CV Writing Tips and Assistance for Graduates

You can never underestimate how important it is to have a well written Curiculum Vitae. An employer or agency may have to sift through hundreds if not thousands of CVs with possibly only 20 seconds to look at each. It’s important that your CV is straight to the point, logical and presented well. You could be the perfect candidate for a role but with a poorly written CV you’ll be struggling to get interviews.

The general layout of a CV

Personal Details
(Name, phone number, email address, postal address (work permit if relevant))

Employment (Experience/work experience)
(Employer name, dates of employment, job title, bullet pointed duties)
– Include paid and voluntary placements and if there are any large gaps in employment, justify them.
– Sometime it’s useful to explain what the employer does in one line, possibly include a web address.
– Use facts and figures, eg managed a budget of … made monthly sales of £20k etc

Education
(Institution name, dates of attendance, qualifications details (include modules), grades attained)
– Include all education back to GCSEs, missing any will suggest poor results.

Achievements
(Achievement, dates, explanation/duties)
– Be careful in this section. Only include if recent and relevant.
– Something like ‘president of university arts society’ etc not ‘passed cycling proficiency’.
– Keep it short, certainly no more than 3 lines each acheivement.

Interests & Activities
– Keep this short, just a paragraph listing your interests..

References
(Name, job title, company, postal address, phone number, email address)
– These however are usually not required at the inital application stage.

Please note – if you have no relevant experience then education should come before experience.

Our top tips for graduate CV writing

1. Presentation is key – Stick to 2 pages. Anything over this just looks messy and probably won’t get read. It must also be over 1 page otherwise it just looks like you have very little to say about yourself. Use bold format to highlight sections & titles, photos are unecessary, black and white is fine, spacing makes it easier to read, fonts should look professional eg – Arial, Times New Roman. Use your university career service or there are a number of premium CV services out there and some of them give free CV reviews.

2. Use Keywords – If you put your CV on a job site or CV database then recruiters will search the databases by using keywords. Typically things like programs are important; Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Photshop, CAD, also list your modules and the types of jobs that you would like.

3. Write in the 3rd person but cut out the pronouns – This is a much debated subject but we recommend you write this way. We recommend you cut out the pronouns because it’s unecessary and saves space. eg An ambitious graduate with … (not I am an ambitious graduate or he/she is an ambitious graduate)

4. Use a spell check – There’s no excuse for spelling errors and employers will look down upon this. Use a computer spell check and get someone else to read it for you.

5. Work in reverse Chronological order – Put employment and education with the most recent at the top.

6. Tailor your CV for every application – It’s perfectly normal for a graduate to apply for different types of roles. It’s really important to highlight your relevant experience and skills for each application.

7. Feel comfortable with your CV – when you get an interview a lot of the questions are going to be about your CV. So if you’ve used complicated terms you’re going to need to explain them.




Graduate CV Writing Services

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