Graduate CV Advice

CV advice for graduate recruitment job candidates

This document is intended as a guide for fresh graduates who wish to create a CV or improve an existing CV. Please bear in mind it is only a guide based on our experience in the market place. The market is very competitive and CV driven and the better your CV the more interviews you are likely to get. With most graduates willing to re-locate all over the UK competition for places is very tough, however based on our experience hopefully these tips will better improve your chances!

General Advice

It is always a good idea to get into the mind set of not assuming that people will understand abbreviations / internal or industry specific jargon.

Use basic fonts which can be clearly read and are in common use, Arial and Times New Roman are two good choices. We recommend that the font size should be between 11 – 12 and that the colour is kept to black.

Avoid the temptation to use fancy graphics, tables, pictures or bright colours. It’s worth remembering that not all computers have the latest version of Word and keeping it simple will ensure more chance of backwards compatibility.

Try and get a trusted friend / relative to proof read the document for spelling or grammatical errors.

What you need to include to get started  

Qualifications with dates, subjects studied, grades and establishment where they were undertaken. It’s very important to include information on all modules completed for each year as it will provide a greater insight in to your experience.

Details of any professional memberships

Dates of employment – where possible including the months and years.  Even if these are part time roles include this information, it shows that you have work based experience, have worked in a team potentially etc

If you have gained any relevant experience associated to your degree such as an industry placement ensure the details of this are fully explained outlining all of the areas of experience you have gained and what you were doing clearly.

Laying out your CV

We would suggest that you start with your name and contact details at the top of the CV – you should include landline, mobile, email and home address where possible.

It is usually a good idea to write a short profile which gives information as to your current situation and aspirations for the future. You can also use this to highlight the type of position you are looking for following Graduation.

Starting with the most recent first and working back, quote subjects studied, dates, grades and establishment studied at. As discussed above it is important to include details of all of the modules you have completed during the course of your degree as this will better explain your experience.  With regards to earlier qualifications such as GCSE and A-Levels simply list the subjects and grades you obtain.

Bullet points of significant achievements throughout your career, or perhaps in your personal life/hobbies – quote facts and figure where possible. Even if your hobby isn’t relevant to the position quite often experiences outside of work shape us as individuals and it allows you to highlight any areas where you have shown discipline/dedication to succeed, particularly perhaps in a team sport where you have to work together to achieve a combined goal which is certainly relevant to the work place. Also the person looking at your CV may share the same interests and this could swing things in your favour!

If you have any work experience relevant to the role you are applying for make sure this is marked clearly on your CV. Try not to include any experience that you can’t quantify or discuss in more detail at interview. It sounds straight forward but it can catch you out and there is nothing worse than being stumped in an interview.

Always include any work experience even part time roles not applicable to the position you are applying for as mentioned above. Always starting with your most recent employer first and working backwards, you need to include:-

Dates with months, job title, name of company and a short description of what the company do.

Then you need to state your responsibilities and achievements in that role if the positions are not that relevant to the role you are applying for then you perhaps do not need to go in to loads of detail.

Be sure to include details of any training that you have undertaken. You can also include/ mention computer packages that you are competent with. This is particularly relevant in the case of engineering graduates who are seeking a career in design as this is an opportunity to highlight what 3D computer aided design packages you have used such as Solid Works, Pro-E etc. The organisation that are reviewing your CV may use the same package that you have used in your degree and that could make all the difference with regards to obtaining an interview.

This should be easy for you! , It’s always good to finish a CV by including some information on any interests you have. It is another opportunity for you to mention any potential successes, and again potentially experience of working/playing within a team to achieve success which are skills and experiences that could potentially be applied to the work place as mentioned above.

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