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Writing a student / graduate CV

This section will teach you how to prepare student / graduate CVs. Generally you will find the layout described here will work for you. But, you might also want to try the targeted or functional CV layouts.

Please feel free to add other sections as required or change the ordering of later sections to suit your skills and abilities.

You must keep your professional CV to two pages in length when you are writing a CV as a recent graduate or current student. Employers don't want to read too much.

Profile / Summary

This should be a short summary of your experience, skills and abilities, and be contained in four to six lines of text. Only list the attributes that will be of interest to an employer; do not include irrelevancies.

Achievements

A lot of students / graduates don't have an achievements section, because they don't think they have anything to write here. A professional CV writer though would always recommend that you try to think of some achievements to include in your CV, as this will make your CV stand out compared to most graduate-level CVs.

Try and list 3 to 6 achievements which you feel will be in line with your next position. Do not list achievements which are not in line with what you want to do next. Bullet point your achievements to make them stand out. Start with the strongest point in your favour and then work backwards from there.

Education / Qualifications

Only list the most important qualifications. If you are a graduate you do not have to list all your 'O' Levels/GCSEs, you can just indicate the number of 'O' levels gained.

Experience

Your work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent job first and then work backwards. You only need to include the year you started and the year you finished each job. You do not need to include the month or day, e.g. put 2008 - 2010 rather than 1.8.2008 - 4.6.2010. If you have had a lot of jobs you may need to group some of the earlier jobs together, e.g. '2000 - 2004 various engineering positions'.

If your job title does not reflect what you actually did, or it sounds a bit obscure, consider changing it. For example, if you worked as a Sales Representative and your job title (given to you by your company) was Customer Home Representative, you would be well advised to change your title to that of Sales Representative.

When you are describing your experience for each position you should start with the strongest point in your favour and then work backwards. If you have a lot of points to put under one specific job you may want to break this description into two or more sections. You could break up this section into responsibilities and achievements or you could break it up into specific functions, e.g. management, sales & marketing; the choice is yours.

If you have had a number of positions for a particular employer you may not want to include every individual job (in which case leave out the year designations for all jobs titles and just include the start and finish years for this employer), or you may be able to combine one or more of the jobs. If the jobs are completely unrelated you may be better off using a Functional or Targeted CV.

Make sure you stress your responsibilities and achievements under each job which will be useful in your next job, but do not repeat information in your CV as this will just bore the reader.

Additional Information

Include any additional information, such as whether you have a driving licence - if you have a clean driving licence, say so. Date of birth, marital status and nationality can usually be left off your CV.

Interests

Most CV writing tips tell you to keep your interests section fairly short, but do list any current positions of responsibility. If you do not currently have any management responsibility and you are applying for a management position you may want to include positions of responsibility that you have held over the last few years, e.g. Captain of a local football team.

Referees

You should include two referees, one of which should be an academic reference, e.g. your personal tutor, while the second reference could be from an employer you have worked for. The postcode should normally be included in the address.

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