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For newly graduated candidates, writing your first professional CV can be challenging. It’s tough to know how exactly you should structure your CV, what to include and how to compete with all the experienced job seekers on the market.

Here are a few pointers to help you get it right:

Don’t over complicate it

To start with don’t over complicate things; keep your CV nice and simple with a clean font and logical layout. This will ensure that recruiters and employers can easily read your CV and find the information they are looking for. Stay away from over-elaborate fonts, logos images and complex designs, as they will make your CV hard to read and detract from the all-important content. The easier you make your CV to read, the more time people will spend reading it.

Do your research

In order to make a CV that will appeal to your chosen potential employers, you must first ascertain exactly what qualities they expect from a candidate. Visit company websites and browse through relevant job adverts to make a list of the most frequently appearing candidate requirements. Once you have a list of their most valued skills, experience and knowledge; add as many of them as possible to your CV and make them prominent.

Format for high impact

Recruiters will only spend a few seconds on an initial scan of your CV before deciding whether or not they will read it in full. To make sure you pass this early test, you must pack the top quarter of your CV with the most relevant terms and key words to create an instant impact. Define sections clearly with bold headings and adequate spacing, and break text up with short paragraphs and bullet points to ensure a pleasant reading experience.

Highlight transferrable skills

One of the biggest problems graduates face is the lack of work experience compared to seasoned workers on the job market. And with many job adverts specifically asking for work experience, this can be a real struggle for some. If you want to compensate for your lack of work experience then you simply have to be a bit creative and draw transferable workplace skills from other areas of your life. For example, you could easily use school projects, work placements, volunteer work or vocational courses to demonstrate skills such as planning, organisation and teamwork.

Sell yourself

In order to grab recruiters’ attention on the graduate job market, you need to really sell yourself and don’t be shy of shouting about your achievements. Head your CV up with a punchy personal profile that summarises all of your key offerings and shows the value you can add to an employer. Be sure to pack in some key achievements, backed up with facts and figures to show the impact you have made at previous posts. Always send your CV accompanied by a short sharp cover letter to persuade the recipient to open your CV in the first place.

Add a little extra flare

Often employers won’t have much to compare graduates against each other beyond their grades, so adding some impressive extra-curricular activities can really set you apart from the competition. Steer clear of run-of-the-mill interests such as “socialising with friends” or “going to the cinema” and opt for hobbies that are either aligned to your desired career, or simply impressive achievements. For example, maybe you run marathons or write a weekly blog – they would be great interests to add. Also, anything involving charity fund raising or event organisation show is excellent to show that you are hard working and savvy.


6 CV writing tips for graduates

Reference: StandOut CV

  • As a Global IT director with General Motors, it’s critical that I source high calibre technical candidates every time. ERS bring such a level of confidence and integrity to the pipeline of candidates that distinguishes them from everyone else in the market. ERS is about relationship building, getting to know our company, our management team and our requirements. They assist tailoring job specifications to ensure the widest range of candidates are attracted to the job profiles. ERS hands on screening of candidates means that we have an excellent ratio of interviews to job offers and subsequently, shorter ramp-up cycles, improved business value, increased efficiency and low attrition. Candidates are not just screened based on their CVs, ERS invests a lot of time to get to know the candidates and this profiling gets best results, both for my teams and for the prospective candidates. Our local team has hired successfully through ERS from multiple countries which means our teams are also very diverse in their skills, experiences and cultures. The technical roles filled range from Senior managers, Architects, Java developers, Mainframe, Middleware, SAP, High-performance computing, Mobile Development, Infrastructure, scrum masters and a wide range of global operational roles. Global IT Director General Motors

  • ERS, part of the Casseo Group were engaged on a critical programme aimed at further enhancing Dell’s renowned Supply Chain model for outbound logistics in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). The ERS team immediately “hit the ground running” and added immense value in augmenting the internal Dell IT team seeking to expedite this critical project.  They brought a strategic and realistic view of the possibilities for the project, as well as a professional focus on delivery of a quality product to agreed timescales.  They managed a wide range of internal relationships, as well as cementing the external commitments needed from Dell’s partners to make the project a reality.  Throughout the project life cycle, they always brought a practical perspective to the table when wrestling with a complex project, and executed creative and innovative solutions to ensure success. A very worthwhile partnership which I would eagerly recommend to those in search of external expertise and commitment in meeting their project commitments. Dell

  • GE Financial Insurance (now Genworth Financial) engaged ERS as part of the Casseo group, to assist in the delivery of a complex cross-functional project. The project entailed managing the IT Infrastructure and providing IT Support to assists a dedicated debtor recovery team that was set up specifically for the project. Based in Birmingham, ERS leveraged excellent project management and technical skills to quickly win the confidence of the local team. Over a period of time, ERS as part of the Casseo group worked hand-in-hand with this team to deliver an outstanding result where significant more debts were recovered than had been thought possible.  I have no hesitation in recommending ERS and the Casseo Group. Programme Manager, Genworth Financial

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