Think you're giving graduate recruiters what they want? If your CV's missing any of the following six things, you may as well give up now.
Your CV should generally say one thing and one thing only: why you're a good fit for a particular job.
If you're up for a video editor role, you need to prove that you're a capable, professional editor who has worked with lots of media in a host of formats. If you're applying for HR, you want people to see that you're a dependable people person with good experience in recruitment, relations or equivalent. And so on.
Remember: concision of message also means deprioritising the irrelevant. The video-editing job doesn't care about your recruitment experience, nor does a hiring manager looking for an HR guy want to hear about your facility with Adobe Premiere. Put it at the bottom or even cut it out.
Education/experience directly related to the role
Unless you are applying for literally exactly the same job with the same requirements, every CV you send off should be unique and tailored to the role.
Recruiters famously spend downwards of thirty seconds on every CV they receive. They have a lot of documents and, thanks to the ubiquity of graduates at this time of year, plenty of options to choose from.
If your CV doesn't start off with a list of education, experience and achievements directly relevant to the position you're applying for, you will not be spared a second viewing. Save the hiring manager hassle and yourself disappointment: pick out your most pertinent experience and stick it at the top.
Perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation
You're a 'go-getting salesperson with a brilliant work ethic and a fantastic track record', eh? I don't care. Give me numbers.
Tell me how many donations you secured while working for your university telethon. Tell me how big the crowds attending your student club nights were. Tell me how great you are using numbers, not waffle, and I'll be far more likely to credit your capabilities.
Don't claim. Prove.
Clear headings and title
An easily navigable CV is essential to getting a recruiter on side. You want to make their life easy, and the best way to do this is to flag up the information they're looking for at every turn.
Start with a 'relevant skills' section, detailing the skills you have that are relevant to the job. Include on your first page a full employment history (yes, that summer internship counts) and then move on to hobbies and additional experience. Append clear, readable titles to each of these and any hiring manager will love you.
Also, always put your name in the file name of a CV. For a recruiter sifting through an inbox of résumés, it makes things that bit easier.
URLS and links
This one applies for some more than others. Everyone should have a clickable link to their LinkedIn on their CV. But if you're a designer, artist, entrepreneur or similar, however, this goes a lot further.
Link to your website. Link to your portfolio. Link to the site of that charity drive you masterminded last year. Everyone has an online footprint. By including links in your CV, you're using yours to your advantage.
What's the idea? It all comes back to the proof thing. It's one thing telling something you're a great photographer; it's quite another to link them to your work.
And a few things employers don't look for…
Although nobody's saying skip them altogether, realise that few people read cover letters these days. It's your CV and previous experience that employers care about, so use your cover letter to direct them to these.
Never put photos on your CV. Although par for the course in America, it continues to be considered weird in the U.K. In fact, no personal information – legal/marital status, health, weight and height measurements – has a place on your résumé. It looks strange and, frankly, like you may have an ulterior motive. Plus it encourages discrimination, positive or otherwise. Avoid.
Applying for a new job? You can do it! Just read through the above, brush the dust off that CV and you'll be entering the workplace in no time.
Susanna Quirke writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse the graduate jobs Manchester and London have to offer, visit their website.
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Image Credit: Igor Ovsyannykov