Blog contributor: Ian Hooton
If you’re a graduate looking to dip your toes into the world of work for the first time, chances are you’ll be having quite a tough time. Competitiveness in the job market has never witnessed such intensity, recent figures suggesting that every graduate vacancy receives no fewer than 85 applications.
Of course, one way of standing out from the crowd and getting noticed in such a dog-eat-dog world is to produce a persuasive and engaging resume. So in this blog we show you how to ensure your CV is a winner – and hopefully, by the end, that dream career of yours will have edged ever closer…
Tailor your CV
So you have an idea of the type of job you’re looking for? In that case, it’s vital that you tailor your resume to suit. Enclose key skills and experience that your employer seeks which will mean your CV incorporates all the necessary information – there’s nothing worse than including unnecessary information.
Format is key!
Common knowledge among the recruitment profession is that an employer or recruiting manager will likely require only 30 seconds to scan a CV. Consequently, you need to ensure it is clear, simple to read and boasts a consistent format.
You must structure your CV logically. Start by including your personal details (home and email addresses, mobile phone number, etc.) followed by employment experience displayed in reverse chronological order i.e. latest experience first, and then add your education last. It is also important to be consistent with your layout and style so use easy to read fonts like Calibre, Arial or Helvetica and don’t use boxes. If you are dealing with recruitment consultants, they will need to change your CV into their branded format and take your name and contact details off the CV before they share it with their clients so make it easy for them.
We would also suggest that you send it over in a pdf format so that the content can’t be changed without your permission.
Paid or unpaid work experience!
Perhaps the best thing you can do with your CV is to stand out from the mountain of other A4 sheets of paper adorning the employer’s desk. Don’t let it disappear from the pile – get it to the top! Work experience is very important, with one in four graduates landing a job after completing a period of experience. Indeed, organising work experience or an internship with an employer you are interested in is a crucial part of the process of bagging that dream career. So include any work experience on your resume. Volunteering is also encouraged which shows initiative.
Fill in the gaps
Never leave any information out – recruiters will smell a rat from miles away. They will only guess what should be there and why you’ve left it out. Gaps can even result in a lost interview. So put it down (including all exam results).
Check, check, and triple check!
We’ve shown in a previous blog the importance of ensuring your CV possesses adept spelling and grammar. A misplaced apostrophe can mean the difference between a foot in the door and a cab ride home. Print off a copy and proofread it to death – even ask someone else to have a read, too. It is important that it makes sense, is focused at the job and genre you’re looking for and has no spelling and grammar errors.
Producing a successful CV that gets you noticed is vital in all walks of life, but is particularly key for graduates. Following the advice we have set out here should help you stand out from the crowd and on your way to bagging that dream job. Good luck!