Writing a CV as a recent graduate can be overwhelming - you have spent a few years studying. To help you cut it down, we've chosen 10 things you should avoid on your graduate CV. To get yourself ahead of the game, check out what recruiters think and discover how they choose a successful CV in 30 seconds!

1. Focusing on education

School and university have your main focus for the past 17 years but now it's time to start thinking about the world of work. Writing an academic biography is an important thing to avoid on your graduate CV. If you do not have a lot of experience, focus on how you have developed important industry skills like giving presentations and working in a team.

2. Writing an essay

A CV should ideally be one or two pages. After all those essays at university, it can be tricky to sell yourself and your work experience succinctly. Being able to keep your CV concise and informative is a great writing skill, so keep in mind.

Girl at desk


3. Underselling yourself

Underselling yourself is one of the top three things to avoid in a graduate CV. Just listing your skills is not enough - tell your prospective employer why each is relevant and relevant. Any experience, no matter how small, can be useful in an application so that you can learn during your time at university (even if it was from behind a SU bar!).

4. Lacking confidence

Underconfidence is something to be avoided at all costs if it's on your CV or in a job interview. You may know what you are doing, and you will not convince anyone. Read through your CV and swap "I think" with "I know", or "could be useful" with "will be useful".

5. Writing like an academic

After years of writing academic papers and essays, this can be a hard habit to break. Read through your LinkedIn feed to pick up career-focused language and edit out any reader.

6. Forgetting keywords

The language you use is vitally important. Using keywords and phrases from the industry or job specification shows you know what they're talking about and what they want from you. Employers will be able to read dozens, if not hundreds of applications for a single role.

7. Not using your university's careers department

If you've never stepped foot in your careers department, now is the time. Sit down with your CV and see what advice they can give you. As well as helping with your resume, you can usually find assistance with your job search and you will have lots of interview tips to divulge.

8. Lacking the X-Factor

Have a read through your CV - is it boring you? If the answer is "yes" then it's definitely going to bore your employer. Trying throwing in some interesting examples of things you did during your work experience and use some fun language.

9. Bore formatting

While we're told not to or at during our time at school and university, many employers definitely do judge a book by its cover. Instead of predictable paragraphs and the overused Times New Roman on your CV, opt for a modern style with bullet points, shorter sentences and clean font.

10. Only writing one CV

If you have a job in your field, consider writing a separate CV for each job you apply for. Each opening will have different requirements so that your CV is tailored to match.

Hold your head high, show off your skills and get cracking on that CV. Once you have a job you will not have a long time - how's that for motivation?



Andrew Arkley is the founder of PurpleCV, one of the UK's leading CV writing providers - with over 15 years' experience in HR and recruitment at a senior level and having conducted thousands of interviews, he knows exactly what it takes to land a job! Andrew has personally written about 3000 CVs and since its inception, PurpleCV has grown rapidly to encompass a UK-based team committed to providing market-leading CVs for any job seeker or individual.

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