A man dressed smartly writing out his CV with a pen and paper

February 5, 2019, by Katy Johnson

How to write a chronological CV with little experience

By Sophie Blumenthal, Outreach Executive at CV-Library Ltd

Chronological CVs are perhaps the most common type of CV and can be an effective way of marketing your experience and qualifications. They list your most recent jobs first and are great for showing off your career progression, especially if you’ve been promoted in a past role.  

But what should you do if you don’t have a great deal of experience to shout about? Well, you can still use the chronological format; you just need to be more selective with the content you include.  

Below we’ll outline in more detail how to write a great chronological CV, when you don’t have much experience.  

1. Start with a strong personal profile  

Getting your personal profile right is crucial. This is your chance to grab the recruiter’s attention, as they only spend a matter of seconds scanning through each application. This is particularly important when you have little experience to shout about, as it’s your chance to really sell yourself.  

Start by introducing yourself, including your education level or the top two or three skills you possess. You should also outline what you’re after, for example ‘I am looking for marketing roles’ or more specifically, ‘I am looking for a marketing assistant role’.   

This part of your CV should be short and sweet. Keep your personal profile at roughly 150 words. Any longer and you risk losing the reader’s attention or waffling.  

2. Focus on any experience you do have 

Don’t let yourself get bogged down in what you don’t have. Instead, focus on what you do have. Any experience you’ve secured in the past is great, even if it’s not related to the job you’re currently applying for.  

Sit down and make notes on any of the soft skills you’ve learned that you can apply to your next role. Examples of these transferable skills could be good communication, problem solving, teamwork, and organisation or leadership skills.  

List any experience you’ve had, with the most recent job or project first. If you haven’t had much work experience, that’s OK. You can also talk about any volunteer work you’ve done or even any projects you’ve worked on in your own time. It all helps recruiters to get a better understanding of your skill set.  

3. Make the most of your education section   

In a chronological CV, generally your education section doesn’t have to be too detailed. But, if you have little experience, you should focus on making your education section stand out instead.  

List the schools, colleges or universities you attended, starting with the most recent at the top. You should include your grades and list out any relevant or particularly standout modules or topics you studied especially if these are relevant to the role you’re applying for.  

4. Don’t let a lack of experience slow you down  

Just because you have little experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t produce a great chronological CV. Focus on the transferable skills you’ve picked up in the past and use keywords to illustrate these.  

You should also spend time getting your personal profile right. That is the first thing the recruiter will see and is your chance to grab their attention.  

For more advice on developing your CV visit our website and have your CV reviewed by a member of our team – simply book an appointment on MyCareer.

Posted in Employer Insights