CV writing can be mind-boggling at worst, and exhausting at best, so we’ve worked with student living specialists, Scape, to put together five top tips to help you nail the perfect CV, whether it’s for an internship, placement year, or graduate role.
Make sure you have an active LinkedIn profile and include a link to it!
Nowadays, LinkedIn can play an important part in helping employers see you as the right person for the role – the networking site allows you to stay up to date with various brands and employers, which can be evidence to an employer that you’re genuinely interested in their industry.
Also, since a CV should typically only be a maximum of 2 pages long, linking to your LinkedIn profile is a good way of sharing more detailed information about your experiences, interests, and achievements.
Your experiences should be recent and relevant
It might be really tempting to include every single piece of work experience or volunteering you’ve ever done (how else will they know you spent your gap year in India, if you don’t tell them?), but seriously try to resist it. The best way to decide which experiences should go into your CV is to list your experiences in order of most relevant to least relevant and choose your top 3 or 4. Then, arrange these going from most recent to least recent.
If you don’t have a lot of explicitly relevant work experience, that’s okay; you just have to do a little more rejigging to highlight how those experiences have helped you to develop skills that are essential to your role. For example, you might have worked as a cashier in a store and want to apply for a role in a bank. You could mention how your experience dealing with a variety of different types of customers has helped you further develop your communication skills with people from a variety of backgrounds. Or you could say that working in a customer service role allowed you to gain key skills such as conflict resolution. No experience is ever useless – it’s all about how you adapt it to the role!
Tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for
One thing recruiters and employers especially hate is irrelevant CVs or those that are clearly sent out to everyone. Now, from an applicant perspective, it’s unrealistic to expect a brand-new CV for every application, especially when as a graduate you might send out at least 20 applications a week.
To get around this, one thing you can do is put the role and organisation you’re applying for at the top of your CV. If your CV includes colour, change the accent colours to the brand’s colour schemes too to make an employer feel like you’d be a good fit for the company, and have also taken time to think about their branding choices. You should also tweak your experiences to make them relevant to the role and ensure that you list the key skills you have that are included in the job description of the role you are applying for.
Use a professional email address
It’s been said many times before and will probably be stressed many times in the future, but a professional email address is fundamental when applying for an internship, placement, or job.
If possible, make your new email address as easy as your firstname.lastname@example.org. To make things more convenient, you can also use your professional email address exclusively for job-related activities.
Use bullet points instead of really long paragraphs
Breaking up text into shorter bullet points and lists is a great way to make your CV visually appealing and easy to read. Also, it makes it easier to pick out key information which is especially beneficial as employers and recruiters have to skim through several hundred CVs per role – they’ll appreciate whatever you can do to make it easier on them!
CV writing can seem like an impassable mountain at first, but following these tips will put you in a great position to secure opportunities – perhaps even that dream job. Once you get over the first hurdle and get an interview, you can continue to WOW them with your skills, stellar personality and ambition. You’ve got this!