How to polish up your graduate CV – advice from Inspiring Interns

Guest BloggerCVs, Final Year, First Year, Graduates, Postgraduate, Second Year

Are you ready to apply for graduate jobs? If so, when was the last time you updated your CV?

If you have been in full-time education and haven’t applied for any part-time roles during your studies, you may not have created one at all.

A stand-out CV is essential for securing your dream job, especially if it is in a competitive field. As you’ll be up against hundreds of other graduates with the same degree and skillset, a polished CV could give you the edge over other applicants.

Here are some key aspects you need to know about creating a polished graduate CV:

Make it look professional

Employers go through hundreds of CVs each day when hiring. The visual format of the document will either entice them to read it or simply put it to one side.

While the aim is to catch their attention, steer clear from extravagant fonts, bold colours and imagery. Instead, keep it slick, neat and organised. In doing so, it will give the indication that you’re serious about the role, which instantly makes you a more appealing candidate. Also, if you’re handing an employer a physical copy of your CV, ensure that it’s printed on high-quality paper and enclosed in a sealed envelope.

Include an ‘About Me’ section

Including an ‘About Me’ section at the top of your CV gives you the chance to instantly introduce yourself to the employer. Include quirky facts about you that could help you stand out. Are you multilingual? Have you travelled in your gap year? What are your hobbies?

Alter your CV to suit each job you apply for

How many times have you applied for job roles and not tailored your CV to the specific job spec?

Employers notice.

They’re aware that you’re probably sending out your CV to hundreds of corporations, without paying attention to the specifics of the job role and the company you’re applying to.

Be sure to tweak your CV to match the job spec by mirroring their choice of wording and referring to the required skills and experience needed for the job. This simple tactic proves you have read the specification thoroughly and understand what is required of you.

Make your CV readable

Employers spend only a few seconds reading each CV to determine whether the candidate is suitable for the job.

You haven’t got time to waffle, so it’s best to cut to the chase. Keep it concise – we recommend condensing it to one page and certainly no more than two pages.

Use short sentences, as well as headers and bullet points. In doing so, the employer will be drawn to the important information that signifies that you’re the ideal candidate for the job or internship, as opposed to getting lost in useless information.

Use professional references

At the end of each CV, you should always include a brief mention that referees are available upon request. It would always be wise to include professionals such as your university tutor, current employer or mentor, as opposed to your friends or family. Always ensure you ask the individual’s permission before you pass over their details to be contacted by the employer.

Spell check

Finally, always carry out a thorough check of your CV for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Such a small error could give the impression that you don’t care for accuracy, which is a key skill in any job role. It would also be worth running the document through an online grammar checker such as Grammarly, so nothing is missed.

Still haven’t found your ideal graduate job? Why not browse through Inspiring Interns’ job board to discover a wide range of graduate jobs and internships in a variety of sectors? You’ll discover marketing jobs, finance jobs, design jobs and much more.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

Written by Laura Bill, who works for Inspiring Interns. Inspiring Interns is the first recruitment company to use the innovative technique of video CVs to place young jobseekers into employment. Since their founding in 2009, they have placed over 7,500 graduates into the workplace, as well as providing useful advice for recent graduates and employers.