How to Write a Graduate CV: Step By Step Guide

A post grad CV is an important tool in helping students find suitable post graduate jobs and post grad internships. In this article, we’re going to give you some useful tips to help you land the job or internship of your dreams.


Identify Your Strengths and Skills


The first step in writing your graduate CV is to identify your key strengths and skills. Think about what you have to offer potential employers. This could include both hard skills (e.g. proficiency in software programs or laboratory techniques) and soft skills (e.g. communication, teamwork, and problem-solving).

Make a list of all your accomplishments, knowledge, and capabilities. Draw on your education, previous jobs, extracurricular activities, volunteering experience, etc. Quantify your achievements with facts and figures where possible e.g. “Increased social media engagement by 40%”.

Pick out the most relevant skills and achievements to highlight on your CV. Tailor these to the post grad jobs you are applying for.


How Long Should a Graduate CV Be?


A CV for graduate job hunting is typically 1-2 pages long. The exact length will depend on your level of experience and qualifications. If you are applying for your first role and other graduate schemes after university, one page is recommended.

For more experienced graduates, e.g. those with multiple internships or some full-time work, two pages is acceptable. Anything longer risks losing the recruiter’s interest.

Stick to the most important and relevant information. Use concise phrasing and bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs.


What Should a Graduate CV Look Like?


Your CV should be clear, structured, and easy to read. Use a professional, easy to read font like Arial or Times New Roman, size 10-12.

Include the following key sections:


  • Contact details: Your name, phone number, email, LinkedIn profile, city and country.
  • Profile: A short 2-3 sentence summary of your skills, experience and career goals. Tailor this to each role.
  • Education: List your university degrees in reverse chronological order. Include grades and dates.
  • Experience: List any paid or voluntary jobs, placements, or internships. Focus on responsibilities and achievements.
  • Skills: List your technical skills and soft skills relevant to the role. Back these up with evidence.
  • Interests: A few personal interests or achievements shows you are well-rounded.


How to Make Your Graduate CV Stand Out


Here are some tips for making your CV appeal to recruiters:


  • Open with a strong personal profile tailored to the company and role. This signals passion and fit.
  • Use measurable facts, figures and examples to demonstrate skills and impact. Quantify your achievements.
  • Focus on showcasing relevant skills gained through studies, extracurriculars and work experience.
  • Emphasise teamwork, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills. These are valued by employers.
  • Use positive action verbs like “created”, “led”, “organised”.
  • Ensure a clear structure with consistent formatting. Use bullet points to organise information.


Checking for Errors – Asking for Help


Carefully check your CV for any errors before submitting applications. Read it aloud and double check for:


  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Consistent formatting and structure
  • Accurate dates and facts

Ask other people to proofread your CV – tutors, career advisors, friends, and family. A fresh pair of eyes can pick up mistakes you might miss.

Check employer websites for CV guidelines and specifications. Tailor your CV to each application so it gets through the automated checks that many larger companies and recruitment agencies use to screen applicants.

Use online tools like Grammarly to help identify typos or issues with readability. But don’t rely solely on technology.


Adapting Your Graduate CV for Different Job Roles


When applying for multiple roles, adapt and customise your CV each time rather than sending out a generic version.

Look closely at the job description and person specification. Identify the most relevant skills, achievements and experience to highlight in your CV.

Edit your profile and key skills to match the role. Use related industry jargon and keywords listed in the job ad.

You don’t need to re-write your entire CV. Simply tailor the top profile section, and potentially adjust the order of your achievements to be most relevant.

Follow up with a tailored cover letter that explains why you are the perfect fit for this specific job. Show you understand the role and what the company is looking for.


Graduate Cover Letters


A cover letter is a one-page document that introduces you and your resume to a potential employer. It explains why you’re an excellent fit for the job by highlighting your relevant skills, experiences, and motivation for applying. An effective cover letter should be concise, personalised, and showcase both your written communication abilities and your interest in the role.


Write a cover letter tailored to each postgrad job application


Here’s how to customise your application:


  • Adapt the opening paragraph to the company and role. Demonstrate your motivation for applying.
  • Highlight 2-3 of your most relevant qualifications, backed up with evidence and examples. Draw directly from the job description.
  • Explain how your strengths would enable you to excel in the role and add value to the company. Use the job ad for context.
  • Close by reiterating your interest and fit for the position. Include any next steps e.g. following up regarding an interview.
  • Format your letter clearly, using paragraph breaks to structure your content. Use formal business letter style.
  • Triple check for typos and errors. Get a second opinion to ensure the letter is flawless.


Put time into crafting a unique cover letter for every application. This level of customisation and attention to detail will help your application stand out.

CVs and cover letters are important for any student looking at post grad careers and internships. While you may not know what job you want at this stage of your life, you can still create a CV that has all the essentials and can be tailored later.


If you are thinking about continuing your education to improve your career prospects, come and live with us in one of our comfortable postgrad buildings. Short-term lets are available, so you can keep your options open while searching for your dream job!

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