When writing your CV as a graduate you will be in a slightly different situation to most individuals because you will not yet have the career experience of the majority of people. Therefore the best strategy is often to highlight your achievements and education, as opposed to your work history.
Provide a brief summary of your key skills and experience, concentrating on factual information (3 – 4 sentences). You can also include a line about what you are hoping to do next. As with all of your CV, keep the tone professional and avoid spinning off into hyperbole. For example:
“Honours IT software development graduate with a strong background in leading group-based projects. Experienced in both creating and launching apps for iPhone and Android phones, such as ‘Homework Reminder’ for second and third level students. Keen to work in a challenging and innovative environment with other bright and enthusiastic professionals.”
Include the title of your course, educational institution and years of study. You can also include major subjects studied and the title and research areas of any thesis or major projects. How you describe the qualification will depend on how well you did. If you achieved a 2.1 or a 1st it is worth stating this, while if you were awarded a 2.2 it is probably better to omit the grade. For example:
B.A. (Hons.) Durham University 2009-2012
English and History – joint major
Research thesis: Revising democracy – An alternative view of the growth of capitalism in the UK.
This section is a fantastic way of personalising your CV by highlighting any relevant awards, external recognition or representative activities in which you have been involved. It could include university or school awards or honours for sports clubs or societies. Think back to how you have contributed to different groups and then use the information to highlight achievements. For example:
- Completed original research on the gothic icon Mary Shelley and successfully published an article in the Durham University college review.
- Addressed the Tyne-and-Wear Literary Society on three occasions, speaking to over 400 people on the theme of novel and animated film.
- Represented Durham University as a member of the college rugby squad, participating in six inter-collegiate tournaments.
Work and voluntary experience
Include any work experience that you have gained – either paid or unpaid. For most graduates their job history is likely to comprise part-time or seasonal positions. This is of interest to employers but there may be limited scope for highlighting achievements. If this is the case you can include your work experience in list format. For example:
Academic Tutor Dept. of English, Durham University 2011-2012
Retail Assistant Tesco Ltd. (seasonal) 2008-2012
Here you can describe what you like to do outside of work. Try to make this as proactive as possible and give clues about your positive qualities. Good characteristics to work into your descriptions include: team working, self-discipline and commitment to a task. For example:
“I greatly enjoy charity fun runs, and have participated in twelve 10 Km runs in Newcastle as part of ‘Team Upnatom’; successfully raising £4,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust.”
Good luck writing your graduate CV!