A curriculum vitae (CV) is a brief account of your educational background, qualifications, and work experience, and it is usually sent with a job application.
Like most of us, you have probably had the experience of drafting (or attempting to draft) your CV, only to realise that the end result was missing something, and not creating the impression that you would want to leave on a future employer.
This is often the case when you’ve had no more than one permanent job, or when you are just finishing your college course and you are stepping into the job market for the first time. Luckily, there are a few things that you can include in your CV to make it look more comprehensive. Some of these are things that you might not have thought would be relevant, but they could well be the key to making your CV stand out when compared to those of other applicants.
1) Volunteer work
If you don’t have much formal work experience, mentioning any volunteer work you’ve done is a great way to enhance your CV (provided that it’s relevant to the positions you’re applying for). This can include any volunteer work that you’ve done for a company, student organisation, or charity.
If you’ve been doing volunteer work for a specific organisation for quite some time, ask them if the work you’ve done for them could be described using a specific title, such as ‘project manager’ or ‘committee treasurer’ — these would look great when listed under the ‘Experience’ section of your CV. If there is no specific title that would fit, just list ‘Volunteer,’ and describe the nature of the experience that you obtained — it’ll still create quite an impression!
The most important thing here is to explain what skills you have gained, how those skills are relevant to your career, and how the experience that you’ve gained will help you in the position that you are applying for.
2) Career-relevant hobbies & interests
If you have a specific hobby or interest that you think is relevant to your job application, be sure to list it on your CV. This can include activities such as running your own blog, or interests such as photography, writing, or computer programming. These would be particularly relevant if you are applying for positions in fields such as marketing, graphic design, content development, or web design.
3) Skills training
Expand on your ‘Skills and Qualifications’ section by studying a short course or two in a field relevant to your prospective career. You can study a short course that will enhance your technical knowledge and skills in your chosen field, or you can study a short course that will improve your workplace skills, such as project management, communication, or customer service.
Short courses can take anywhere from a single day to 12 months to complete, and will add a bit of body to your CV. They are ideal if you want to gain new skills quickly, they are affordable, and they are a good option if you want to work and study at the same time.