Author Topic: Seven easy ways to improve your CV  (Read 1208 times)


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Seven easy ways to improve your CV
« on: October 12, 2018, 12:37:06 PM »
Work placements and internships
If your degree has included an industry placement, make sure you mention it prominently on your CV, treating it as you would any paid experience. This means detailing the skills you developed as well as your achievements and the impact they had on the organisation. Even if the placement isn't relevant to your current career goals, the skills are likely to be transferable. A short testimonial from your supervisor or line manager (taken from a reference, for example) also serves to emphasise your skills or qualities.

Internships can prove that you've been proactive in searching out career opportunities. Treat these as you would paid employment: mention what you were hired to do, giving brief details about the role, then concentrate on the impact you had with examples of your achievements and results.

A section on your CV immediately under your profile or before your education section titled something like, "Work placements and internships", helps make the most of your experience and shows a potential employer that you bring more to the table than just a degree.

Gap year
A gap year can be a great way to build your "soft" skills, as well as to develop the type of personality traits that employers like, such as resilience, flexibility, or the ability to get on and work with a culturally diverse range of people. You have a choice of places to put it on your CV, depending in part on what other experience you have. For example, it can go in a "voluntary work" section (to replace, or as part of your work history section), or you can list it under education (while expanding on the skills you developed in a key skills section).

When you write about your gap year, make sure you fully describe the skills you developed and aim to make these as relevant as possible to the role you're applying for. If you were involved in a group project, quantify the outcome (and why it was important to your host community).

Summer "filler" jobs or part-time work
If a gap year isn't for you, taking on a summer job (or part-time work) is arguably as useful. You'll be building work experience and demonstrating basic work skills, showing that you can hold down a job, arrive on time, be managed, etc. Don't underestimate these qualities – they can easily give you the edge over candidates without any experience but with an equally good degree.


Don't discount any jobs where you've worked for family members. These are still as relevant and interesting to a potential employer and there's no reason to specify your family connections on your CV.

Whatever the role, find areas in which you excelled. Were you consistently highly rated for customer service or for meeting other performance targets and standards? Were you called on to give training or to perform particularly tricky tasks? For each role you undertook, try to find at least one achievement that will set you apart from others. You should also stress anything that will make you stand out from others doing the same job, such as being rehired, promoted, or trusted with extra responsibilities.

Don't label these types of jobs as "summer" or "filler" jobs. Instead, include them in your work history section, which can go either before or after your education – depending on the focus in the job advert itself.

Voluntary work
For some sectors or positions, voluntary work is highly desirable. Additionally, if you're trying to fill a gap or get essential experience in the sector before making a career move, voluntary work can be a useful stepping stone. In these situations, it's worth making your voluntary work section more prominent. Otherwise, you can slot it into your work history section – or even in your extra-curricular activity section if you volunteered while studying.

Extra-curricular activities
These have the advantage of showing an employer that you're well-rounded and that you made the most of your time at university. It's especially useful to show examples of leadership or team work, or where you developed organisational and communication skills. You can do this through including examples of captaincy of sports teams, and committee work in student societies. Even saying, "active participation in (student club) membership", along with examples of events or initiatives you were involved in, can be useful.

Extra-curricular activities can be placed as a sub-section within your education.

Academic achievements and coursework
Don't be shy about mentioning awards or high grades in your profile section. "Prize-winning history graduate" or "BA Hons (2:1) in history" sets the scene for your CV, and you can then go on to give further details in your education section. Consider creating a sub-section titled: "Academic highlights". Adding detail (what prize you won, particular mention for coursework) helps to cement your status as a high-achieving individual.

Make the most of your coursework too. Rather than just mentioning the main areas of your study in your education section, you can create a skills section from coursework modules and place it just under your profile, as shown in this graduate CV.

In this example, the "Specialised knowledge" section (which you could also call "Trained in") includes various coursework modules, such as "financial analysis" or "business strategy". This technique works well if you're applying to job boards or CV databases where recruiters search using a keyword filter.

Online or continuous learning post-graduation
If you're currently unemployed, creating a section for ongoing training can help you not just to fill gaps but also to reassure employers that you're proactive about continuous learning. However, make sure that what you include is relevant and useful in some way to your career objectives.

You can also include personal projects in this section, especially those that are equipping you with the skills and knowledge to do the job you're applying for.

Consider including this information before your work history section or as part of your education section.

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