It is easy to write a stellar CV if you have an excellent GPA and internship experience to show for it. However, a common conundrum that many students face is when they are applying for their first internship or job and they just don’t have enough points to fill their CV. Here are 3 suggested ways to remedy this problem.
1. Quick Fixes
If you find yourself stuck with nothing to put in your CV, and you only have a couple of weeks before applications close, we can suggest a few quick fixes as follows:
Attend a course / seminar
o Most universities conduct seminars that are free to students
o There are also hundreds of online courses available, the internet is your best friend
o Bonus points if completion of the course results in some kind of certification
o There are many places can accept volunteers at a short notice (for instance here), you can also ask your local CC or library if they need extra help.
o Another option is tutoring. You can offer to tutor needy students or even your neighbour’s children.
Expand on existing points
o Be sure that you have fully fleshed out the current points that you do have, be specific wherever possible
o Another quick-fix is to list out modules where you obtained good grades
It is important to note that even if you are desperate to add filler points, you should still be careful to only showcase your best points. Including poor grades or completely irrelevant experience (e.g. winning a 100m race in primary school) subtracts rather than adds to your profile.
2. Length of your CV
It is a common misconception that CVs have to account for everything you have done since the beginning of time. This is in untrue, and including everything and anything is likely to hurt your chances instead of boosting them. As a general rule, for university students, we recommend including at most their A level / Polytechnic grades and only significant awards or achievements pre-university.
A 1-page CV is sufficient and you should be selective to showcase only your best points. This makes your CV more powerful and convincing. In addition, by limiting yourself to 1 page, you will find that you actually do have enough points to fill your CV. Everything looks much more compact and your (very busy) employer is able to get a snapshot of who you are at just a quick glance.
3. Expand on your hobbies and interests
While you may struggle to find something substantial to put on your CV, your hobbies and interests can actually be expanded and included in your CV. If you are very passionate or very good at anything in particular, you can include that point (as long as it is recent!).
For instance, for finance-related internships/jobs, you can include your share-investing hobby and any seminars that you have attended or books you have read in relation to finance. Or perhaps you are an excellent baker, you can include that and even use this during interviews to show that you are detailed-oriented and able to follow instructions very well. If you run an online shop via Shopee or Carousell you can use that to show that you are entrepreneurial and are familiar with customer service.
Languages are another great way to boost your CV and if you want to expand on it, you can insert 1 – 2 lines on the courses and/or certifications that you have obtained. Don’t be shy, go ahead and include languages that you are just starting to learn (but make sure to note that you are a beginner). This is equally applicable to photography, IT skills (such as website development and design (perhaps you run a blog), photoshop, typing (you can take an online test and include your typing speed/minute), accounting skills etc.
Ultimately, thinking ahead is always ideal. The suggested points are useful in early stages of job applications but should be out-phased to more substantive points as you progress in your career. We encourage students to do the most they can and maximize their university experience to develop their passions. If you need any help in crafting your CV or Cover Letter, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download a template CV for students below.