The Graduate job market can be extremely competitive. Having spent the majority of your time studying, chances are you will have very similar experience to your competitors. Other than showcasing your degree results how can you distinguish yourself and make your CV stand out from the crowd? Reports have shown that the average time spent looking at a CV initially is 5-7 seconds* so you need to make an impact, here are the Best Tips to write your Graduate CV:
Whilst you may not think you have any relevant work experience to portray it is important that you list what you have got and link it as best you can to the role you’re applying for. If for example you worked in retail you may be able to list leadership and training if you have had to show new employees the ropes. You may be a club promoter and be able to list social media and PR as skills from this. The important thing is to pull relevant skills and outline them on your CV so make sure you read the job description thoroughly.
Make it Professional
As a rule a CV should not be more than 2 pages long so try and stick to this when writing yours. It is also important that you use a professional font, and unless you are applying for Britain’s Next Top Model don’t include a photo as it is reported that there is an 88% rejection rate* for applicants with a photo on their CV! Make sure to include all contact details for yourself so the recruiter can get in touch with you easily.
Make it Concise
You need to strike a balance between providing enough information and not over embellishing your CV. A good way to do this is with clear bullet points outlining your skills, experience and responsibilities – stick to 3-5 bullet points for each section.
Check your Spelling
It seems really obvious but this is SO important for your job application that you really cannot forget this. Recruiters will pretty much discount any applications with spelling mistakes so if you don’t get this right then the rest of what you put on your CV is irrelevant! Read it through a couple of times and if in doubt ask a friend to check it for you as well.
Make a Professional Email
76% of CV’s* are ignored if your email address is unprofessional, so if you’re sending it from ‘email@example.com’ then it may be worth creating a new address purely for job applications. Ideally use your name and keep it short and simple.
Include Academic Accomplishments
As well as including your course and grades make sure you highlight any skills / accomplishments from your time at University. You may have been a member of a sports team or arranged student social events. Recruiters want to see how you have used initiative and it is an excellent way to distinguish yourself from other applicants.
Read the job description and highlight the key skills they require (e.g. leadership / Photoshop / social media etc.). Make sure you highlight how you have gained and utilised these skills through your previous work experience and academic study as recruiters will be looking for this specifically.
*Statistics from BeHiring Infographic.
Sophie Heaton (Digital Campaign Manager)