The graduate job market is extremely competitive with perhaps thousands of similarly experienced applicants targeting the same role.
With this in mind, an effective CV that differentiates and maximises the perceived value of a candidate is essential! Below are two effective ways to help set yourself apart from the crowd:
1. Target your CV: Avoid the pitfall of writing one CV and sending it off to hundreds of companies. Research each company and role that you are applying for, learn what the job might entail or what specific attributes the employer is looking for (this information is often made available on the company website or vacancy posts). By doing your research you will ensure that your cover letter and personal statement demonstrate an understanding of what the role entails and how your experience might make you a contender. Where possible, address the cover letter to a named individual within the company (make them feel important!).
As a rule, you should limit applications to two or three per day. Keep note of your progress. Follow each application up with a call. Remember, an employer might receive hundreds of similar applications for a given role, a candidate that purveys consideration and a desire to work for that specific company will stand a much better chance of progressing than one that doesn’t.
2. Content and Organisation: As a graduate, your most valuable asset is your degree so be sure to detail this before any irrelevant part-time jobs (you may wish to omit these completely). Give a brief summary of your course, not the whole syllabus, and don’t forget to mention any extra-curricular activities undertaken while at university (sports teams, campus representative, debating societies etc.).
Where relevant, use key phrases – large recruiters increasingly use CV mining websites to find suitable applicants, terms such as ‘cold calling’ and ‘team leadership’ will help your CV standout.
And finally, keep it compact. As a graduate, your CV should span no more than two pages, don’t waste valuable time or space with irrelevant content.