So, you’ve just come out of university, and you’re looking to secure an interview for the next step in your career journey. However, one of the most essential things you’ll need to consider is your CV and how effective it is in securing those all-important interviews.
To make sure you get it right and don’t miss any chances, here are the ten most common CV mistakes graduates make and how you can avoid them yourself.
1. Formatting Your CV Properly
One of the biggest mistakes and downfalls that graduates make in their CVs is the fact that they are not formatted properly. If you’ve written out your CV and it’s simply a big block of text, this makes your CV look very overwhelming to read.
Be sure to make your sentences short and easy to read while breaking up your sections into digestible paragraphs.
Here’s a good graduate CV template to help you with formatting.
2. Writing a Long CV
When it comes to a CV, the shorter and more precise it is, the more effective it will be. When applying for a graduate role, consider the fact that hundreds of other people may be applying for the role which is a lot of applications for a recruiter to read through.
As a rule of thumb, keep your resume to a single page in length and ensure all the information is precise and easily digestible. You can use tools like Easy Word Count and Ukwritings to help refine and streamline your CV.
3. Not Making an Impact
It’s easy to go through the motions of writing a CV that portrays your skills, your talents and your educational status. However, if you’re ‘boring’ with the language you use, you’re not going to make an impact on your reader.
“The aim of a CV is to create the best first impression possible and to grab their attention, making them go ‘wow, this is who we want for our vacancy’. Be creative with your CV and the language you use to make yourself stand out from the rest of the graduate applicants” – says Lila Baize, a Recruiting Manager at Write my paper company.
4. Making Your CV Irrelevant
Whether you’re describing your course or details about the experiences that you’ve had in previous jobs, such as part-time jobs, you had in university; it’s easy to get carried around trying to sell yourself in the best way possible.
However, this increases the risk of adding too much irrelevant detail into your CV which makes your CV boring and not relevant to the role that you’re applying for.
5. Underselling Your Talents & Achievements
Understandably, it’s very difficult to write about yourself in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re trying to ‘big yourself up’ when it comes to stating what talents and achievements you’ve got under your belt.
However, these are milestones in your life that you should be proud of and underselling these aspects of your CV can lead to your resume not standing out and therefore potentially missing out on the job opportunity.
6. Writing a Generic CV
When it comes to applying for a job role, it’s important that you tailor and edit your CV to match the vacancy that you’re applying for. One of the most common mistakes is simply writing a generic CV that you send to every job. Recruiters are well-trained and will know easily that this is the case.
7. Consider Your Other Experience
Since you’ve been in university, the chances are that you partook in a number of different activities at the same time as your course. These could include certain clubs or teams which could cover any kind of activity, and it’s crucial you realise the importance this can have on your job success rate.
“It’s great for companies to see exactly what you’ve been up to during your university time as it shows that you’re proactive and willing to step out of your comfort zone to achieve more, something all employers are looking for in a graduate employee.” – explains Billy Manzano, a Career Adviser at Assignment help service.
8. Not Using Exciting Language
As I’ve mentioned above, consider how many generic graduate CVs the recruiter has to read through before they get to yours. If you’ve used the same boring language as everybody else, you’re not going to stand out from the crowd.
This is an important point to remember for both your CV and your cover letter. Try to ‘spice up’ your CV by using power words that really grab your reader’s attention and makes them want to read on in your CV, rather than putting it down and moving onto the next.
9. Being Vague in your CV
It might seem like a good idea to average out your figures when it comes to your CV but the more precise you are with your facts, the more likely you are to secure a job interview.
For example, instead of saying you were at the top of the class in a certain subject, say that you were in the top 90% in the class, or you were number 2 in a certain event or activity.
10. Forgetting to Use Keywords
The chances are that the jobs you’re applying for will have hundreds of applicants. To help recruiters narrow down their searches, they may scan a CV using computerised software that picks out keywords in the content.
If your CV has the relevant keywords the company is looking for, then the recruiter will read the CV. However, you need to make sure your CV has these keywords for them to be discovered. The best place to look for these words is in the job description so make sure you read it carefully.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to make sure that your CV stands out from the crowd when applying for graduate jobs. By investing the right amount of time and effort into your CV, you can be sure that you’ll secure that all important interview which will help you begin your journey up the career ladder.
About the Author
Gloria Kopp is a career adviser and a resume writer at Big Assignments. She writes career columns at Engadget and Essayroo blogs. Gloria is an author of Studydemic educational blog where she writes guides and reviews for international students.