Graduate CV writing can be tricky especially if you have very little work experience so I have put together this post to give you a bit of a guidance regarding how to get started and best sell yourself and demonstrate your abilities without simply listing a lot of trite overused words.
How to get started with Graduate CV Writing
So how do I get started when graduate CV Writing well I start with the job type. I recommend starting by looking at the types of jobs you want to secure. This is a simple bit of research using the lovely google or another great resource is The National Careers Service where you will find banks of job descriptions for a wide range of career options. When you are doing this research you are really just looking for the skills that are required for each type of job. You don’t need to be finding specific roles that you want to apply for necessarily at this stage. Once you have a few job descriptions make a list of all of the essential criteria or key skills that they say they are looking for and then start to cross reference with your abilities and experience. This should pretty quickly highlight to you areas of strength and weakness with graduate CV writing and give you a good starting point.
Writing your key skills section
Having done the research suggested above you should now be ready to write the key skills section. I recommend starting here as it is based in fact and will go on to inform other sections such as the personal statement as it will help to define your personal brand.
Take your list of cross referenced skills and choose those that came up most often in your job search and that you can most effectively demonstrate. I would suggest having no more than about 6 skills that you want to highlight to the recruiter.
Use bullet points and make each point two lines long. If each point is roughly balanced in length your CV will look far more appealing and be easier to read. This also gives you a good guide as to how much information you need to include
Try to always give an example and write in the 3rd person so that the information remains professional and not too personalised for example rather than:
In my last role I had to manage my own time and plan activities so that I met key deadlines
Demonstrates excellent time management skills with the ability to organise own workload effectively; as a Customer Service Assistant consistently processed orders within agreed service delivery schedules
You might like to change the title of this header to Key Skills and Achievements and use it to highlight either professional, academic or extra curricular success, but be sure that each achievement is linked to a relevant skill. For example:
Developed leadership and organisational skills when selected as Captain of the university football team; successfully motivated the team to achieve sporting success as well as organising large social and fundraising events
I recommend keeping the formatting very simple in this section. If you have any work experience include it here. You can also include voluntary experience, but be sensible and if you have held lots of short positions only include thse that are relevant. If you have been in full time study you can choose what you include as no one will expect to see employment dates that run concurrently as they understand you have been studying. If you really don’t have any experience then leave this section out, but in that case you will need to really accentuate the skills section.
My advice would be to try and avoid simply repeating a job description and instead use each point to demonstrate capability for example rather than:
Responsible for meeting and greeting customers
Creating a positive and welcoming environment for customers and delivering quality customer service at all times; communicating clearly and effectively to understand and meet their expectations
I think this is best written last although it will come first… This is because what you write about yourself throughout the CV should inform how you summarise who you are. The statement should not be a covering letter or something akin to your UCAS statement. The opening statement should be short, snappy and to the point. It should highlight what you can bring to a business and not what you want or expect.
An example might be:
A focused and dedicated graduate with a BA (hons) in Marketing who has consistently excelled both academically and within professional environments whether employed or as a volunteer. Has a commitment to success and is truly passionate about building a strong career within Marketing and delivering results for an organisation through continued learning and hard work.
Graduate CV Layout
When planning the layout of your graduate CV I would recommend the following:
Key Skills and Achievements
Education and Qualifications
Additional Relevant Skills
References Available on Request