3 Graduate CV Examples (+How to Write a Graduate CV) – CV Nation

3 Graduate CV Examples (+How to Write a Graduate CV)

An in-depth, illustrated guide to writing a fantastic graduate CV, which includes 3 graduate CV templates that you can use now.

Preparing an effective graduate CV can be a daunting task. How do students and recent graduates show employers that they’re the best candidates for jobs when they have little or no experience?

In this guide, we’ll show you how to do exactly that.

We’ll show you how to package your academic experiences in a way that makes recruiters see you as a worthy candidate among experienced professionals.

Graduate CV Example

Graduate CV Sample

How to Write a Graduate CV

Step 1

Contact Details

It goes without saying that your CV should include your contact details. However, there is often some confusion among job-seekers regarding the way this information should be presented.

So, what are the key points to consider?

There is no need to include your full address, unless recruiters have requested you to do so. Instead, simply include the name of the town/city and country that you live in.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, include your LinkedIn profile URL. However, if your LinkedIn profile is very basic, don’t include your LinkedIn URL until you’ve improved it and added quality, engaging content that makes you stand out.

Basic, bare-bones LinkedIn profiles can do more harm than good to your applications.

Ensure to include your phone number and email address. Use a professional email address. Unprofessional email address – such as funnyman@ or beeroclock@ - may indicate an unprofessional candidate.

Step 2

Personal Statement/Professional Profile

Personal statements, often called professional profiles or summaries, are short introductions to your CV. Their aim is to sell you to the reader and show your value in just a few sentences.

Graduates' personal statements should touch on their academic skills and experiences that are pertinent to the professional world.

For example, law graduates may have gained various legal skills while obtaining their degree. They may also have completed internships with law companies and undertaken legal projects at university.

Such skills and experiences are what graduates should draw attention to in their CV’s personal statement. Focusing on skills and experience gained during your time in academia that are relevant to the job you’re pursuing will show recruiters that you’re ready to make an instant impact.

Here is an example of a graduate’s personal statement:

Graduate CV's Personal Statement

Step 3

Skills

Create a skills section that highlights your key capabilities. In this section, focus on hard skills – acquired skills that are necessary to perform the job you are pursuing.

The required hard skills will depend on the career you are pursuing.

For example, if you’re looking to land jobs in law, essential hard skills will include research and legal knowledge. If you aim to secure a graduate job in marketing, essential hard skills will include data analysis and digital marketing.

However, there are a number of soft skills that employers in all fields look for in graduates. If you can demonstrate these on your CV, you’ll stand a great chance of impressing recruiters and progressing to the next stage of the application process.

Soft Skills

When it comes to soft skills, it’s much more beneficial to show, rather than tell.

Stating that you have good communication skills, for example, holds little weight. However, revealing that you’ve completed multiple public presentations, shows that you’ve got good communication skills.

The best places to show your soft skills on your CV include work experience and internship sections, voluntary work sections, and education sections.

Let’s take a look at the most important soft skills for graduates and how to demonstrate them in your graduate CV.

Which soft skills do employers value most in graduates?
Most important soft skills for graduates
1. Time Management

The ability to effectively manage time is one of the most sought-after soft skills in graduates. Good time management improves efficiency and provides a platform for the success of operations.

Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’.

The point is that achieving success very often depends on how you manage your time.

If your CV communicates your time management skills, you will stand a greater chance of impressing recruiters and employers.

How do you show your time management skills on your graduate CV?

One of the best ways to show your time management skills is to detail your achievements that came about as a result of your time management.

Here is an example:

Reduced delivery times by 2 days by streamlining the packaging process and implementing new software systems.

If you have no work experience, you may want to highlight specific projects that you have completed in your CV’s education section. Here, you can show how you used your time management skills to achieve positive outcomes.

2. Communication

Communication is widely recognised as a valuable soft skill for graduates. Employees with good communication skills are able to follow instructions, improve relationships with customers and maximise operational efficiency.

How do you show your communication skills on your CV?

Draw attention to times you have delivered presentations or completed group projects. These types of activities demonstrate your communication acumen.

Note in the example below how the candidate illustrates her communication skills by describing her experience delivering public presentations in the education section of her CV.

Graduate CV education section

Another way of showcasing your communication proficiency is to ensure your CV is professionally written, using a broad vocabulary, excellent grammar and polished writing.

3. Commercial Awareness

As a graduate with little or no work experience, employers will often want to know that you understand the workings of their industry.

Use your personal statement/professional profile to demonstrate your knowledge of your targeted industry. You may also want to touch on work experiences or internships that have introduced you to the industry.

4. Problem Solving

Problem solving is a an important soft skills for graduates. Employees who can respond to problems in a composed manner, generate effective solutions and implement corrective actions can play a big role in business success.

Good problem solving is made up of analytical acumen, lateral thinking, flexibility, creativity and decision-making. So, if you can demonstrate your problem solving capabilities on your CV, you’ll also convince employers that you possess a whole range of other valuable soft skills.

