When you complete your degree and begin applying for full-time, professional roles, one of your main priorities will be a high-quality, well-written CV. Most graduate jobs will receive hundreds of applicants, or even more, so it’s essential to spend time to make yours stand out from the crowd – after all, it’s a big one!
But don’t fret. Increase your chances of being called for an interview by implementing these three tips to add immediate impact to your graduate CV:
It might feel convenient to use the same CV for multiple job applications, but if you don’t tailor your CV to each specific role, the recruiter will reject your application without a second thought.
Applicants who tailor their CV to the role by matching their core skills and relevant experience to the job requirements, whilst also showing that they’ve researched the company, stand a far better chance of progressing to the interview stage.
Graduates commonly make the mistake of not tailoring their CV, which you can use to your advantage - if you do target yours closely, you’ll have an immediate advantage over your fellow applicants.
As you know, there’s likely to be a large volume of applications for every graduate job that you apply to. This means that recruiters will have a limited amount of time to read all of the CVs and will usually resort to a quick scan of each, in order to make a rough initial shortlist.
To ensure that your CV is scannable, you should work on a targeted, punchy profile and core skills section that summarizes your most valuable assets. Your profile should succinctly but powerfully convince recruiters that they should spend some of their limited time reading more about you.
Utilize high-quality formatting to make the most important information stand out. For example, bullet points can help to emphasize your core skills and achievements, and, as a graduate, you may want to use bold text to highlight your most impressive qualifications.
Additionally, do remember that long sections of text with no breaks make it very difficult to scan a document. Try to break up sections by leaving enough white space between paragraphs and prioritizing bullet points over long sentences.
While listing your skills in your CV is important, quantifying those skills with actual examples, facts and figures will be much more impressive.
Draw upon tangible examples, results, and achievements from any work placements or part-time jobs that you’ve undertaken, as well as your University experience, so that recruiters are more inclined to believe in your capabilities.
Even non-work-related skills and achievements - think creative projects, team sports or long-term club memberships - can also help you to get the edge over other applicants. Personal achievements such as awards and responsibilities in these areas may help you to get a step above an otherwise similarly qualified candidate.
If you use these three-pointers when you write your CV, you should be able to add immediate impact and ensure that your CV grabs the attention of graduate recruiters.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.
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