Easy ways to show you’re great on your CV!
During second year, there is a large focus on getting an internship for the summer holidays and it seems like the whole of your course is aiming for the exact same ones. I have been unfortunately caught up in the ordeal however have not been receiving much success (i.e. not even an interview :() so I decided to go to one of the CV improvement workshops and give mine a bit of TLC. It was so helpful, so I highly recommend heading to this or one of the other sessions offered by Student Careers & Skills, just log on to your myadvantage to find out more and sign up. But for now, I wanted to share a few of the best tips I learnt for when writing a CV:
- Tailor your CV to each job you apply for: Apparently you can’t just send out the same CV to every employer anymore so it is good to tailor it, particularly the Experience section, to the job description you are going for. Also highlight any individual modules that you’ve taken that are relevant to the job.
- Make sure you use buzzwords: Some employers use software to scan your CV for words like ‘analytical skills’, ‘communication skills’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘organised’ and if not enough are included you go straight in the no pile. This is extreme however it is good to include them, particularly at the beginning of a line where the eye goes straight to.
- Keep it to 1 page: Employers on average will look at your CV for 10-30 seconds before making a decision, so keep it concise and make sure you only include the most relevant experience and don’t list everything you’ve ever done ever! 1½ pages does not guarantee it will be thrown away but make sure it’s an easy read!
- Mention your IT skills: As a student you are probably adept in using Microsoft Word and Excel just by growing up with it, and are still lucky enough to be part of the generation where this is seen as an asset rather than a given. Make sure you mention this, and any other software you are capable with, in the ‘Other Skills’ section.
- Get the key responsibilities across: Talk about what your responsibilities in your roles in the ‘Experience’ section were, keep them succinct and concise and use bullet points. Be positive about them, and to really send home how great you are, use facts and figures being really specific as to how you made an impact in your role.
- Put your work experience in chronological order: Self-explanatory, really.
- Research the role: Related to the first point, there is no such thing as too much research. Although I am talking about CVs here, I have heard that if a company can change its name in the covering letter to another and the letter still makes sense, they get rid. Use the ‘Desirable skills’ section of the job description and talk explicitly about how you have demonstrated them in your previous roles. It is tedious when you are applying for a number of very similar jobs to keep googling and googling but it will pay off, particularly in an interview. Use Factiva to see recent press releases on your company and that will really boost your application.
- SPELL AND GRAMMAR CHECK: The MOST common reason for the rejection of a CV is demonstrating that you can’t put together a quite important document coherently, so get someone else to read it, and read it again every time before you send it off to a new employer.
Hope this has helped. And sign up for those workshops, Warwick has great opportunities for career development and they are free so don’t waste them!
Any queries, holler at me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the post 🙂