How do you demonstrate your problem solving skills on your graduate CV?

To showcase your problem solving skills, detail examples of your problem solving achievements in your work experience section.

Here is an example:

Improved customer response times by 32% by sourcing and implementing new client management software following a string of complaints from customers.

5. Empathy

As Yolanda Lau – co-founder and chief talent officer at FlexTeam and chief experience officer at Liquid – touches on in her article on Forbes, empathy is one of the most in-demand soft skills.

Why is empathy an important soft skill? Why do employers care about empathy?

Employees with empathy care about their colleagues, understand their colleagues’ views and communicate more effectively.

In turn, this maximises efficiency and improves overall business performance.

How do you show your empathy in your graduate CV?

The best way of showing your empathy is to touch on your voluntary work or extra-curricular activities. Have you volunteered at charities? Do you spend your free time helping others?

Such activities can be highlighted in a ‘voluntary’ section or an ‘interests’ section’ to demonstrate your empathy.

Step 4

Education

The education section is arguably the most important section on a graduate CV.

Not only is this the place to show off your degrees and qualifications, but you can also highlight other key skills and experiences gained during your time in academia.

For many graduates, this makes up for a lack of work experience.

For example, when writing about your university degrees, you could include a number of key projects that you undertook to show your expertise and skills.

How do you format your education section on your graduate CV?

List the qualification you obtained, as well as the grade you achieved, the name of the university attended and the dates of the course. Include the key modules undertaken as this can help to convey your knowledge and expertise. Additionally, include the title of any dissertations you have completed.

Here is an example of a graduate CV’s education section:

Mechanical Engineer Graduate's CV Education Section

Step 5

Work Experience and Internships

Now it’s time to include your work experience.

Consider splitting your work experience up into separate sections. These separate sections might include ‘relevant work experience’, ‘internships’ and ‘other work experience’. This will enable you to draw more attention to your most relevant experiences.

List your work experience in reverse-chronological order. The involves listing your current or most recent position first, then moving on to your previous position and so on.

You may think some or all of your work experience is irrelevant. For example, if you’re pursuing a career in business management, but have work experience as a waitress, you might question if you should include this experience on your CV.

In most cases, you absolutely should include it.

This kind of work experience allows you to demonstrate various valuable, sought-after soft skills. For example, touching on your experience dealing with irate customers and achieving positive outcomes demonstrates strong problem solving skills.

What to do if you have no work experience to include on your graduate CV

If you have no experience, think about your extra-curricular activities and non-paid endeavours.

This may include volunteering at charities, even if only for short periods of time. Other common forms of non-paid work include writing for websites and working with family members.

Of course, you should never lie on your CV and try to pass such activities off as paid work if they were not. Be honest and state that you weren’t employed. You can still use these activities to demonstrate your skills and your ability to add value.

Step 6

Awards

Awards can play a big role in improving your CV and making you stand out from the competition. If you’ve been presented with any awards, whether during employment, academic experiences or extra-curricular activities, ensure to list them in this section.

Include the title of the award, the name of the institution that presented you with the award and the date you achieved the award.

Here is an example of a graduate CV’s awards section:

Graduate CV award section

Step 7

Hobbies and Interests

Most professionals are not recommended to include hobbies and interests on their CV as they’re usually not directly relevant.

However, for graduates who may not have a great deal of work experience, hobbies and interests can be a fantastic way of showcasing your skills, experiences and knowledge.

For example, do you enjoy taking part in public speaking competitions? If so, including details of this on your CV would indicate you’ve got good communication skills. Have you captained your local sports team? If so, including details of this on your CV would indicate sound leadership skills.

When writing your CV, use your hobbies and interests to your advantage to demonstrate your skills, experiences and knowledge.

Step 8

Additional Information

Include any additional information in the final section of your CV. Additional information may include language skills, IT/software proficiency and licences.


Graduate CV Example


Graduate CV Example


Further CV Writing Tips for Graduates
Should you include references on your graduate CV?

References do not need to be included on CVs, unless you have been asked to by recruiters.

When submitting a CV, you are usually at a very early stage of the job application process. References will be requested by employers at a later stage of the application process.

How long should your graduate CV be?

The optimal length for graduate CVs is two pages. This should provide enough space to illustrate your experiences, skills and ambitions.

CVs that are longer than two-pages risk losing the attention of recruiters.

If you have little or no work experience, a one-page CV may prove more beneficial. One-page CVs have various advantages, including the fact that they are concise and the key information is easy to locate.

Should you include a photo on your graduate CV?

CVs for applications in the UK, United States, Australia and Canada should not have a photo, unless you’re pursuing jobs in modelling, cabin crew or acting.

However, photos are often expected on CVs in many countries in Continental Europe, including Germany and Spain.

For find out if photos are expected on CVs in your country and profession, take a look at our guide on the topic.


We hope you’ve found this guide helpful in preparing a great graduate CV. If you want to give yourself a boost in the job market, you may want to consider investing in our Premium CV package.


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