Graduate CV: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Graduate CV: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Are you feeling ready to take your job search to the next level? To help you craft the perfect graduate CV ready for your job search, we collaborated with Daniel Catalan, expert CV and cover letter builder.

 

Follow the exclusive CV guidance below to secure the graduate job of your dreams!

 

Your CV must be a precise and dynamic document that captures the attention of your reader (i.e. your dream employer). Recruiters and hiring managers will only devote 6 seconds to glancing over a CV and deciding whether to read further or to discard it to the bin.

 

 

For this reason, it is paramount to ensure that your CV is impactful within that brief window. This is achieved by the template having an easily readable structure and format that highlights the value that you would add, and what you hope to achieve in the next stage of your career, with wording tailored to the job description and industry of the role. 

 

Creating or updating a CV does not need to be a daunting task or cause sleepless nights. When tackling this challenge, there are several boxes that need to be ticked in order to paint a clear picture of who you are.

 

What to include?

 

 

1. Contact Info:

 

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • LinkedIn account hyperlink OR website hyperlink
  • Location/address.

 

 

2. Picture:

 

I advise my clients to hire a photographer for an afternoon to take a reel that includes simple headshots as well as action shots of speaking while making emphatic hand gestures.

 

Wear a form-fitting suit or blazer and look sharp for this. Many of my clients have made the mistake of using their passport photos, which look comparable to jailhouse mugshots. You want to make a dignified first impression with this photo. 

 

TIP: Keep in mind to remove the picture from your document if you apply for jobs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Israel, Australia, and a few other countries where employers will immediately reject applications that contain photos in compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

 

 

3. Summary:

 

Headline (your current or desired job title) and Bio (a short description of your professional profile - max 2-3 sentences)

 

Example: 

Bilingual IT Professional

A recent liberal arts graduate who is bilingual in French and English. Seeking a professional challenge that is impactful working with languages and technology.” 

 

 

4. Work experience:

 

The jobs and internships you’ve had thus far in your career. Use strong action verbs to start each bullet and avoid repetition. List your responsibilities and accomplishments in each role. Seize any opportunity to include statistics of ways your achievements can be quantified.

 

TIP: Avoid weak action verbs such as supported or assisted, as they can inadvertently typecast you as an assistant worthy only of support roles. Using stronger action verbs like spearheaded, liaised,  collaborated, directed, oversaw, and managed. These words showcase leadership skills and can allow a candidate to be considered for esteemed roles.

 

The work experience section can be daunting for graduates. Don't worry if you don't have a lot to put there - recruiters are aware that it's not possible to have tons of experience if you've only just gotten your degree.

 

Include any volunteer work you might have done - maybe you've completed an internship or was employed by your parents over the summer? Any significant roles you might have had at the university such as Student Mentor or a President of a certain club or society count, too!

 

Remember that you will still get the opportunity to woo the recruiters in the skills section. Many employers are currently looking for young talent to train, rather than candidates with lots of experience, so cheer up!

 

 

5. Education:

 

Self-explanatory. Recent graduates can add a line or two about where they studied abroad, their student society involvement and association memberships, their extracurricular activities or the title of their thesis. However, this information is rendered obsolete after a year or two in the workforce, unless they’re pursuing jobs in academia. 

 

Don't forget to include the name of your university and the exact course you studied. On your first graduate CV, you can also mention your secondary education (high school). You will remove it later on as your curriculum vitae expands, but it can serve as a space-filler on your very first one.

 

 

6. Skills: 

 

Divide this into three subsections:

 

  • Languages,
  • Interpersonal (also known as soft skills),
  • Technical (also known as hard skills). 

 

Use the “|” symbol to divide each item on the list.

 

Example: 

Languages: English (Native) | French (Fluent) 

Technical: Python | Java | HTML CSS | WordPress | Microsoft Outlook | Hardware Issue Diagnosis & Repair | Software Troubleshooting | Audiovisual Setup | IP Phones | Wifi Setup | Printer Setup 

Interpersonal: Impeccable Customer Service | Conflict Resolution | Adaptable to Changing Circumstances | Global Entrepreneurial Mindset

 

TIP: Use LinkedIn to gauge the skills that are expected from candidates for positions in your industry and source the wording for your skills section from there. Job listings on Linkedin will often assign 10 desirable skills for a role and tell you how closely you match their criteria.

 

 

In some countries like Switzerland, you’ll be expected to include your date of birth, the type of work permit you have, and marital status. You can mention here if you have a driver’s license or industry-specific certifications.

 

 

How long should your CV be?

 

1.5-2 pages with most of the important information being on the first page under the experience section. Many European students have multiple higher education degrees that can be easily overlooked at the end of the document.

 

 

The formatting of your graduate CV:

 

Try to use a sleek template that stands out from the common Word document. Personally, I use the templates from Resumonk.com. I’m also a fan of Canva.

 

Check out this article in The Content Mix for more information on 5 Mistakes to Avoid Making When Building your CV!

 

I look forward to mentoring members of the Europe Language Jobs community so they can gain a competitive advantage in the post-COVID19 career landscape. If you’d like to work together on remodelling your CV, get in touch via www.danielcatalan.com

#

We hope Daniel's key advice has helped you to understand what your CV should include and how it should look. Now you should feel ready to get started in your graduate job search. Remember to research keywords related to your industry to ensure that your CV is seen by your dream employers. 

 

Additionally, although the structure remains more or less the same, different rules apply to different countries, so be sure to check out these country-specific guidelines.

 

Lastly, the trick about finding keywords in LinkedIn job listings is still available, but only to premium users. Daniel advises his clients to use the monthlong free trial of LinkedIn premium to source keywords en masse in that monthlong window.


About the Author:

Daniel Catalan is a writer from Sleepy Hollow, New York who showcases the achievements of global professionals & remote workers by interviewing them and building their CVs/Resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn accounts to best reflect their profiles and grant them a competitive advantage in their search their next professional challenges. As a long-term remote worker who has lived abroad in Paris, France, Madrid, Spain, and now Porto, Portugal, he holds an in-depth understanding of the aspirations of people from all walks of life and across industries.

If you’d like to collaborate with Daniel, he can be contacted at www.danielcatalan.com

Recommended Articles

The modern career is a continuous learning journey, and professional development is essential to helping you find your dream role.

Nov 26, 2018 by
Erika

Moving to a new country is an exciting yet challenging process. Find out the best ways to prevent culture shock after moving abroad.

Jul 3, 2019 by
Guest Blogger