Preparing your CV for IT Graduate Jobs

Preparing your CV for IT Graduate Jobs

Recent graduates face a dilemma when writing their CV as qualifications almost always outweigh experience.

Employers are looking for key skills that will be transferable to the role you are applying for as well as evidence of your enthusiasm, motivation and positive attitude. Start your search Graduate IT jobs by clicking here.

So what information should you be including in your graduate CV?

If you want to give your graduate CV a professional edge, why not see what the experts think by getting a FREE CV review from Knowhow CV? Click here to make your graduate CV the best it can be.

Profile Summary

You should begin your graduate CV with an introduction to yourself, your characteristics and aims. This should be relatively short (between 4 and 6 lines) and should be focused around the role you are applying for i.e. if you are applying for a support job, show how you are able to problem solve and communicate well and detail why you are interested in the role.

Education

This area needs to be optimised on a graduate CV; however you should only list your most important qualifications. Start with the most recent (your degree) and ensure you include all the relevant information (university you studied at, degree title, dates and result). If your degree doesn’t directly relate to the role you are applying for but some of the modules you undertook did don’t be afraid to include these, as well as any dissertations or projects that show your understanding of a particular subject.

Employers will expect to see a little more than just degrees in this section so do include A-levels etc, however there is no need to list all the subjects you took just indicate the number you achieved i.e. 4 A levels, 2 AS levels and 10 GCSEs.

Experience

So you’ve spent the last 3 or more years at university – you are unlikely to have heaps of relevant experience to write about here. Employers understand this and as a result will look to see more about your skills and motivation. As a result you will need to demonstrate what you’ve learnt, the skills you’ve made the most of and how these skills would be useful in the role you are applying for. For example if you were doing bar work at university – although it may not be in line with your chosen career path you can still use it to highlight good communication skills, team working and organisation etc.

All experience should be listed in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent. There is no obligation to enter exact start and finish dates – so if you can’t remember enter months or even just the years that you held that job for.

In this section you should include any part time, internships, placements, unpaid/voluntary work and of course any full time positions. You should try to include all positions held, however only go in to detail on the most recent or particularly relevant roles.

When describing a job role, make sure you think about the skills that will be key in your new role and take them into consideration when writing about the tasks you undertook. You should start each description with your strongest/most relevant skill and then work backwards.

Hobbies and Interests

On a more established CV this part would probably be overlooked or at least only skimmed by an employer, however on a graduate CV it can be important. Showing that you undertook productive activities whilst studying (rather than partying all day and night!!) can show motivation and a driven personality. Include any clubs or societies that you were part of, and any roles of responsibility that you undertook as part of that membership i.e. club captain, social secretary etc. If you undertook any volunteering projects this is a great place to mention it. Don’t go over the top though, this section should be fairly short (8-10 lines at most).

Additional information

Simply a section in which to include any miscellaneous information such as if you hold a driving licence etc.

Referees

It is important to have good referees when you are starting out. As a graduate you should have one academic reference and one from a previous role (a part time role or placement is fine).

Although it is recommended to put their name and contact details (including postcode) on your CV – if you are lacking in space it is acceptable to mention in brief i.e. references from my personal tutor and manager from previous employment available on request.

Other things to consider when writing a graduate CV

  • A CV is a snap shot of you that an employer is unlikely to read in depth initially so it is vital to make sure it is eye catching and professional looking – first impressions count!!
  • There is no need to put a photo on your CV – we would actually recommend against this. Let your experience/qualifications do the talking.
  • Avoid repetition – it gets boring to read you have excellent communication skills, developed in each role you have held and will cause an employer to give up reading!
  • Keep things concise. A graduate CV should be no longer than 2 A4 pages. Employers are inundated with CVs for every position and simply don’t have time to read each CV in depth – if yours is too long it’s unlikely they will bother in the first place.