Handling the challenges of your graduate CV

The graduate CV poses unique challenges if you want to be successful in your job search. Typically as a graduate you do not have a great deal of work experience, plus you have a market full of eager young graduates, just like you, competing to get the job you want.

The problem with the graduate CV

This lack of experience also poses a problem for employers. Without a track record to assess, how can they make a judgement of whether you can do the job.? This is of course one of the core questions of the recruitment process.

The solution

To overcome this a graduate CV should focus on the other core questions : will you do the job, and will you fit into the organisation? You will achieve this by placing an emphasis on showing you have the right attitude, and all the attributes required to BECOME successful. You can separate yourself from your peers. It is all about showing yourself to be the right kind of person. This is hugely important at graduate/entry level. They will be able to teach you what they want you to know, but the blank canvas you supply is what they want.

One of the keys to doing this is by displaying transferable skills. With the ever increasing pace of change in the modern workplace its vital to have a core set of skills that will not become redundant over time. The kind of skills that can be applied continuously to add value, such as leadership, listening, communication, and learning.

What you need to do

Do your homework

As always then, its your preparation that will make the difference. Before you write your CV , you will need to make sure you research effectively to find out what you need to know about the organisation, and get the job information you need. Your aim is to identify what they are looking for and how you can best present yourself in the following areas;


People with the right attitude are worth their weight in gold to any business. Your personality matters. Ultimately it will determine if you will fit into the organisation or not., and just how far you will go once you get there. The biggest clue to your personality is what type of things do you do, and how you do them. Do you take pride in what you do? Do you give your best? Is the way you do things a positive example to others?


Do you have a track record of academic achievement? This indicates skills such as learning, discipline, ambition. What course have you done ,and what grade did you achieve? Were there any specific areas of your course that may relate to the industry/job role you want to enter? If so, let them know. You should be proud of what you have achieved.

Social/workplace experience

Many graduates have never worked a day in their lives. Those who have are at an advantage because they know how the world of work operates, not just in theory but in practice too. Include information about any work experience you have, from work placement to part time or even voluntary work. Look to highlight the skills you used, especially those that would transfer to the position you want now.


Can you show them that you are the type of person who gets involved and gets things done successfully? Include details of extra curricular activities (and no, partying doesn’t count! )Focus on the types of things where you would have been able to demonstrate key skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership etc. Things such as membership of teams, or societies work well for this.

For more on how to put together a graduate CV- click here If you want to learn the keys to giving a great interview - start here by learning about how to interview.

Telephone interviews
are very popular method of interview screening for graduate positions.

For more on the types of interviews you may face- click here

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