Jobs · 8 min read

How to Write a Student CV

young person writing a Student CV

Writing a student CV can be a lot of things. Tricky, annoying, tedious, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, there’s no real avoiding a CV. It’s a fact of life, something that you need to showcase who you are to a potential employer.

Generally, getting a job whilst you’re a student can seem like a catch-22. You want to enter the working world, yet so many jobs require existing work experience.

We can’t help you pick the job that works for you. That’s something you’ve got to do on your own. However, we can help you write a great student CV!

Our Top Tips For Writing A Student CV

1. Structure and Format Your CV Properly

Before you even start writing the content of your student CV, make sure that you are following a proper structure and format. This will make it easier for employers to read and also make it seem more professional and legitimate.

Choose a layout and font that is clear, and make sure you include all the relevant information, such as name and contact details. In some cases, you might feel the need to be creative, take those feelings and toss them in the garbage. You’re applying for a job, not revolutionising the student CV.

If ever a CV wants to be different, they usually indicate as such. For example, working for a company where you’re a creative video editor means you’ll likely be submitting a film reel with some of your work and maybe even doing a video CV. This is just an example of something that can happen in a creative field.

Before sending it off, make sure you have correctly proofread and edited the document.

2. Research The Position And The Employer

Knowing what the position requires can help you determine what skills you need to focus on in your student CV. Make sure to carefully read the job requirements and, if provided, information about what the job involves on a day-to-day basis. If you’re applying to work as a server in a restaurant, your years of fencing aren’t going to have much relevance.

An additional tip is to have a look at the job descriptions in the wider industry to identify common skills that employers are looking for.

3. Identify Your Most Impressive Qualities

When writing a student CV, you are trying to sell yourself to an employer. Think about all the things you’re good at - both on a professional and personal level. Then look at your list and think about which of these would be relevant to the jobs that you are applying for.

If you don’t have any previous work experience, think outside the box. Whether you use your netball skills as a way to show employers that you work well in a team or your travel blog as a way to demonstrate written communication and creativity, there are plenty of ways you can show yourself off.

Be careful when taking the second route, as it’s easy to come across as cheesy. So try to find a way to strike the right balance between expressing yourself through well-thought-out points.

4. Have A Strong Opener

The opening of your CV will be the first thing that an employer will read. Keep it short, simple and eye-catching. Try to sum up in around 150 words your overarching statement, including a top skill. For example, “I am a self-motivated graduate with strong communication skills''.

You will have the chance to go into more detail later, so only include your degree at this stage if it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for.

You can also specify what you are looking for. If you know that you definitely want to work in a specific sector, you could say something like, “I’m seeking roles in Public Relations”. If you want to keep your options open, you can keep it broader with something like “I’m looking to work in a fast-paced environment”.

5. Focus On Skills Rather Than Roles

If you are applying for a job as a student, it is likely that you have no prior work experience. As such, it is better to open your student CV with any skills you have acquired so far.

Think about different experiences you have had and what skills each of those have taught you. Being able to use examples to demonstrate these skills will make your student CV much more compelling.

Make sure to include skills such as a driver’s licence, social-media experience or an aptitude with certain computer programmes. While these may seem obvious, any skill which could be an asset in the workplace should be included. Anything to showcase your abilities should be included as long as it’s relevant to you as an employee or the job you are applying for.

6. Extra-Curricular Roles Count

If you have no previous paid jobs, now is the time to lean on your extra-curricular activities and the skills you gained from them. List any volunteer roles or extra-curricular positions in the same way that you would a job. Include the duration of the position, relevant tasks you carried out and the skills you learned.

For example, if you are applying for a job as a copywriter, make sure to include your role as an editor of your student magazine. Or, if you are looking to work in customer or client services, make sure to play up any front-of-house or hospitality experiences. If it’s related, it’s worth mentioning. You can find creative ways to link extracurricular activities back to certain aspects of a job, like working in a team, by mentioning your time on a sports team and making correlations between teamwork on the field and what you might experience in a job setting.

7. Use Your Degree

Degrees are designed to teach a range of transferable skills. Whether it's your research skills that you gained while writing your dissertation, your pitching skills you picked up by giving multiple presentations, or your group projects that required team working abilities, there is plenty to talk about.

Also, you’re studying. What’s the point of studying if you’re not going to advertise what you are doing?

8. Let Them Know A Bit About You

Finally, your student CV should give an employer a sense of your personality. Have you done something attention-grabbing? Spent a period of time abroad? Run a marathon? Gained a scuba-diving certificate?

Whatever makes you stand out from the crowd, even if it doesn’t relate to professional skill, should be included. The idea is that you are memorable to an employer. Anything eye-catching can boost your chances of getting to the interview stage.

This is a section of CVs that people often mess up because they speak too highly of themselves. The point of this section is to explain who you are and discuss some achievements that don’t relate to the job but are achievements you’re proud of. Yes, you’re selling yourself, but understand where the line is between letting someone know who you are and overdoing it.


Landing a job as a student can be challenging, especially when faced with the dilemma of requiring work experience to secure a position.

However, by following some key tips for writing a student CV, you can increase your chances of success.

Remember, with the right approach and presentation, your lack of prior work experience will not stand in the way of your success.

Want to improve your financial literacy and work towards your savings goals? Get started with Prograd today.

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