Monday, December 22, 2014

The graduate’s guide to creating the perfect CV


A
good CV is essential when applying for graduate jobs. So taking the time to
perfect your CV is vital to get the job you want. A
well-crafted CV will show your career interests and highlight your most relevant
skills and experience in the way recruiters like. There is no quick fix when
writing your graduate CV, but the overall aim is to market yourself and your
skills to an employer and convince them to call you for an interview or
assessment centre.


 
 
 We
have created a 6-step guide to perfecting your CV.






Step 1: focus your message




Understand
what your CV actually needs to say. How you focus your CV will depend on the
graduate job and industry you’re applying to. Read
the job description and job adverts carefully. Use them to help you write your
CV. Emphasise any skills or experience you have that match the criteria they
are looking for.




Writing CVs for different types of graduate job

Whether your
target is a graduate scheme with an investment bank or a vacancy for a
graduate managing a shop, write a CV that is right for the job.
Many graduate recruiters hate CVs that are wacky or pompous.
Before you rush to download template CVs, here's a big warning: recruiters hate spam CVs – so you'll need to adapt your job application according to your skills, the employer, the market in which it sits and the role on offer.


First of all:


1) Read below for the basic differences between types of CV for graduates.


2) Get more specific information particularly about job applications within particular graduate career sectors.


3) Use this site to research employers – go to the employer hubs for tips on applications and interviews with leading graduate employers.


4) And then download your sample CV and adapt it using our tips below.


Style 1: the traditional CV – sells your track record

Most CVs used by students and graduates fall into this category – a
chronological or reverse-chronological account of your life and
education. Within this structure there are endless opportunities to
customise and target the information.


  • Write your name and contact details at the top.
  • If  you are are applying speculatively, state your job search objective clearly.
  • At this stage of your career, details of your education may be
    of most interest to potential employers. Unless you have loads of
    relevant work experience (or if you'd rather not give your grades too
    much prominence!), list your education at the top of the CV, in reverse
    chronological order. List any professional qualifications or training
    you've undertaken separately.
  • Write your work experience and employment history, again in
    reverse chronological order. Start with your present or most recent
    position, and work backwards.
  • For each position, describe your major duties and achievements,
    beginning each point with an action verb (eg 'Achieved', 'Increased',
    'Won'. Keep to the point and stressed what you've achieved.
  • Keep your career goals in mind as you write and, as you describe
    your duties and achievements, emphasise those which are most related to
    your desired job.

Style 2: the skills-based CV – sells your potential

If you want to draw more attention to the skills you have developed
than to the events that have made up your life, then perhaps consider
constructing a skills-based CV.


These CVs often include a personal statement or career objective near
the beginning. For example: ‘Motivated and academically gifted chemical
engineer seeking to use his industrial experience in a technical sales
career'. Only do it if you feel comfortable with approach. The rest of
the CV must contain considerable evidence to back up any such
assertions.


Another common feature of this type of CV is including a list of key
achievements. Only do this if you feel that it's the most effective way
to package your message. The main problem with these CVs is that they
can run the risk of sounding phoney or pompous if badly composed.


  • Write your name and contact details at the top.
  • This type of CV is well suited to people starting out in their
    careers, so you may want to state your job search objective clearly.
  • Write between three to five separate paragraphs, each one
    focusing on a particular skill or accomplishment, and each one with a
    relevant heading.
  • List these 'functional' paragraphs in order of importance, with the one most related to your career goal at the top.
  • Within each functional area, emphasise the most relevant accomplishments or results produced.
  • Add in a brief paragraph showing your work experience after the
    last functional area, giving dates, employer and job titles only.
  • Include your education in a separate section at the bottom of the CV, again in reverse chronological order.

Style 3: the combination CV: aka the great British compromise

You're perfectly free to create a CV which includes elements of both
traditional and skills-based types. Focus on the major aim of the
exercise: to produce a CV that meets your needs. And if this means a
wholly original hybrid, fair enough.


How off the wall can I be with a graduate CV?

Just occasionally you may feel the need to produce a CV that is
radically different from everybody else's. This is only recommended if
wackiness or 'creativity' is appropriate behaviour in the eyes of the
organisation that you are approaching. Chartered accountants, for
example, are not in this group but maybe advertising agencies are.


General tricks and tactics for a great graduate CV

  • Give the most space to the most important facts of your life, be they part-time jobs or degree course modules.
  • Make sure you can account for any chronological gaps in your CV – you may get some awkward questions otherwise.
  • Concentrate on your personal contribution to whatever it is you're writing about and stress achievements and outcomes.
  • Don't waffle! Include only relevant information, but take care
    to explain yourself clearly. If the employer has provided any guidance
    on length, make sure you meet the requirements. The standard length of a
    CV in the UK is two full pages, but this may vary internationally.
  • If you're e-mailing your CV, give it a sensible name – your own is always a good choice – not just 'CV.doc'.








Step 2: pick a CV format and stick to it




A
recruiter is likely to spend between 30 seconds and a minute scanning your CV.
This is long enough for them to spot any necessary skills they are looking for,
and also any spelling mistakes you may have made. So, it is crucial that you
always proofread your CV before sending it to a recruiter. First impressions
count! When you’re putting your CV together, ask yourself these three key
questions:
  1. Is it easy to read?
  2. Is the formatting consistent throughout?
  3. Does it represent my skills well?




Graduate
recruiters don’t waste time trying to locate hidden details, so your CV needs
to be logically structured and broken down into clearly marked, easily readable
sections. Aim for clarity. Choose a font that is easy to read. Consider
Calibri, Cambria or Arial.








Step 3: use the space on your CV wisely
The
maximum length of your graduate CV is two pages of A4 – there is no room to
waffle! So keep your CV to the point. Be logical – employers will read from the
beginning, so this is where the most relevant information needs to go to catch
the recruiter’s attention.










Step 4: fill in the gaps
Never leave
anything up to the imagination of a graduate recruiter. Gaps are highly
conspicuous on CVs and recruiters will spot them a mile off – they’ll be
looking for them when they check continuity and consistency.




Step 5: stand out from the crowd 

You’re competing against other graduates
for the very best positions. You’ve got to stand out from the crowd to get
noticed for your abilities or you will just get lost within the pile of other
identical applications and CVs. Showing any evidence of work experience and
skills development through extracurricular activities will always give you an
edge in a pile of CVs. Use your skills and experiences to your advantage and
sell yourself.




Step 6: check your CV carefully
Once
you have finished writing your CV print off a copy and read through it to make
sure you’re happy that it:


  1. makes sense
  2. is targeted to the job and employer
  3. shows you meet the employer’s minimum
    requirements
  4. has no spelling errors




For more help writing the perfect CV
check out targetjobs.co.uk




*Add your CV to your TARGETjobs profile

  • Make it easier to apply for jobs and internships on targetjobs.co.uk 
  • Receive personal invites to networking and skills events from TARGETjobs Events 
  • Be
    contacted direct by our team who recruit for specific vacancies on
    behalf of some of Europe's biggest and best graduate employers


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