How to breathe life into a Graduate CV


Does your CV do the trick as a Graduate?

I’ve met many bright and talented individuals whose CVs were conspiring against them. You don’t need a long CV but you do need a bit of substance if you’re to market yourself as a desirable employee.

So if you’re staring disconsolately at a list of qualifications and some half-hearted padding about being a team-player, liking cinema and having a driving licence, here are some ways to add colour and interest to a graduate CV.

Find a talking point in your studies

This could be a project, a dissertation, a study, an experiment or a presentation. Give a basic description, focus on your contribution and talk in terms of achievements.

None of the above applies? Are you sure? If so, write a brief and engaging description of some of the content of your degree. Unless your degree is very traditional or industry specific, it’s unlikely that your reader will know much about it.

Work the industrial placement, year abroad or gap year

Did you dismiss an industrial placement or year abroad in one sentence? There are lots of great examples you can use to demonstrate team working, leadership, innovation, cultural awareness, overcoming obstacles etc. If you were studying, you can pick out key features or differences. If you were working, then draw on your experiences as you would a part time job.

Plug the part time job

Have you gone beyond a job title and a date? Beyond a short list of tasks? Tell me about your job. What did you actually do? Who or what were you responsible for? How did you make a difference? Whether it was a low budget supermarket or a call centre, it’s worth talking about. Highlight customer service (if it’s not customer facing, you can still talk about internal customers), organisational skills, team working, sales and communication skills. If you’re still struggling to get down the detail, explain it to someone verbally or write down absolutely everything and then do some serious editing.

Make the ‘outside interest’ interesting (!)

Essentially if you can talk passionately about something then it’s probably a winner. Pick one or two things rather than a list and give a bit of detail to demonstrate the level of your interest and involvement. Think about your reader’s reaction to what you write. Would they like to know more?

You may be surprised to find that you can draw so much from what you’ve already done. These are the first steps towards producing good content for your CV. No padding required!

For more information on this blog or our range of services for Graduates please contact us at or or call us on 0845 459 0035.

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