10 tips for graduate CV writing

10 tips for graduate CV writing

Creating a CV is one of the first things you should do after graduating if you want to secure a job. Don't worry if you don't have much work experience as many graduates will be in the same position. Instead, you'll need to tailor your CV to emphasise your degree and skillset, whilst including any work experience no matter how small it may be.

We have put together 10 points on what to focus on when writing your CV to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Read the job description

The job description is a cheat sheet for creating your CV. A job description will include keywords relating to desired qualifications and skills, so be sure to mention the examples they give. For example, they might have said you will be working in a team, so highlighting your communication and adaptability skills could make you more appealing to the role.

2. Use the right CV format

This point may sound simple as essentially your CV is just a piece of paper. However, making sure it is laid out properly can make all the difference to employers when they read it. As a graduate, your focus over the past few years would have been on education, therefore think about including this section towards the top instead of the conventional placement at the bottom.

Your CV format should include:

  • Your name, degree, and contact details
  • Personal statement
  • Education
  • Any previous work experiences (if any)
  • Skills
  • Certifications
  • Interests and hobbies

A graduate CV should be a minimum of one page long and a maximum of two pages.

Click here to read our article on ‘Should I include a picture on my CV’

3. Include your personal information

As mentioned above, you begin your CV with your name, your degree qualification, and contact details. This should include a contact number, email address, and your home address. Your home address is so employers can see what your travel time might be if you are needed to work in the office.

4. Have a bold opening statement

The short text that follows your information is your personal statement. The aim is to provide an overview of what you have to offer as a professional to the company. If the company has a large number of CVs to review, they may simply read the personal statement to expedite the process, so make sure you use keywords to stand out.

5.  Focus on your education

If the employment section on your CV is going to be thin, you can always bulk out the education section to show the employer what you have achieved at university. For example, if you did a Computer Science degree, you may have done a module in artificial intelligence, or data structure and algorithms. Again, read the job description to see what technical skills are mentioned and let the employer know you understand the skills.

6. Include any employment history

If this area of your CV is particularly straightforward, include everything, even if your experience is not relevant to the career you are applying for. It could be a part-time job you had while at university or volunteer work. These jobs will add to your professionalism, and employability. List your work experience in chronological order, starting with your most recent position, and include the company name, job title, and dates of employment. Break this up into three subheadings: outline, major duties, and important achievements to keep it concise.

7. Keep copy to a minimum

It is best to keep things simple when writing your CV. Don't go into great detail about each of your skills or accomplishments, long blocky paragraphs will put the employer off reading your CV. Rather, bullet point the highlights, including the keywords you found in the job description. You can expand on these bullet points later on at the interview stage.

8. Include personal projects

If you have examples of personal work that are relevant to the job role, be sure to link them or attach them. For example, if you are a web designer, you might have some example websites you have created at university. Or maybe you have done some freelance work so include links to those examples as well.

9. Include hobbies and interests

Including a section for hobbies or interests is optional but can help in some situations. If your hobbies are related to the job you are applying for, then including them can help highlight your personal experience and skills. Even if your hobbies are unrelated to the job you are applying for, you should still include them. For example, perhaps you have run races for charity, or you have volunteered in your spare time.

10. Check your spelling and grammar

Grammatical and spelling errors will come across as unprofessional. So, make sure you use the Microsoft word spellcheck and grammar feature or ask a friend or family member to proofread it.

It’s also a good idea to check if you need to include a cover letter with your application, click here to read our article on ‘How to write a covering letter for IT jobs’.

Writing a CV as a graduate doesn’t have to be daunting, as long as you follow these steps, read over each job description, and try to personalise your CV to each role. That little bit of extra work could go a long way and secure you your first graduate position.

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