The first, important step to getting dream graduate jobs is your CV – it needs to stand out. In this competitive job market you need to show how you’re different and why they should hire you as their intern. These five points will help you do just that.
When writing your CV make sure everything you’re including is relevant to the positions you’re applying for. The essential information must be instantly accessible; your degree, university and work experience. The information on your CV must be clear to read and easy to locate, as it may only be looked at for a number of seconds before the recruiter decides whether to ask you in for an interview or not.
There is no golden rule determining what should come first on your CV: experience or education. Go by what is most relevant. As a recent graduate you’re likely to want to highlight your degree over your experience, however if you do have relevant work experience put that first. If you studied humanities, for example, and are applying for a marketing role but have experience in CMS or social media management, your experience is more relevant and should be above your degree. If you did an internship or placement at university highlight this, including the skills you learned by doing it.
Your personality makes you stand out – and standing out is essential when looking for a graduate internship. It’s best to refrain from statements such as “I’m a team player” with “good communication skills”, and instead focus on facts you can back up from your experience. For example if you were a volunteer, use that as the facts to demonstrate how you honed your communication skills.
Also emphasize success you had in these areas, incorporating the use of numbers where possible when describing your achievements. By how much did you exceed your targets? How many people did you manage in the team? Another way to show personality and skills is in your CV itself – if you are a graphic design student make your CV look like an infographic, or if you’re wanting work as a content creator include links to articles you’ve had published.
It’s essential you have no spelling or grammatical errors. Triple check your CV yourself, and then ask a number of friends to check for you in case you missed something. You want to keep your writing succinct, and begin with action words like “presented to” rather than “I presented.” Bullet points help make it easier for the reader to digest the information.
Layout And Format
Research different layouts online and choose which you like best. Something with a clear structure that is easy to navigate is ideal. Having a strong, online presence helps you get a job, so show that in your CV by linking to your blog/online portfolio/previous projects. A one page CV is best, particularly as a graduate (once you’ve had a number of jobs you can justify having a two page CV). It’s best to save your document as a Word or PDF file, and remember to make the title professional – your employer will see it.
Start your CV with your name, contact details, and a short personal statement. Have your experience and qualifications easily located at the top of the document, with your interests and accomplishments towards the bottom. Although your interests and achievements are less significant, you want to highlight them as they add personality. Share your passions too, as they make you more unique (and can be a great conversation starter in the interview).
Now that your CV is excellent, it’s time to start applying for graduate jobs and internships!
About the author
Ben Rosen founded Inspiring Interns in 2009, opening its headquarters in Bloomsbury. Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency connecting talented graduates with top companies and start-up businesses in London, Manchester and the rest of the UK. They have kick-started the careers of over 5,000 young people since 2009 and continue to provide a professional filtering, recruitment and Careers Advice Service.
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