6 tips for a strong graduate CV
April 10, 2019
Your CV is a fundamental part of the recruitment process. In most cases it’s your first chance to stand out and make an impression with your potential employer. Just like most industries technology is changing how we find and recruit top talent. More then ever, what you include in your CV plays a critical role in you advancing to the next steps of a recruitment process.
As well as up-to-date, relevant information, it’s important to showcase who you are as an individual and why you’re are the best person for the role. This blog covers my recommendations for perfecting your CV.
First, get your CV seen
An employer might receive thousands of CVs during an application window so more and more recruiters are using automated tools to help them prioritise applicants that match the profile they’re looking for. If your CV does not include a comprehensive list of skills and experiences, you could be missing out on your dream job!
You can optimise your CV with the right keywords, by paying attention to the job description and the criteria and competencies your prospective employer is looking for. This new way of recruiting also emphasises the rule that one CV does not fit all organisations. Make sure you research the company and properly understand and articulate why you want the role, this should be highlighted in your CV’s personal summary.
A simple format is the best format
A simple, clean CV is the best format in most instances, however if you’re applying for a role in a creative industry your CV should reflect this. I would strongly reconsider using informal fonts like comic sans or script. Try to stick to the standard Calibri, Arial or Time New Roman. Be mindful some employers will confirm what format to work with. Generally, MS Word and PDF are your safest bets.
Highlight your skills:
Chances are you have learnt so many skills at university that you may not realise employers are looking for. Examples are leadership, time management, research, teamwork, critical thinking, communication and presentation experience.
It should go without saying that anything listed on your CV should be factual. Elaborating or embellishing will catch up with you eventually! Be confident in your abilities and if you feel you’re lacking in areas, there are plenty of online courses available.
Get the structure right:
Every recruiter is different but personally I prefer the structure of a CV to be as follows
Your personal summary should highlight what you're passionate about and why you want to join the company. This is how you draw the recruiter in and ensure they keep reading.
Education should include your university, degree information and graduation date. Including your GPA is preferred but not critical.
Including extracurricular activities like student society affiliations, sports teams or hobbies is a great way to demonstrate a well-rounded picture of who you are.
Ideally your CV will not exceed 2 – 3 pages.
Check and re-check:
Lastly be familiar with what you have included in your CV, you should be able to effortlessly elaborate on any part of your CV if prompted. Ask your friends and family to proof read and provide feedback on the structure and flow.
Lastly and most importantly
Make sure you can be easily contacted, include your name, email and mobile number on each page in the header or footer.
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