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I just graduated from university. How do I write a graduate CV?

I just graduated from university. How do I write a proper CV? — Sarah M.

Answer:

If you’ve just graduated, you probably have some idea of how to write a CV, especially if you’ve held any part-time jobs throughout your studies.

Remember that the purpose of a CV is to show prospective employers why you’re suitable for a vacancy. As a result, some essential sections must be referenced on all CVs, including:

  • Name and contact details

  • Employment history

  • Education and qualifications

As you’re a graduate and just starting your professional career, you can get creative with your CV format to make your best skills apparent from the beginning.

Your graduate CV should always start with your name and contact details. Now that you’ve graduated from university, it’s time to switch from your university email address to a popular email provider. A university email address will only emphasize your newness to the job search, so create a Gmail account to appear more professional. An exception to this is if you graduated from a prestigious university that would get you noticed ‒ an Oxford email address is something worth flaunting.

If you have little or no work experience, place your education and qualifications next as your degree is your biggest selling point. Zoom in on modules, specialisms, projects and assignments to showcase your knowledge. Remember to keep your points tailored to the requirements listed in the vacancy too.

Up next is your employment history section. For each position, detail the dates of employment, your job title, the company, an outline of the role and your key responsibilities and achievements. Again, keep your points targeted towards the role you’re applying for.

If you have very little to add in this section, you can always retitle it to ‘placements and projects’ or ‘placements, projects and employment history’ to compensate for your lack of experience. List any work or volunteering placements or impressive projects from in or out of university like a position of employment.

Your CV should be two A4 pages in length, but as you’re just starting your career, you might find you’re a little short. If you have extra room, feel free to include a ‘hobbies and interests’ section at the end of your CV, but only add hobbies that add weight and value to your application.

Most students fall into the trap of listing run-of-the-mill hobbies, such as socialising, reading, sports and computer gaming, without explaining why these interests make them more employable.

Pick about three hobbies that are either directly related to the industry you want to enter or showcase your soft skills. Bullet point them and add details which explain the skills you have developed and refined. For example:

  • Computer gaming: A favoured pastime which refines valuable soft skills, such as perseverance, patience and strategic thinking. It improves mental and creative prowess.

When writing your graduate CV, remember that the prospective employer doesn’t expect you to have a fully-fledged set of skills yet – no one expects you to be an expert straight out of university. Make the most of the soft skills you’ve developed throughout education and keep the requirements listed on the job description front of mind at all times so that you show the employer why you’re suitable for the position.

Is your graduate CV ready for your job search? Find out with a free CV critique today.

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