In today’s competitive job market, new graduates must be extremely adept at selling their skills and experience to future employers. However, excessive book knowledge and limited working experience can make this task a bit more demanding than it sounds. Today’s workforce is more experienced than ever before, and employers are opting for working experience over education. This makes it extremely important for new grads to equate their classroom experience with real working skills.
The key is understanding which pieces are most important to an employer. A well-crafted CV can make all the difference. New grads must be proactive with uncovering ways in which their classroom skills will transition into a professional working environment. They must then design a graduate CV that creatively captures these skills. If you’re a new grad and stumped on how to present your knowledge, skills and interests in an effective way, here are a few tips for creating the perfect graduate CV layout.
CV formats for graduates require a certain level of attention to detail. Part of that attention to detail includes generating an aesthetically pleasing document. Aesthetics are extremely important to a quality CV and are your first opportunity to make a good impression. An employer should be able to quickly and effectively identify the different sections of your CV. The document should be eye-catching and have a natural flow. Remember, this is an employer’s first introduction to you and your work. You want your graduate CV to appear polished, and aesthetics play a huge role. Here are a few tips and tricks you should consider when designing your CV.
- Font: Your document should use the same font throughout. To keep the eye interested, you should alternate the font size using a larger font for section headings
- Bulleted Lists: Bullets are an effective way to quickly capture experience in a certain area. They keep things simple and manageable for skimming
- Spacing: The spacing of your document should be consistent creating more natural flow
Obviously, a pretty graduate CV holds relatively little value if the content of the document isn’t relevant. Quality content is one of the most important aspects of a good graduate CV. Many new graduates ponder how to create relevant content with minimal experience. While you may have to get creative and learn to spin your experiences to fit the job, its not impossible!
Start by creating a list of any experiences you’ve had to-date. Did you participate in a small group project for any of your classes? If so, you’ve learned the values of teamwork and group think. Have you held a part time job while also going to school? If so, you’re adept with time management and prioritisation. Have you had to use excel, word processing or any other tech tools in your school projects? If so, you have a series of technical competencies that are desired by many employers. As you can see, you may have more skills than you realise. There are plenty of ways to strategically present your skill sets and make your experiences seem more relevant. Here are a few of the most desired items you can include on your graduate CV:
- Classes Completed
- Grade Point Average
- Technical Competencies
- Volunteer Work
- Personal Statement or Objective
- Extracurricular Activities
Key words are another important component of a solid graduate CV. Unfortunately, the emergence of technology has made the CV scanning process pretty automated during the beginning stages. If you don’t have the appropriate keywords sprinkled throughout your document you may get the boot before it even reaches a human eye.
This means you may have to tailor each CV document to fit the job description. As a best practice, take the time to quickly review each job description making note of key words and phrases. Then, you’ll want to find ways to incorporate these phrases into your document. Here are a few tips:
- Read the required skills and competencies of each job description
- Identify any skills or experiences you have that may fit the desired competencies
- Use some of the same verbs and phrases outlined in the description
The order of your content is also critical. If your document is lucky enough to pass the computerised sort, you’ll want to order it in a way that will capture the attention of the hiring manager. A recent study found that most reviewers give a CV only a few seconds before determining whether to throw it out. This means you have to capture their attention quickly! To do this, begin with your most relevant skills and experiences and trickle down into less applicable information. You’ll want to highlight your degree, grades, and relevant classwork at the beginning of the document. This provides them a base of your knowledge in a particular area. Later in the document you can begin to outline some of your experiences and how they might relate to the job.
Many CV experts say you should have no more than one page of content for every five years of experience. As a new grad, this means your CV should not exceed one page. Anything longer might raise questions and cause an employer to skip over you. However, keep in mind that a CV too short in length makes you appear inexperienced or uncreative. Length is a balancing act, but extremely important to an job-winning CV.
Many companies want to know how you stack up in tech skills. It can be worthwhile to include links to your social media pages as well as any online blogging or graphic design work you’ve done. However, you’ll want to make sure your social outlets align with what’s communicated on your graduate CV. You’ll also want to clean up your account and ensure your social content is clean, professional and dignified. If not, you could run the risk of losing the job!
These are just a few of the many tips for drafting the job-winning graduate CV. The job search can be challenging, but with a little help you’ll be well on your way to landing your next job in Singapore! If you’d like to learn more job-hunting tips and tricks submit your CV and subscribe today!
The Essential Guide for Writing Your Graduate CV