How to create the perfect graduate CV

Article by Give A Grad A Go

CV WritingYou need to consider many things while trying to find your ideal graduate job.

But none more important than your graduate CV

It is always the first thing that employers (or recruiters) see. So, it needs to be good enough to sustain interest but also propel your application forward.

It is not just as simple as listing your experience, skills, and achievements (however important it may be to cover these factors). 

Design, presentation, brevity, and tone are all factors that will subtly influence how your CV is read and received. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a FinTech job, a graduate Fashion job, or a career in Marketing – a well-thought out CV is the key to mastering any application process.

Why are CVs important?

CVs are ultimately a concise and dynamic way to sell yourself. 

Without a good one, you are unlikely to get an interview. And without an interview, you won’t get the job.

But, not only are they the foundation for a good application, they can be the foundation for your own understanding of yourself.

This may sound overdramatic, but being forced to present yourself and your skills in a short and interesting way can be formative. It can help you understand your own assets better, and will make you more prepared for the later interview stages.

So, here is our best advice on how to write one!

How to write a graduate CV

  • Be concise

Maybe a recruiter’s most crucial piece of advice. Your life may have been long, fruitful, and interesting – but do not underestimate how many CVs employers have to get through, and how little time they have. 

Of course, do not cut information at the cost of really important experience or skills, but be brutal with yourself. Get friends and family to read it, edit it thoroughly, and find an economic design that helps you utilise the space!

  • Tailor it to the job and company

Employers won’t be impressed by a CV that’s been clearly duplicated across multiple applications. Although it is good to have a standard CV on-hand, if you’re really passionate about a job or a company, you should think about tailoring your CV to the specifics of what you’re applying for. 

Think about subtle things, like the business’ size and company culture, or the kind of individuals you’ll be working with. For example, it’s important to consider whether you’ll be at a global brand or working at a startup, and these specifics should be reflected in how you write.

This is the sort of stuff you can find in the job specification or on the company website, and you’ll help yourself stand out if you’ve paid attention to it. Likewise, read the job responsibilities and requirements carefully, and demonstrate how your experience will help you carry these out.

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  • Organise information effectively

You also have to address the brutal reality that employers may be scanning a lot of CVs very quickly. So, you have to think very carefully about how to grab employer attention! 

Make sure the information that pertains most significantly to this job is front and centre, and then build your CV around that. Whether it’s the first thing you outline, or the stuff that’s most visible on the page, assure that your key selling points are prioritised. 

As well as this, think about the style of your CV, and whether that design is relevant to the job. For example, if you’re applying for a more creative job, don’t be afraid to display this sentiment in your CV. 

Of course, balance it with professionalism, but a creative CV is a very direct and practical way to demonstrate that you’re a dynamic thinker. If you’re feeling really inventive, why not try making a CV in the style of a company’s branding or product? 

  • Don’t forget your education

You may have long forgotten your memories of school corridors and distracted Maths classrooms – but your potential employer still cares! And, if you’re happy with your grades, it is still a good way to display that you’ve been a hard worker for a long period of time. 

You can present this information in very little detail, but recruiters and hiring managers will still look out for it. 

In many cases, your grades are unlikely to be a priority. But omitting it entirely will cause more issues than it will solve!

  • Include the important but boring details!

While you’re busy trying to figure out how to design an eye-catching CV, don’t forget the very basics! It might surprise you how many graduates forget to outline their contact details in their CV, for example. 

Make sure your name, email, and contact number (at the very least) are put in bold at the top of your CV, so it’s instantly clear how to contact you. 

It’s also useful to add a short personal statement about yourself towards the top of the page. Keep it to a couple of sentences, and just introduce some of your general experience and skills. 

This can be a bold, pithy, and engaging way to introduce the employer to who you are, and why you can be a good fit for their company. 

CV is paramount

At the end of the day, everything starts at your CV. Both your ability to impress the employer and the eventual confidence you’ll need for the interview are cultivated in this early stage. 

So – buckle down, think thoroughly and follow these tips to make sure your graduate CV is the best it can be! 

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