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Tips for writing a graduate CV

Job title and description

It is always good practice to provide an explanation of your responsibilities/duties as well as your job title when listing your work experience.

Listing achievements

In an increasingly competitive graduate job market employers are looking for the most talented individuals to join their organisation. No recruiter wants to hire an "average" candidate and a recruitment consultant will not want to represent an "average" candidate. In an increasingly competitive job market you will need to make yourself stand out. Everyone has had achievements in their life so make sure you identify them in order to market yourself effectively.

Precise not ambiguous

Recruiters need to have an insight into the nature, size and location of your past employers, and what their business is. Also it will help the person who is reading your CV if you quantify your achievements.


You must always think about the language you've used on your CV so that the reader understands what you are saying. It is easy to use words or phrases that are specific to your degree or previous work experience without defining them on the CV. If a recruiter sees something like this, they may become confused and will stop reading your CV and move on to the next one.

Emphasise importance

Normally the most important experience on your CV is your most recent experience - but this does depend on the type of position you are applying for. Also bear in mind the requirements of the position you are applying for. You can use the requirements to help you decide which elements of your previous experience/jobs are most relevant. For example, if you wish to be considered for a marketing job, don't write one paragraph describing your current marketing assistant role, followed by two paragraphs about your part-time supermarket role three years ago.

Length and relevance

No recruiter wants to read about your entire life story through your CV, so keep your CV to two pages at the most. Remember that the point of a CV is to get you an interview, not a job, so it needs to be easy to read, precise and also demonstrate that you are an achiever with the skills, knowledge and abilities to perform successfully in the job you are applying for.

Proof read it and get feedback

Create a CV that is free from errors. Ask someone if they will read your CV and give you their honest opinion. A second set of eyes looking over your CV will highlight any errors or inconsistencies. If someone doesn't like your CV, ask them to be more specific and find out exactly what they don't like.

Skills and achievement summary

If you include a skills and achievement summary it should ideally be near to the top of your CV. This section lets the reader see instantly that you are successful and what your key skills are. The rest of your CV will be viewed through this window of success and relevant skills.

Layout and font

Avoid any font that is difficult to read. The use of colours other than black on your CV should be avoided. To be on the safe side choose a standard conventional font. Use white space effectively so that your CV doesn't look crowded and is easy to read. Remember, if your CV is difficult to read the recruiter is likely to go on to the next CV in the pile.

Make Sure you sell yourself

It is said that most employers only take 15 seconds to make a decision on a CV. That's a very short time to make the right impression, especially in the ultra-competitive graduate market. It is essential that your CV sells you.

Contact the team today

If you need any further help or advice, please contact the careers and employability team.

Call now on 01623 413325

Available weekdays 8.30am-4.30pm (4pm on Friday).

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