CV Tips for Graduates

So, the time has come to put that degree to good use and get a job in your area of degree specialism. We have put together our top tips of what you should and shouldn’t do and what to include. We’ve also included some CV templates at the end for you to download and use as you wish!

Do’s

  • Include all education and work experience chronologically, starting from the most recent.
  • Ensure your CV is at least 1 page long but keep it to a maximum of 2 pages.
  • There’s no need to write long paragraphs as it can take up too much space and recruiters and employers will have a lot of CVs to look through. You want to summarise by bullet pointing everything, except your introduction.
  • Proof-read and spellcheck. These are the most underrated aspect but probably the most important as any incorrect spellings will stick out like a sore thumb and you want it to look as professional as possible.
  • Review the job description and consider the essential criteria.
  • If possible, tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. For example, review the job description and relate as much of your skillset to each point.
  • Be transparent. If you have taken additional time to complete your degree or have taken a gap year since now applying for a job, recruiters and employers will notice, but it’s nothing to worry about. Just be sure to include a simple explanation and what benefits it gave you.

Don’ts

  • Don’t include a picture of yourself.
  • Don’t include your age or date of birth.
  • Don’t include your full address. Really you don’t need to include it at all due to data protection reasons, but some employers might prefer to know where you’re based. If you’re applying for a remote job, it might be better to leave it off and discuss logistics with the recruiter/employer when being interviewed.
  • Don’t put ‘CV / Curriculum Vitae’ as the title, recruiters and employers will know what the document is. Use your name as the title.
  • Don’t use a fancy font – keep it simple, clear, and professional. And whatever you do, don’t use comic sans.


What to include on your CV

Contact information

  • Include your first name and surname, email, and mobile phone number. Make sure your email is relatively professional, if it’s something like vodkafordays@hotmail.com, we recommend changing this ASAP!
  • We recommend setting up a LinkedIn profile and including a link. LinkedIn is a great way to show you mean business, so make sure it looks professional and highlights your achievements.

Introduction

  • Don’t spend time writing your life story here. You don’t need to include a list of buzzwords such as ‘team player’ or ‘hard working’. Instead, write a concise professional summary in just a few sentences which include your career objectives.
  • Make sure that whatever you put here is relevant for the role you’re applying for.
  • We recommend 2-4 sentences maximum.

Education

  • Clearly highlight your qualifications, starting with your degree.
  • Include the name of the educational institution, degree title, the type of qualification, when you studied, and what grade you received or are predicated.
  • If your work experience is quite limited, this is where you can expand on your transferable skills from your degree. For example, highlight a particular module or topic you covered and explain the value of it.
  • Do include details of your A Level (or equivalent) qualifications but don’t worry about going into loads of detail for anything further back unless it is specifically required.

Experience

  • Include details of your most recent work experience. Don’t underestimate the value of all work experience too – if you have been working in retail or hospitality whilst studying, this is great real-world experience which has many transferable skills such as customer service and teamwork. This is where you can quantify those skills.
  • Volunteering and internships can also go here.

Achievements

  • If you have any additional certificates or academic prizes/awards, put them here.
  • You can also include any sporting achievements or any competitions you have won.

Skills and interests

  • Skills and interests can include things such as societies you took part in at university.
  • Use this space to talk about your transferable skills, especially if you don’t have much work experience, this is the place to expand on your skills and how you’ve developed them in university and through any other activities.

References

  • You only need to include a simple ‘References available on request’ at the bottom of the page.

And that’s pretty much it! This isn’t an exhaustive list, and you can adapt it to suit your education, experience, and skillset so that it highlights your most relevant qualifications and skills.

Good luck!

Looking to start a career in recruitment?

Find out more about a career in recruitment and view our graduate jobs here

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