If you are in your penultimate year then you should be thinking about applying for summer internships and graduate positions to give you the best chance upon graduation. Competition is fierce and normal graduate recruitment windows are between September and January before you graduate. Even if you are approaching graduation this coming summer then if you have not already been applying then now is still not too late. Your CV needs to be top notch so you can get through to the assessment or interview stage. You will get plenty of advice of what to do (see our previous blogs on our best CV tips) but here are our top tips for graduates:
Have more than one version of your CV
Your CV needs to be specific to the industry you are applying for so if you are applying for banking and accountancy positions have a CV for each. Having the same CV to cover all bases is not going to be as effective as a tailored CV. Make sure you do this throughout and not just to one or two words in the professional profile.
As mentioned above this should be tailored to your industry so stay away from ‘stock phrases’ such as ‘a good team player’ or ‘hard working’. Think about exactly what the employer will be looking for so for finance based positions you will need to be numerical, logical, and organised or for marketing roles you need to be creative, have a good grasp of the latest social media and certain technologies. Your professional profile should be around six to eight lines long maximum.
This is an optional section but allows the employer to understand the reasons for why you are applying to them particularly if you are applying for a position that is not directly related to your degree. If you prefer you should be able to capture this in a covering letter or may be part of the application form.
This should be before your career summary. While it can be tempting to write every single module you have ever completed throughout all your studies again it is best to assess exactly what you think the company is looking for so they do not have to sift through all the irrelevant information. Include the most important modules and your dissertation title (as well as your expected grade based on “results” you have enjoyed throughout university if you can).
Make sure you have the dates clearly presented, the name of the employer and the position you held. If you had any key achievements note these first within each position. Make sure you bullet point and you are factual and succinct with your responsibilities. DO NOT make this area like a personal statement. This is an area you can expand upon in your cover letter or in the personal statement.
This is the area to mention your IT Skills and packages you can use like AutoCad or Photoshop, Sage etc. You can also note any languages you speak, if you drive and your interests. It is not a good idea to include ‘socialising with friends’ as an interest. It is irrelevant and it you be better to include “voluntary experience” or “extra-curricular” activities to demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills.
Do not include
Do not include your date of birth, national insurance number, marital status or a photograph. Any advice you receive on this is dated so please ignore it!
Also do not use a standard CV template you find online or from a friend as employers can tell especially if you forget to remove where the template came from which is included in these online “freebies”.
Proof read and proof read again and again. If you have any spelling or grammatical errors no matter how small you will not make it past the first hurdle!
Good luck (with your job hunt and your degree!).