As employers and recruitment agencies are inundated with graduate CVs, it is imperative for any aspiring job seeker to make sure theirs is in pristine condition to get the attention it deserves. Common CV myths, such as holding everything on one page, hinder young grads and job hunters before they’ve even put a foot through the door…Here’s a recap to help you stay ahead of the game:
1. Make sure your contact details stand out: highlight them in bold, place your mobile phone number before your email address (make sure your email is professional – get rid of any funny/novelty usernames and create a named account if you don’t have one already), say when you’re available on each line…Many candidates focus solely on the content of the CV, and although that is important, you mustn’t overlook your header – this is your chance to make your name stick in the minds of the reader. Include your career objective, a one-liner, at the top to show the employer what you’re after.
2. Layout is key – if you pack a page with too much information, it looks too busy and messy. Instead, make the most of white space to emphasise certain points on your CV. Bullet points, instead of long-winded paragraphs, also work best. Divide and conquer: if you place your previous work experience into skill-based categories, as opposed to job listings, you can highlight the most relevant achievements, without wasting valuable page space.
3. Mention course modules and achievements: If you don’t hold that much work experience, make sure you mention your course modules and university achievements, whether that’s critical thinking applied to essays, presentation skills in seminars, or helping to run a society you joined.
4. Make sure that whatever you emphasise holds relevance to the job. There is no point in claiming you have done X or Y, if you don’t mention the end result those actions had on the task at hand.
5. Try to use action verbs as much as you can and speak of yourself in the 1st person – “I budgeted”, “I managed”, “I led” etc. Pick up on the keywords in the job description and try to include these – or synonyms – in your set of skills, where you can. Be sure to remain truthful on your CV – inventing or over-selling yourself will not play in your favour, come interview stage.
6. Remember to read your CV out aloud to catch out awkward phrases and convoluted paragraphs. Have a couple of friends and family members look over it to get an idea of what may need tweaking. Make sure you don’t go over 2 pages though, as that is the common maximum length for graduate CVs.