Graduate CVs ? Stand out from the crowd

  | The CV Centre

     

For many people, the first CV they write is prepared just before, or just after, they graduate from college. Writing such a CV can be tricky if you are looking for a professional position. In most cases your work experience to date will be limited and may not seem very relevant to the job for which you are applying. So what should you be highlighting and how to increase your chances of landing that job you want?

Education should generally be the focus of a Graduate CV, with the most recent event – usually your degree – coming first, and then with other qualifications e.g. A Levels/High School Diplomas/Certificates of Education listed in reverse chronological order. The degree classification and other higher education grades should be listed but there is generally no need to provide this for other qualifications obtained lower in school.

If your degree has included course modules relevant to any role or scheme for which you are applying, this should be mentioned.

Having a degree, even a first class one, is not, in itself, enough to make a CV stand out. While you may not have much work history, or have worked in jobs you feel are not relevant for the role for which you are applying, there will always be some skills you have learned which should be highlighted. These may include such soft skills as the ability to work without supervision, teamwork, or decision-making.  And where specific skills have been learned – such as the ability to write software code or use Advanced Excel – then this should be mentioned.

The order of the CV is important. It should always start with a Personal Statement briefly outlining who you are, your achievements and accomplishments, and your immediate employment goals. This should then be followed by your education and work experience, and then details of any extra-curricular activities that shows you in a favourable light – such as charitable work, and volunteering.

A Hobbies and Interest section should only be included if they will help you get a job. An employer might be interested, for example, if you are taking foreign language courses in your spare time – because this a skill they could potentially use – but less so if you like socialising with friends or following your favourite sports team.

Apart from that, the usual rules for CV formats apply. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are important (always use a spell checker before submitting any document to another party). Write ion the third person. Make sure that typefaces are the same, sizes and spaces consistent and formatting aligned.

Your CV is your calling card. Make sure it is as professional as it should be. It represents who you are and how you want to be regarded by a potential employer.