or awards from school
- Highlight events or volunteer work where you helped an organisation or your school
- State any clubs or societies you attended or lead
Use an OnlineCV creator to make a CV for the first time with guidance and tips along the way.
Entry-level CV examples
Writing your entry-level CV might seem difficult or stressful but it is easy to get your foot in the door if you know how to write an effective and powerful CV. Use a pre-formatted CV template to avoid making any format or layout mistakes and concentrate on the content of your CV.
Viewing entry-level CV samples is a productive way of investigating further how to write an entry-level CV and which writing methods you can use, as well as which types of CV layout and format are eye-catching.