The Student CV

Guide to writing a winning student or first job CV!
CV Template

For students, writing a CV can feel like an impossible task especially if they find themselves in the category of job seekers with little to no work experience, as is often the case if they’re either still studying or soon to be leaving school or college.

However, making a winning student CV doesn’t have to be as difficult as people think. With the following guide you’ll find expert advice and student CV examples to help with each stage of producing an effective curriculum vitae for students or for a first job.

Whether you are a school-leaver, still studying or a college, high school or university student, the time will come when you need to have a student curriculum vitae prepared for some kind of application, such as internships, job placements, further study or a first job.

In order to avoid making any faux-pas, take a look at our guide on how to write a CV and check out some student CV templates and examples for extra inspiration or you could use an online CV builder to ensure accuracy and get professional tips along the way.

How to write a student CV

The first step before sitting down to compose a student CV is for the candidate to take a pen and paper and make a list of all of their previous experience in the working world, including work placements, internships, volunteering and even paid menial jobs such as babysitting or a paper round etc.

As well as these positions, the jobseeker should make a list of their achievements either in the professional field or in academia as well as their different certificates or training.

With these lists prepared, the applicant will be ready to write a student CV that includes all the relevant information and takes into consideration their skills and achievements that will get the interview they’re aiming for!

Tips for creating a student CV

The following expert advice will help you to form an effective student CV for a first job or further study application.

  • Although it may be obvious to start your student CV with your name and contact information, often applicants forget to revise their email address! It is vital that you ensure you have a professional email address for all your job applications and do not use any childish or inappropriate names.
  • After the applicant’s basic contact information, a good introduction to a student CV is a brief but concise personal statement which allows the prospective employer to understand quickly the aim and background of the candidate. Sometimes known as a resume objective or summary statement, these first one or two sentences should consist of a summary of the applicant’s professional profile.
  • Depending on the CV layout that is appropriate for the candidate and their preferred profession, the next section on the student CV can vary between skills, achievements, education and work experience. See below for a guide to choosing the right type of CV for your profile.
  • Within the student CV education section, it is highly recommended to use a standard reverse chronological order for qualifications, mentioning the institution, certification, grade and dates; thus working from the latest diploma, A Levels or a college degree to GCSEs. There is no need to include any previous qualifications.
  • When it comes to the student CV work experience section, some candidates may find themselves struggling if they have little to no professional experience, but do not fret – there are many roles that may not generally be considered apt that could actually make your profile stand out in the application process: voluntary work, internships and work placements are all valid professional experiences that can be added to a student curriculum vitae.
  • It is crucial that you never lie on your student CV! It is absolutely never acceptable for an applicant to invent work experience, qualifications or skills that they do not possess when creating their application.
  • Finally when you have finished writing your student resume, as it is known in the US, it is advisable to have a peer, parent or teacher take a look and double check for errors, inconsistencies or who can perhaps suggest how to make improvements. Don’t rely on Word or other spell checkers because they may only check for US English!

These student CV tips should give you a better understanding of how to make an effective first job application, highlighting your skills and achievements and presenting your professional profile for prospective employers. But for extra help, you can use an online CV creator to ensure you get an optimised HR-approved student CV.

Select the best type of CV

There are 3 common CV types that candidates use to present their job application that offer different pros and cons depending on the style and profile of the job seeker. Read on for a more in-depth explanation of each to find out which CV format is best for students.

  • Chronological CV – Unlike professional CVs, students may be surprised to find that the more common chronological CV format is not the most appropriate CV structure for their general profile because it focuses heavily on a previous job trajectory, which is not ideal for the majority of students, recent graduates or school-leavers who may have little to no work experience.
  • Functional CV – The skills-based or qualifications-based CV emphasises the candidate’s achievements and qualities that make them apt for the role instead of giving a comprehensive work experience list.

This style can be excellent for a first resume because it gives the job seeker the possibility to include more information regarding accomplishments, projects undertaken and core competencies from their professional profile that they may have acquired through different activities.

It also allows the candidate to give little importance to the job history section in cases where they lack work experience, without lying!

  • Combination CV –  For some students, school-leavers and graduates, the combination CV will be the better choice for a first CV because it allows them to use both their previous work experience and their achievements and skills to create a mixture of their best assets to show to a prospective employer.

Once you’ve chosen your optimised student CV format, you can take a look at some templates or examples to get your creative juices flowing or for a more step-by-step guide, take a read of our advice on writing a CV that offers professional pointers for each section.

