How to Write a Graduate CV

5 Essential tips


How to Write a Graduate CV - 5 Essential tips

We write a great number of CVs for Graduates for obvious reasons.  It’s an intensely competitive job market and you need your CV to stand out from the competition.

Another reason that graduates are asking us for help is that it can be difficult to write a CV if your experience is largely limited to school and university.

I want to talk about that specifically before giving my 5 tips for writing a graduate CV.

Many graduates have worked through their studies. Others have taken years off and earned some money, or taken a trip abroad, either to do some voluntary work of just have some plain old-fashioned good times. Some have gained valuable work experience during their course that gives them something to shout about in their CV. However, many graduates, well, they graduated. They have been through the sausage machine of education, worked hard, had some fun and have emerged at the other end with a shiny degree and photo of themselves wearing a rented mortarboard. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But if you feel that you don’t have a lot to put in your CV other than your qualifications, how do you give your CV the “sizzle” it needs?

The answer is: talk about the future. Anyone looking to hire a graduate is looking for one thing: POTENTIAL.

Don’t write a bland, personal statement about how great you are. Rather, tell the recruiter why you have chosen that company, that career, and what you will do for the business if you get hired. If you haven’t had an amazing internship in New York demonstrate the skills that you have acquired during your education. So, for example, explain your ability to in draw conclusions from large amounts of data or your experience in working effectively with others. Let them see your passion and enthusiasm. Let them have an insight into the potential you have to be a future leader of the business.

In summary, and whatever your background, these are my five key tips to remember when writing a Graduate CV:

1. Show the recruiter the value of your experiences both in education and in life. Talk about your charity walk up Kilimanjaro but more importantly use that to illustrate the fact that you never give up, work brilliantly in a team and in that particular case must have very strong thighs. Focus on achievements rather than tasks. Perhaps you ran a tuck shop at school and raised enough money to redecorate the 6th Form Hut. That one was mine: entrepreneurial, can be trusted not to eat all of the Mars bars.

2. Explain why your degree has prepared you for your choice of future career. So, your degree in Ceramics means that you are ideally suited for a career in games design because you are highly creative. If you crafted a porcelain figurine of Sonic the Hedgehog even better.

3. Demonstrate the research you have undertaken and the insights you have gained into their business by referencing their expansion programmes and their last Quarter’s results. Employers’ like it if you can show them you have undertaken your due diligence.

4. Tell them about the future of their business with you in it. Your desire to work for them, your enthusiasm for a career in their line of work, and the commitment and hard work you will bring to the party. ‘Hard work’ is always a good phrase to include.

5. Make sure that your spelling and grammar is perfect. Errors in this area are particularly unwelcome in a graduate CV.

And of course, don’t forget the 3 Golden Rules of all CV Writing:

1. Never use the same CV twice – tailor the CV to the company and the opportunity.

2. Tick all of the boxes – deny the recruiter an excuse to not invite you to interview by illustrating how your experience, education and in this case your future ambitions dovetail perfectly with what they are looking for.

3. Tell the Truth!  

Please let me know what YOU think on this subject, and please forward this BLOG entry to your friends or family, if you think it will help them.  Thank you!

Of course, if you can’t face all of this work and REALLY want to stand out I will be happy to write a fantastic Graduate CV for you.  Just call me on +44(0)333 300 1296.


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