Written by Sophie Down | October 22, 2014
Putting together your CV can be an arduous task, especially if you are fresh out of University, but it is one that is worth investing time in. Many still fail to follow some of the most important rules of the resume, so Webrecruit have provided these fundamental tips to ensure you get yours noticed in the graduate job search.
1. Get the Basics Right
It may sound simple, but you may miss out some of the most obvious details on your CV. Include your email address and contact number as a start and an address so employers know where you are in comparison to the location of role. Your LinkedIn profile is also a great aspect to add underneath your contact information to show you are an active candidate, and can also act as a tool to showcase your skills.
2. Keep Your Format Simple
Keep your CV simple and clear to follow, and try to keep it within 2-3 pages. Unless you are applying for a designer or graphics role, it isn’t necessary to make your CV overly artistic, but to put it together as a document that is easy to read with clear sections and basic font. Recruiters or employers can then identify the parts of your CV that they are looking for quickly. Avoid writing your CV in paragraphs, and use bullet points to keep it straight forward.
3. The Importance of Spelling & Grammar
As stated in our last blog – The 5 Rules of Jobseeker Etiquette – bad spelling can immediately put the hiring manager off your CV, as can bad grammar. Proofread your CV a few times before submitting it to an application, to ensure you don’t make even the simplest of errors which can lead to your CV being disregarded. Writing in third person can also leave your CV looking quite strange to read and won’t be the preferred choice by many recruiters e.g. “Steve is a Software Developer with over three years’ experience…”
4. Employment History & Education Layout
It is important to layout your employment history starting with your most recent role. It is also important to list your achievements and not just your responsibilities, as you want to promote yourself as a successful employee rather than listing a job description. This can be accomplished through action words such as ‘I created’, ‘I designed’, ‘I managed’ etc.
When making a new application, review your roles and note which aspects of your previous employment are relevant to the job you are applying for. This is the same for your education, if there is something you have carried out during your time in higher education that could be relevant, ensure this is listed clearly on your CV. If anything isn’t relevant within your employment history and education, keep it minimal.
5. Don’t be Generic
Generic personal statements or profiles at the top of your CV can be particularly boring to read and won’t always make you stand out from the crowd. It is continually the same sort of sentence that can be seen, for example “I am a good communicator with great people skills” etc. The sort of answers employers are looking for include, where did you get these people skills from? How have you developed good communication? So when making a statement, check that it is relevant to the role you are interested in, and back it up with valid evidence.
6. Include Additional Info
Hobbies and additional interests can show your motivation outside of the work place. Whether it’s something sporty, reading or cooking, remember to list (within reason) hobbies that you enjoy. Including this on your CV can show you are busy and active outside of work.
7. Use Keywords
Recruiters spend much of their time searching CVs on job boards and databases using keywords. Populating keywords within your CV can increase your chances of coming to the forefront of a search, making it worthwhile to include the right words. Think about the particular job titles that you are searching for, for example if you are looking to get into a Business Development type role, include words like ‘Sales Representative’, ‘Business Development’ and ‘Account Manager’. Some CVs contain a box of keywords at the top, which can be another method to boost your CV in searches.
Your CV is a marketing tool to sell you, the product to the hiring manager. Competition is extremely high as a graduate so ask yourself, what would you want to see if you were looking at it from their perspective? Tailor your CV, make yourself relevant to the position and match your skills to the role you are applying for; it’s all about being relevant.
Try our free CV critique service, for in depth analysis and feedback on your CV: CV Critique Service
Not sure what your starting salary should be as a Graduate? Check the following link: Graduate Salary Check