Student CV Templates

CV Templates for students are a very useful tool for soon-to-be-graduates, school leavers and other young job seekers who may not have a wealth of previous work experience to include on their applications.

Our library of student CV templates contains a range of different styles that can be used to highlight distinct professional profiles with varying skills and achievements for all types of industry.

Using the appropriate stencil can allow candidates to create winning student CVs using the tips and examples offered by career experts and can assure that the finalised CV will be effective for job applications with a suitable layout taking into consideration the aspects that attract student or graduate employers.

Templates for creating a CV are practical for candidates to save time and effort which may otherwise be spent on formatting and structuring a CV from scratch. Additionally, employing templates offers job seekers advice or demonstrates how to complete each CV section considering the relevant information.

University student CV

When you’re studying, there will be various times when having an effective university student CV at your disposal will come in handy: for job applications, summer internships, even courses or grant applications etc. Of course, it’s vital that you create a curriculum vitae that includes the work experience, education, achievements and skills that you’ve gained up to this point.

Whether you need a college student CV, an undergraduate student CV or even a post-grad or masters student CV, you can find useful tools and examples on Online-CV to help you create the right application for your needs.

Phd student CV

A Phd student CV will be necessary when you’re coming to the end of your doctorate or if you’re looking for work to accompany your studies. It’s very common for Phd students to work as well as study and to improve a candidate’s chances in their future career, it’s ideal to have an optimised Phd student CV that demonstrates their abilities and experience within their field in order to get the best position for their profile.

With a Phd, candidates will have much more experience within their field academically speaking therefore they may wish to add extra CV sections such as publications, projects, conferences etc. to give more information about their expertise that can help prospective employers appreciate what they can bring to the company.

High school student CV

CVs for school leavers and high school student CVs can be challenging due to the lack of professional work experience but there are several ways to make writing a high school CV much easier. Students have much more experience than they often think at first thanks to projects they’ve produced, presentations given, coursework completed and in some cases events organised as well as participation in social, academic or athletic clubs.

In order to turn these activities into experience and demonstrate transferable skills, Online-CV offers effective CV templates, an online resume builder and practical examples for candidates to use to create customised high school student CVs which will attract student employers.

How to make a CV for students with no work experience

Often, students looking to write a first CV can come up against a wall regarding their lack of a job history, but this needn’t be a problem with the following advice on how to make a CV for students with no work experience.

Firstly, job seekers searching for a first professional experience, whether it is an internship, work placement or paid position should consider what achievements they have accomplished in their academic career and extracurricular activities.

A good way to go about this is to evaluate your answers to questions such as these examples:

  • Have you worked on any special projects or assignments, either in groups or individually?
  • Have you won any sponsorships?
  • Have you had to do research or compile reports?
  • Have you been a volunteer in a festival, conference or other event or volunteered in another capacity?
  • Have you taken on any leadership roles in the past?
  • Have you won any awards or special honours?

In addition to these questions, which will help candidates compose an experience or achievements section on a CV with no work experience, job seekers should also consider their IT and language skills which they may have gained through their schooling or extra-academically.

These capacities allow applicants to add another section to their CV under the heading ‘core competencies’ or ‘skills’. In this part of a student CV, candidates can add various hard and soft skills which reflect their abilities in a professional environment that they have learnt either through training or social interaction.

Another possible aspect to include in a CV for students with no work experience is their involvement in sports, social or academic clubs. Participating in any societies or associations is highly regarded on student CVs because it demonstrates willingness, passion and interest. It is also a useful method for providing evidence of the various skills a candidate claims to possess.

Finally, another technique for creating a CV with no professional work experience is to use a CV layout which emphasises the skills or achievements of the candidate such as the functional CV as opposed to using a typical chronological CV.

Student CV Examples

Making a student CV can be much easier by choosing a student CV example that demonstrates a professional template and gives practical advice on how to fill in each section, providing students with a HR-approved resume for a first job application.

The first job search can be a very difficult task for students, whether they are recent school-leavers, university graduates or still studying and looking for a job to accompany their studies. One way to make this transition to the working world simpler is by creating an application using a student CV template on an online CV builder platform that provides a step-by-step guide.

Student CV examples allow candidates to learn how to present their experience, skills, achievements and education in a way that interests student employers using the right language, CV structures and sections.

Another reason to use a student CV example is the help available with additional information that you see as relevant to your job application such as voluntary work, conferences attended or publications etc.

Finally, student CV templates are a great tool for candidates who need to create more than one application because they allow you to add or remove sections and highlight different achievements or experience without having to start again from scratch.

Last modified on 24 February 2021

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