Congratulations! The culmination of about two decades’ worth of education means you’re ready to step out into the world with your newly acquired qualification and start your career! Awesome! How though?
Before you are considered by recruiters, you need to send through a CV that sets you apart from the crowd. Since you’re likely starting out on the bottom of the ladder (we’ve all been there!) you’ll need to find a healthy balance between showing your aptitude as a student while letting companies see your personality.
Keep your CV to two pages (yes, you can cheat with the margins, but make sure it formats and prints well). Keep the font, size and spacing consistent.
You need to highlight your awesomeness. You’ve just put all this work in – tell potential employers what you studied. Include your minors as well because while your major subjects point to a certain career path, your minor subjects can make you appear more well-rounded. Mention your university, and where applicable, your grades.
The order of the information on your CV is important, whether you are pursuing a career in the technical sector or not – always ask yourself, “What information will land me the interview?” We’ve put together a few tips to help you.
This is a short paragraph that offers the hiring manager a picture of you as a professional, covering who you are, why you are suitable for the role, and your career goals.
Where you studied, what year, what subjects, and your grades.
Relevant work experience
Include the basics – the dates and where you worked.
Expand on what you learned from these positions. What did you learn in the way of people skills (when dealing with a moody chef or irate customer)? How did your time management improve by juggling studies and a job?
Other work experience
Tell potential employers about volunteer work or internships you did.
Extracurricular/positions of responsibility
Mention any school bodies or extracurricular activities you took part in outside of your academic requirements.
If you’re pursuing a technical career mention anything you’ve programmed, websites you’ve designed and so on. This is a great time to show what you can offer. If you’re pursuing something more creative, link your blog, website, or photography or portfolio.
As your career progresses (and your CV gets longer) this section will become less relevant, but if you are fresh out of school, this section serves the purpose of showing a bit of personality. This section forms a solid foundation for discussion at the interview stage. Sports show that’re fit and outgoing while community involvement points to great interpersonal skills.
At this stage it’s worth including contact info for a lecturer, any part-time employer, and any sports coaches. The kind of questions they likely to be asked will be with regards to your time keeping (are you punctual or always late and blaming traffic?), how much of a team player you are (“That’s not my job” needs to be scrubbed from your vocabulary NOW!) and your general work ethic – spoiler alert, the bare minimum may have got you by some of your classes, but it won’t fly in the real world.
Finally, remember that your CV will get you through the door to an interview, so don’t underestimate its importance. Also, one size does not fit all. Make sure you tailor it towards each job you apply for.