How to Create a Great Graduate CV

Creating a great graduate CV is often the first step in any graduate’s job hunt. Your CV is crucial in securing you an invite to interview so you need to get it right. Here’s what to do:


It’s important to focus on your skills

Employers want to see key skills that you should have already developed either as part of your degree or preferably through work experience. You need your work experience to act as evidence for these key skills.

So, what skills are employers looking for?

These are the key skills that you should be looking to highlight in your CV:

  • Self-management
  • Teamwork
  • Business and customer awareness
  • Problem solving
  • Communication and literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information Technology

TIP: You shouldn’t just list these skills as that will make your CV look very generic! It also suggests that you haven’t put much thought into it. It’s better to mention examples of these skills throughout your CV, for example in the work experience or achievements sections.

A great graduate CV looks…well, GREAT!

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  • Many graduate recruiters dislike CVs that are wacky and pompous. Be very careful if you’re going for something different and make sure that if you do, it suits the company and the role you are applying for.
  • Don’t put CURRICULUM VITAE at the top, don’t include a photo unless you are asked to and definitely don’t make any spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  • Don’t use Comic Sans. Just don’t.
  • A two-page CV is the standard length, so don’t go beyond that unless instructed otherwise.

Customise your CV

Employers don’t like blanket applications and they know how to spot them. Research the employer and, if you have the job description, consider it when tailoring your CV.

You can also connect with employers by engaging with them on social media and by meeting them at your university careers fairs and events on campus.

Borrow someone else’s eyes

It’s always a good idea to ask a friend, family member or your university careers department to look over your CV.

Take a look at the infographic below for more advice on creating a great graduate CV:

Infographic by TARGETjobs.

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