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Graduate CV Checklist

Your student life is coming to an end, graduation is drawing closer and the hunt for a job begins! Dealing with the pressure to achieve good grades whilst also balancing a job search can for obvious reasons be a stressful period. You may feel rushed and pressured into sending off job applications to multiple different roles. However, mass distributing your CV in a rush can limit your job chances. We have created a CV checklist to help you ensure nothing is missed off and your CV has the ability to WOW the hiring manager.

Personal Details

Have you provided the correct contact details? Your name, phone number and email address should all be included, as well as your address. If you are searching for a job outside of your location simply state, ‘willing to relocate.’ If you are reluctant to include your full address try just stating the city/nearest city as to where you live, such as ‘Manchester, North West region.’

Remember to use a professional email address and avoid including any personal information regarding your marital status, nationality or date of birth. As this just isn’t necessary.

Education

It is important in this section to round up your education history. For high school grades, there is no need to state each individual grade so instead just write passes in English, Maths and Science. The hiring manager will be unlikely to read every grade you achieved throughout school. Therefore by just stating the relevant grades, you are saving valuable space on your CV.

Make sure you have stated your degree, grade and any specific modules you think are relevant to the role you are applying for. Remember you don’t have a lot of room on your CV to put all of your qualifications and classes you have undertaken. But as long as you can provide an overview the hiring manager will gain a solid understanding of your educational background.

Skills and experience

Experience is key on your CV! Make sure your work history is in a timeline format, clearly showing the dates of employment and your job role. Include any work experience or internships undertaken relevant to the job role.

If you are struggling to fill in this section due to a lack of experience. Think how you can use the skills you have gained from previous employment, whether it was a part-time job or a summer job, what you learnt can be transferred into a new workplace.

Layout

If your CV is longer than two pages, it’s unlikely the hiring manager will read all of it. Therefore you will need to condense your experience and education sections to only contain information that is relevant to the role you are applying for. Ensure the format of your CV is easy to read and your sections are clearly defined. Remember to use bullet points where needed.

Only use fonts that are easy to read. We recommend: Calibri (Body), Arial or Helvetica.

Stand out points

Whether this may be experience or additional qualities you have gained these make you a STAND OUT candidate. So include them! Did you partake in any voluntary work? Are you a member of an organisation relevant to the industry you want to enter? These are all points that could give you an advantage over another candidate.

Read our blog post on how to stand out from the graduate crowd and job seekers 

Does your CV match the role?

One of the most important things you can do before submitting your application is to check whether your CV matches the job description. Avoid mass-distributing your CV to different roles because ultimately employers can tell in an instant and will be unlikely to respond to your application. Take extra time to edit your CV dependent on the role and really tailor it towards the job description.

References

You only need to really include these details if you have been asked. Otherwise, just including the statement ‘references available upon request’ will suffice. Or if you’re struggling for room, you can leave out this section altogether! When considering your references, choose an academic referee who was either your course leader or lecturer. But for your second reference include a manager from a part-time job or someone from any industry experience you may have gained. Just make sure you ask them beforehand!

Key points to remember

  • Tailor your CV to the individual role you are applying for
  • Keep your format neat, easy to read and no more than two pages
  • Always get someone to proofread your CV before you submit an application
  • Read the job description to understand what the employer is looking for in your CV
  • Avoid cliches!
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