Dos and Don’ts of a Graduate CV

Quite simply, the graduate CV is the best chance you’ll get to present an employer with the skills, qualifications and experience that could win you interviews over thousands of other applicants. Unlike an application form that’s used to obtain basic information about you, a graduate CV is like an advertisement – it can help you stand out and get noticed by the recruiter or employer.A Skills-Based CVThe best graduate CV focuses on your skills, because a skills-based CV template can divert attention away from your lack of professional experience and towards other attributes. It converts your educational qualifications into relevant job skills, makes your CV compelling and saves time for employers who scan through thousands of CVs every day.A well-written graduate CV emphasises the skills that your degree and education have given you, which can help level the playing field against more experienced candidates.Ingredients for SuccessThe graduate CV capable of producing results will demonstrate evidence of your skills. It provides information under skill-based headings and keeps educational and work experience descriptions very brief.Before you create your CV, research your potential employer to know what skills you have that may be most relevant to them. It’s a good idea to organise the following information before you start writing your graduate CV:o Personal details. Complete contact information, including name, address, telephone numbers and email address.o Personal profile. Keep this brief and focused on your career goals.o Skills and Achievements. Identify headings that are most relevant to the position. Then include proof of your abilities under skill-based headings like, for example, ‘Business Awareness’ and ‘Teamwork and Leadership’. Many employers will look for ‘IT Skills’, which should be included if relevant.o Education. Present your education in reverse chronological order with your most recent qualifications first. Dates and names of institutions and locales are essential. It helps to highlight information on any relevant modules, dissertations or projects you’ve completed and the skills they helped develop.o Work experience. All experience, paid or voluntary, counts. This information is usually presented in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent employer. Since this could be a challenge for most graduates, it helps to focus on responsibilities, achievements, and examples of situations in which skills were used or developed. Using terminology relevant to the position you are applying for can give your CV a professional look as long as you don’t load it down with jargon.o References. It’s a good idea to include two references in your graduate CV – one academic and one professional. Be sure to include designation and full contact information for references. Some CV writers state ‘references available on request’, in particular if the employer has not specifically asked for them. Make sure you seek permission from your references before including them in your CV.Top Tips for your Graduate CV:o Don’t use a generic CV for all job searching. Instead, customise your CV for the specific position you’re seeking.o Do use an appropriate, professional-sounding email ID on your online CV, not something like ‘[email protected]’.o Don’t include irrelevant information. List your most relevant and transferable skills on the first page, and keep the whole document under two pages.o Do double check for any spelling and grammar mistakes in your CV before sending it out. Remember to present information in a clear and concise manner.o Don’t use fancy or coloured paper for printed copies of your CV. Use plain white paper, and print on one side of the page only.o Don’t include your marital status, age or gender on your CV unless it is relevant to the position.