First impressions count
Typically your CV is the first communication you will have with a potential employer. So make it shine! Employers complain about poor spelling and grammar so please don’t get caught up in the mix! You want to stand out of the crowd and show that you’re the best candidate ever!
Bear in mind that companies look for relevant applications, not generic content! Creating a top CV can be time consuming but when you’ve bagged that dream job – it will all be worth it!
Do’s & Dont’s and CV tips
This is your first opportunity to impress your potential new employer. It’s also quite easy to slip up. Here are the biggest mistakes that people make when completing application forms or writing their CVs. Make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle!
Poor spelling & grammar - Don’t rely on spellcheck! Why not ask your friends, family or university careers service to have a look before you send it off? This will no doubt minimise the chances of your application going straight into the reject pile.
Not providing enough evidence - If you are struggling to think of different examples to demonstrate your skills, have a think about extra curricular activities to help illustrate them! E.g. if you’re in a sports team, think about teamwork, leadership and organisation skills!
Forgetting to attach a CV - Yes, people do forget to attach their CVs to emails!
Not tailoring your CV - Different companies look for students who have the same values and qualities that match their brand. Research the qualities of the company you are applying to first and then give examples of why you match these qualities. For example, if you are applying to a small entrepreneurial company then give examples of times when you have been ‘entrepreneurial’
"71% of students fear organisations using social media to do background checks. Why not utilise this tool to make you shine? Sort your privacy and set up a LinkedIn profile to search on the right channels!" –
Should I include all work experience, even part-time jobs?
Make the most of placements, holiday or part time work. Don’t ignore jobs just because they sound basic or mundane – the fact that you got one shows initiative and there will be lots of transferable skills you may even have realise you have!
How to structure your CV?
First things first, be sure to include all relevant contact information. How will a potential employer get in touch if you haven’t included your name, contact number and email address? Make sure it’s all clearly displayed.
Be selective. Include relevant qualifications such as A-level results, key modules and achievements that you’re proud of. Highlight key responsibilities you’ve had and how these relate to the role you’re applying for.
Be interesting! When thinking of any additional hobbies and interests, try to think of activities that are original and show attributable skills. Don’t say that you enjoy socialising, reading or clubbing!
Try mentioning the specific clubs and societies you’re part of which encompass the activities you enjoy. E.g. if you’ve promoted any events and sold tickets out on campus!
"Ensure your application is specific to the company and the vacancy. Research the company ethics, core values and mission statement to tailor your application to show you would fit in well"
– Jo Chester, graduate recruitment support manager at Cummins
How can I stand out on my application form?
Personality is important, everyone has interests so let this shine through! If you like to travel, write down that you went travelling round the world on your gap year and the skills it’s taught you; time management, adaptability, languages. It’s interesting information like this that can give you the edge!
What to include in your covering letter?
Personal statements are a great way to summarise the reason you are applying for a particular job role and why your previous skills, achievements and education would make you a suitable candidate for the role.
When writing your personal statement, be sure to convey the reasons how and why you can benefit the company. Then back up your statements with sound examples.
It’s also important to stay clear of over used and vague buzzwords such as ‘communication’ and ‘dynamic’. Instead, use more specific terminology to showcase your key skills such as ‘time management’, ‘business awareness’ and ‘decision maker’, using examples to back up your points.