Putting together your CV can be an arduous task, especially if you are fresh out of university and don’t have a great deal of experience under your belt.
However, it’s well worth investing time and effort in the task; after all, your CV is likely to set you apart from the hundreds of thousands of other graduates entering the job market. We’ve put together a list of our top tips to get your application noticed in the graduate job search.
1. Get the Basics Right
It might sound simple, but some people fail to includssse the most obvious details on their CV. Make sure that your email address and contact number are clear at the top of the document, and include an address so employers know where you are in comparison to the location of role.
If you’re active on professional networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, you can also provide the link to your online profile within your contact information; this adds an extra dimension to your application and can help to further showcase your skills.
2. Keep Your Format Simple
Make sure that your CV is simple, easy-to-follow and try to keep information within two to three pages. Unless you are applying for a designer or graphics role, it isn’t necessary to make your CV overly artistic, but make sure that it is easy-to-read with clear headed sections and basic font. Recruiters or employers can then identify the parts of your CV that they are looking for quickly.
3. The Importance of Spelling & Grammar
Bad spelling and grammar is a huge turn off for hiring managers, particularly if the role requires a good eye for detail. Make sure that you proofread your CV before submitting your application to ensure that you don’t make any simple errors or, even better, ask someone else to quickly cast their eye over it.
4. Employment History & Education Layout
It is important to lay out your employment history starting with your most recent role. You should also try to list your achievements and not just your responsibilities, as you want to promote yourself as a successful employee rather than listing a job description. This can be accomplished through action words such as ‘I created’, ‘I designed’, ‘I managed’ etc.
When starting a new application, note which aspects of your previous employment are relevant to the job you are applying for. This is the same for your education; if there are some tasks you have carried out during your time in higher education that could be relevant, ensure these are listed clearly on your CV. If anything isn’t relevant within your employment history and education, don’t waste space on your application by talking about it in detail.
5. Don’t be Generic
Generic personal statements or profiles at the top of your CV can be particularly boring to read and won’t always make you stand out from the crowd.
When making a statement about your skills, such as ‘I am a good communicator with great people skills,’ make sure that you back it up with evidence. How have you communicated effectively within previous roles? Do you have telephone-based customer experience or face-to-face customer experience? What results have you achieved?
Remember; it always helps to show, not just tell.
6. Include Additional Information
Hobbies and interests can show your motivation outside of the office and make your application well-rounded. Whether you play a sport, enjoy reading or you’re a budding chef, remember to list (within reason) hobbies that you enjoy.
7. Use Keywords
Recruiters spend much of their time searching for CVs on job boards and candidate databases using keywords. Populating keywords within your CV can increase your chance of coming to the forefront of a search. Think about the particular job titles that you are searching for, for example if you are looking to get into a Business Development type role, include words like ‘Sales Representative’, ‘Business Development’ and ‘Account Manager’. Some CVs contain a box of keywords at the top, which can be another method to boost your CV in searches.
Your CV is a marketing tool to sell you, the product to the hiring manager. Competition is extremely high as a graduate so ask yourself, what would you want to see if you were looking at it from their perspective? Tailor your CV to the position and match your skills to the role you are applying for; it’s all about being relevant.