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Graduate CVs: Do’s and Don't’s

Karina Oluwo

10 June 2019

by Karina Oluwo

( Words)

​As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And when you’re applying for graduate jobs, your first impression is your CV. It’s important to make sure your CV is as good as it can be before sending it out with application letters. So here are our top tips for creating a superb CV.

Do – Keep It Short, Sweet and Professional

No graduate CV should ever take up more than two sides of A4 paper. If you find your CV is much longer, or if you are having to reduce the font size to squeeze everything in, start cutting chunks out. Get to the point, don’t waffle and use bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs. Employers are keen not to discriminate, and there is no place for your date of birth, marital status, sex or how many kids you have on a CV. Name, mobile number and email is plenty. Focus on your work experience and exam results – these should be at the top of your CV. Don’t waste space talking about what you did at Primary School; it’s not relevant.

Do – Think About Paper, Font and Presentation

A CV printed on bright orange paper and origami-folded into a crane might score you points when applying for a creative position, but won’t in more conventional industries. Stick to classic white or off-white paper and black ink which is more easily photocopied. Choose a classic, professional font such as Arial, Calibri or Times Roman. This is no time for Comic Sans. Set up a header or footer so that your name and email is on each page, in case they get separated. Even if you are sending your CV by email, print it off to make sure the hard copy looks great too. It goes without saying that your CV should be proof read for spelling and grammar errors before you send it in.

Do – Adjust Your CV to the Job

If you’re sending off dozens of job applications it can be tempting to print off dozens of CVs and just send them out. But this really isn’t doing you any favours. Take the time to tweak your CV to the job requirements, adding more details about your relevant experience, and removing extra information about less relevant qualifications, for example. But remember also that your CV should always be accompanied by a cover letter, where you can go into more detail about any experience you think is particularly applicable to the position.

Don’t – Highlight Your Failures

Your CV is supposed to present the best picture of you possible. It’s not the place to include details of the exams you’ve failed, points on your driving licence or reasons for leaving your previous jobs. If the employer wants to ask about these at interviews, they will.

Don’t – Lie

However much you desperately want the job, don’t lie on your CV. If you’re found out, the employer will count it as gross misconduct, and sack you. And how are you going to explain that away next time you apply?

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It's currently open for applications – in fact; we've already accepted individuals who finishing uni this summer. If you're wondering whether to start your career or travel first, check-out our article on how you can do both with La Fosse.

If you found these CV tips useful, check these out:

Putting a Positive Spin on CV Negatives

How To Write A Great CV

Making Speculative Applications As a Graduate