A good CV is essential when applying for graduate jobs. So taking the time to perfect your CV is vital to get the job you want.
A well-crafted CV will show your career interests and highlight your most relevant skills and experience in the way recruiters like. There is no quick fix when writing your graduate CV, but the overall aim is to market yourself and your skills to an employer and convince them to call you for an interview or assessment centre.
We have created a 6-step guide to perfecting your CV.
Step 1: focus your message.
Understand what your CV actually needs to say. How you focus your CV will depend on the graduate job and industry you’re applying to.
Read the job description and job adverts carefully. Use them to help you write your CV. Emphasise any skills or experience you have that match the criteria they are looking for.
Step 2: pick a CV format and stick to it.
A recruiter is likely to spend between 30 seconds and a minute scanning your CV. This is long enough for them to spot any necessary skills they are looking for, and also any spelling mistakes you may have made. So, it is crucial that you always proofread your CV before sending it to a recruiter. First impressions count! When you’re putting your CV together, ask yourself these three key questions:
- Is it easy to read?
- Is the formatting consistent throughout?
- Does it represent my skills well?
Graduate recruiters don’t waste time trying to locate hidden details, so your CV needs to be logically structured and broken down into clearly marked, easily readable sections. Aim for clarity. Choose a font that is easy to read. Consider Calibri, Cambria or Arial.
Step 3: use the space on your CV wisely.
The maximum length of your graduate CV is two pages of A4 – there is no room to waffle! So keep your CV to the point. Be logical – employers will read from the beginning, so this is where the most relevant information needs to go to catch the recruiter’s attention.
Step 4: fill in the gaps.
Never leave anything up to the imagination of a graduate recruiter. Gaps are highly conspicuous on CVs and recruiters will spot them a mile off – they’ll be looking for them when they check continuity and consistency.
Step 5: stand out from the crowd.
You’re competing against other graduates for the very best positions. You’ve got to stand out from the crowd to get noticed for your abilities or you will just get lost within the pile of other identical applications and CVs. Showing any evidence of work experience and skills development through extracurricular activities will always give you an edge in a pile of CVs. Use your skills and experiences to your advantage and sell yourself.
Step 6: check your CV carefully.
Once you have finished writing your CV print off a copy and read through it to make sure you’re happy that it:
- makes sense
- is targeted to the job and employer
- shows you meet the employer’s minimum requirements
- has no spelling errors