The easiest way to gain work experience for your CV

School leaver

As a recent school leaver you are now faced with the daunting task of writing a CV. Other than your educational achievements you are likely staring at a blank page wondering how you’re going to add some skills and work experience.

But all is not lost, and there are some very simple and quick ways of gaining that all important work experience for your CV, along with a few skills as well.

Below we are going to list a few of the easiest ways you can gain work experience for your CV…

Voluntary work

Applying for a voluntary position is one of the easiest ways to gain some work experience and learn new skills. Although you will not be paid for your efforts, the experience for your CV far outweighs your salary needs.

Remember, money isn’t everything in the early stages of your career, and getting a foot on the ladder is far more important. You could spend weeks or even months sending off your bare CV to employers only to be constantly rejected. During that time you could have been working for a local charity or country park.

There is also a possibility of being offered a more permanent paid position if you work hard during your time. A common mistake a lot of young people make when taking on voluntary work is to relax a little and not take it too seriously. However, you never know who’s watching your performance and what full time opportunities may be on the horizon.

You should always give it your all in any job, even if you don’t get paid. The references will be extremely valuable for your CV also, and there may be someone on the lookout that will be keen to hire a young and dynamic, hard working individual.

TIP: You’re not ashamed of being a volunteer but on your CV, the focus should be on the type of work you did and the results, rather than whether you were paid or not. Use a title that represents exactly what you did; the fact that you volunteered should appear in the job description (Source:

Part time work

If pay is really important to you, then part time work may be a better option. You will have valuable work experience for your CV, as well as a whole range of skills to further impress a future employer.

However, unlike voluntary work it may take some time to get a part time role. An employer will always expect to receive applications from school leavers for part time positions, but at the same time will still receive CVs from older job seekers who already have direct experience.

Part time retail work can also be a great way to build your soft skills.

As a recent school leaver you will always be up against other candidates that have more skills and experience than you. This means that both voluntary and part time work are great options to get you started. You’ll also find lots of tips on how you can frame alternative types of experience on your CV here, together with a great free CV template.

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