It's vital that we teach young people how to write a proper CV

Many employers have horror stories to tell

Share

Alfred Ajani is an enterprising 22-year-old graduate whose job search took on an inventive turn after months of rejection by employers. Ajani stood in Waterloo Station holding a sandwich board advertising his degree results - and received a string of job interviews as a result.

As his story demonstrates, jobseekers can send off hundreds of job application letters with absolutely no reply. This summer, millions of school-leavers and graduates have gained a smorgasbord of GCSE, A-level and degree results. Depressingly, despite their academic success, a lot of these bright young people are headed straight for unemployment. The barrier between these candidates and paid work is not a lack of qualifications. It’s often because they don’t know how to apply for a job effectively.

We can’t blame candidates for this. In many cases they’ve never been taught how to write a job application letter or format a CV. This is bananas. Writing a job application letter and CV are essential life skills. Without them, you’ll struggle to earn a living. With them, you’ve got a better chance at starting and sustaining a career.  So why aren’t we teaching all students what to do? 

Many employers will tell you about the ridiculousness of the cover letters and CVs they receive. They contain the wrong information, or missing information, or too much information, or spelling mistakes, or scant evidence that the applicant could actually do the job. In real life, that person might be quite capable, but they fail to transmit that in writing. 

On the other hand, well-written CVs stand out so much that they can convince employers that they’re staring at someone they need, not just want, to hire. With competition for jobs as fierce as it is, that’s how you’ve got to make a prospective boss feel. Research released this week shows that a third of employers don’t bother to check the qualifications stated on candidates’ CVs. That’s disturbing, but it does prove how much a good CV and cover letter can do. 

Let’s teach candidates a uniform, effective way of setting out a CV and covering letter – something guided by real-life employers, so we know we’re teaching young people an approach that will work. Then we won’t have to force them to go out with sandwich boards in order to get a start in life.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS2 Teacher Plymouth

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Early Years Teacher - Jan 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Apple CEO Timothy Cook  

Tim Cook coming out as gay publicly for the first time matters to young men like me

Leigh Dowd
 

Daily catch-up: war on drugs, shocking polls and Balls family news

John Rentoul
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes