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By Joan Igamba

What should I include in my first CV?

If this is a question you find yourself asking often then you are in the right place.

Even with professional CV writing services available with the click of a button, it is important that you have a first CV draft ready to go.

One of the things you should be aware of is the widely accepted CV format that is used in Kenya. Other than that, there’s information that you should always include.

We’ve compiled some handy tips for you to get started and ace that application process.

1. Contact information

This may seem obvious to some but you will be surprised at how easily it is to forget to include your email address when drafting your first CV. Ensure that your CV has all the ways that the employer can reach you.

If you are in the creative industry, consider including a link to your portfolio as this will play a huge role in your application process.

2. Personal Profile

The purpose of your personal profile is to summarise yourself to a potential employer, therefore this is a key part of your initial CV that you need to include.

Clearly and simply explain where you are in your journey of entering the workforce. What type of work are you seeking? Have you just left school? What sector are you applying for?

If you can, also include the main reason why you think you’d be great at the job you want. If you’re looking for a retail job and you have strong people skills, say so.

3. Skills section

As a fresh graduate, you might think you haven’t got enough work experience but you probably have more to say than you realise.

Ms Brenda Mielizu, a professional CV writer at Corporate Staffing Services says, “All those extracurricular activities, voluntary work or school work experience that you participated in gave you responsibilities that helped you develop transferable skills.”

You can highlight skills such as time management, reliability and communication skills in the first draft of your CV.

4. Education

List your educational achievements, beginning with your most recent qualification.

If you don’t have your results yet write down your predicted grade or that it is ‘pending’.

As this is your first CV, this section will come before you start explaining any work experience you might have. Once you have a job or two under your belt, this section will move further down the page.

5. Work experience

I realize that as a fresh graduate you may not have much to show for at this section. However, this is a key part of your initial CV that you need to include.

This is where the school mandated industrial attachments come in handy.

If you were proactive enough to make good use of your long holidays and participate in internships, job shadowing programs or apprenticeships then the better.

This is the place to include that. As long as any work you had is related to what the job description is asking for include it in your initial CV.

6. References

When you apply for a job, you will usually be required to supply references before you can be employed by the company.

This can be a lecturer that knows you well or a supervisor from any of your attachments or internships.

Remember, whoever you choose to include here should know you personally enough to sing your praises.

7. Check Your Spelling!

This last tip is the most important: ensure everything is spelt correctly. This is the first CV you are writing for the purpose of a job so you might be prone to making an error here and there. Use spelling and grammar checkers or ask someone else to proof-read your CV for you.

In conclusion,

We know it might seem daunting to write your first CV. However, it is best to learn how to represent yourself on paper as a professional. If you need further assistance, you can reach out to a CV writing professional at Corporate Staffing and you will get help in polishing up your first CV.