11 May, 2009

Top 5 CV tips for graduates

When searching for Graduate Jobs, your CV is a vital tool in the process. It’s your first chance to impress a prospective employer, providing details that underline your suitability for the role. On average, recruiters take just eight seconds to decide whether or not to keep a CV, so you need to be on the ball.

My top five tips will give your CV maximum impact:

1. Keep it concise

Recruiters are often faced with mountains of CVs and don’t have the time or patience to trawl through a rambling document. Remember that your CV is only the first step, a way of getting your foot in the door, so keep it punchy. Make it no more than two sides of A4 paper and save the real detail for your interview.

2. Tailor your CV

Take time to adapt your CV for each individual role you apply for. Research the company and use the job ad to gauge what it is looking for in an employee. Link your skills and experience to the requirements of the role. Similarly, if you are logging your CV with a job site database, look at the sort of jobs on the site and the employers who are advertising, and rework your CV accordingly.

3. Don’t leave gaps

Gaps invite the recruiter to guess what you were up to, so instead of allowing them to make their own assumptions give them the details. Even in time out of employment you can develop soft skills such as communication, teamwork or project management. You should update your CV regularly, regardless of whether you are actively jobseeking, to avoid having to recall distant points in your career.

4. Ensure it’s free of errors

One of the easiest ways for recruiters to weed out weaker CVs is to scan them for errors. If you fail to check your CV for basic spelling and grammatical mistakes, you are setting yourself up for a fall at the first hurdle. Most errors can be rooted out using your PC’s spell-checker, but you should also ask someone else to read your CV and give you their opinion.

5. Tell the truth

It’s one thing to highlight the positives on your CV, but telling blatant lies is a bad idea. You are highly likely to be caught out and your application rejected. Many companies check the facts – such as qualifications – that candidates supply. And a good interviewer will soon spot any inconsistency in your story, even if it concerns your leisure activities. It would be hugely embarrassing to be caught out by an interviewer who’s an expert in your half-baked hobby.

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