How To Get Your CV Noticed

Your CV is arguably the most important weapon in your fight for a graduate job. You must use it wisely.

Employers spend very little time (30 seconds or less!) glancing at your CV and it is, therefore, of paramount importance that it is totally up to scratch as well as having the ability to make a lasting impression within such a limited time slot, no mean feat!

Here's what to include.

1. Personal Statement

This is a short statement at the beginning of your CV to sell yourself. This will include your skills, experience and personal qualities. Tailor the statement to the requirements of each and every job that you apply for.

Use 1st person, 3rd person sounds forced. Keep it between 50 and 200 words and avoid, clichés such as ‘I’m a team player’ like the plague.

Read this blog on how to create the perfect personal statement. 

2. Relevant work experience and work experience

Why the separation?

● ‘Relevant Experience’ is your chance to really highlight to the employer that you are the man (or woman) for the job and that you have experience that will help you in the role.

For instance, if you’re applying for a Marketing role, and you have done an internship in that area, wack that in to the Relevant Work Experience section - it’s your main selling point, so you want this to jump out at the employer.

● Working at a shop/café/pub is less essential to a job in Marketing, but DEFINITELY worth putting in to your CV since it shows all the general skills that all employers should be scouting e.g. teamwork, communication, time keeping, work ethic etc.

There is lots to be learnt from jobs in pubs, bars, shops etc. Read how your stopgap job can help you get a graduate job here

If you’re applying for a job where you don’t strictly have relevant experience, leave the Relevant Experience section out entirely, and put everything under Work Experience; putting something fairly irrelevant under the relevant work can just highlight your lack of suitability/indicate that you don’t understand the role in the first place. Both are bad.

In both of these sections work experience doesn’t just have to mean paid work. Volunteering positions or are equally valid!

3. Some tips to bear in mind:

● Make clear what your individual contribution was (I presented to 100 people vs. we presented)

● Use active verbs (created a database, rather than a database was created)

● Be specific (more ‘I generated an increase in profit of 20%’ than ‘Proven track-record at increasing profits’)

● Finally, resist the temptation to be overly honest

4. Other qualifications

Definitely worth including if you have any e.g. foreign languages, basic computer programming, driving license- anything that you think will hold weight with your employer.

5. Interests

Only put your interests if they are interesting
! There is no point listing that you’re sociable or that you enjoy going to the cinema for the sake of it.

There are three reasons for putting interests in:

● To grab attention! Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary can help you to stand out from the crowd: skydiving, beekeeping or henna art are all talking points.

● If your interests are relevant to the job - e.g. current affairs if you are applying for a job in journalism.

● Anything showcasing employability skills - e.g. basketball shows teamwork, being part of the debate team shows persuasive skills.

If you put reading or going to the cinema, be specific about what types books/films you like to read/see. Steer clear putting too many passive/solitary hobbies - reading, stamp collecting and listening to music may have the employer questioning your social skills.

Now to put your CV to good use! 


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