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How to create a graduate CV

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Are you eagerly preparing to take the leap from university into the professional world? The prospect of creating your first CV may feel both exhilarating and daunting. But fear not!

In this comprehensive guide, we're here to walk you through the process of creating a graduate CV that will not only showcase your potential but also boost your confidence as you embark on your career journey.

What is a graduate CV?

A graduate CV is your gateway to introducing yourself to hiring managers or recruiters as a recent graduate. It serves as a tool to make a positive impression and stand out from the crowd in job applications.

Unlike traditional CVs, a graduate CV shines a spotlight on your education, academic achievements, and skills and experience rather than an extensive work history.

Your graduate CV should achieve the following:

  • Introduce you as a promising candidate for the job.

  • Highlight your relevant skills and achievements.

  • Tell the story of your professional experience.

How long should a graduate CV be?

Your graduate CV should strike a balance between being concise and comprehensive, typically spanning one to two pages.

The goal is to include pertinent information that effectively showcases your qualifications and skills without overwhelming the hiring manager.

What to include in a graduate CV?

When creating your graduate CV, ensure that you incorporate the following essential elements:

  • Personal information

  • Personal statement

  • Employment history/work experience

  • Volunteering experience

  • Professional qualifications

  • Education

  • Skills

  • Achievements

Should I include my GCSE grades on my CV?

While including GCSE grades on your graduate CV is optional, it can be advantageous if your grades are strong and relevant to the job you're applying for. However, prioritise highlighting higher education achievements and relevant experiences.

Steps to creating an effective graduate CV

Crafting an effective graduate CV requires attention to detail and a strategic approach.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:

1. List your preferred contact details

At the top of your CV, include your contact details:

  • Full name

  • Address

  • Email address (Ensure it looks professional)

  • Phone number (Preferably mobile)

  • Website or social media links (Optional but recommended for professionals with relevant online portfolios)

2. Write an ‘About me’ section

Create a personal statement that succinctly introduces yourself and highlights your unique qualities. This section should be a brief paragraph outlining who you are, your professional strengths, and your career aspirations. Be sure to tailor your CV and personal statement for each job application to align with the specific role.

3. Detail your education

Highlight your educational achievements, starting with your university accomplishments in reverse chronological order. Include relevant details such as:

  • Degree

  • University and years of study

  • Degree classification

  • Key Skills and notable modules

  • A Level (If applicable)

  • GCSE (If applicable, prioritise mathematics and English)

  • Other higher education diplomas

4. Include any work experience

If you have any work experience, whether paid or voluntary, create a dedicated section on your CV. Include details such as:

  • Job title

  • Company name and location

  • Dates you worked there

  • Your responsibilities and duties

  • Notable achievements or results

5. Add a reference section

End your CV with a reference section. If not requested in the job application, simply state 'References available on request.' If requested, include the full names, companies, relationships to you, and contact details of your referees.

Be sure to always seek permission from your referees beforehand.

Top tips for creating a graduate CV

Keep it concise

Condense your CV into one or two pages to focus on relevant information that captures the hiring manager's attention.

Opt for a simple layout

Choose a clear, easy-to-read layout with straightforward design elements to ensure clarity.

Be consistent in your formatting

Maintain consistency in formatting, including bullet points and headings alignment, throughout your CV.

List your highlights

Present a concise list of your educational and career highlights to enhance readability.

Use easy-to-understand language

Employ precise language to articulate your capabilities effectively and provide evidence to support your qualifications.

Cross-reference the job spec

Align your CV with the job description by incorporating relevant keywords and attributes.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

Thoroughly review your CV to rectify errors and refine phrasing, ensuring a polished and professional presentation.

Creating your graduate CV is an empowering step towards launching your career. Remember, each section of your CV tells a story of your potential and aspirations.

With perseverance and confidence, you're well-equipped to create a standout CV that paves the way for exciting opportunities in your professional journey.

If you are currently seeking new job opportunities, we invite you to explore the amazing jobs we are currently recruiting for. To speak with one of our experienced recruitment consultants, please get in touch with us today!