Class of 2018 and considering what to do next? The good news it’s a great time to be starting a career. With unemployment levels at the lowest they’ve been in over a decade, jobs and graduate programmes are plentiful. With that said, employers are no longer concerned with a degree alone.

Soft skills and inter-personal competencies are now just as important. Skills like, problem-solving, resilience and communication are all looked for on a graduate CV and in interviews. Fresh from studies and having limited work exposure means writing a killer CV can be daunting.

Your CV is the first impression a prospective employer will form of you and will determine whether you make it to interview stage or not. Spending time to perfect your CV is crucial. As employers are willing to invest in training and education for graduate programmes, use your CV to show why you are worth investing in.

What to include

Before drafting your CV, have a think about what you have learnt over the past few years and how that can be incorporated into your CV.
Begin by thinking over your college experience. Were you part of any clubs or societies? Do you have any academic accomplishments?
Hobbies and interests
Next make a list of any volunteering or extra-curricular accomplishments, for example; competitions entered, exams sat or sporting successes. This will show your passions, dedication and team player skills.
Work experience
Then make a list of all your any jobs and work responsibilities you had during college. Consider times when you went above and beyond. Perhaps you won employee of the month, were promoted to supervisor or exceeded your targets? It’s statistics like this that will help you stand out.

Tailor each job application

Recruiters read hundreds of CV’s daily and receive an influx of applications for every job they post. A process of elimination inevitability happens, and a shortlist is then made. To make it to the yes pile, your CV needs to stand out.

The best CV’s are clear and not generic. Use the personal summary section to clearly show what your goals and ambitions are. A generic CV will be recognised immediately. If your summary reads ‘Recent Marketing Graduate seeking an opportunity within the digital marketing space’ and you have applied to a graduate finance programme, be sure you won’t be making the yes pile.

Use keywords

Read the job spec and tailor your personal summary and work experience to match. The majority of job specs list skills and competencies an employer is looking for so use these keywords to your advantage.

For example, if the job spec mentions good computer skills, highlight your PC and systems experience. If it asks for attention to detail, highlight any tasks you have done which required 100% accuracy. Was this counting cash and balancing tills? Typing documents or working with data? Ensure you show these examples clearly.

How long should your CV be?

Keep to the two-page rule when writing a graduate CV. You want to keep the reader’s attention and only give a snapshot to peak interest. Everything else you can discuss at the interview (if you've already got interviews lined up make sure to download our interview handbook for lots of tips and advice.)

Business-like language that is clear, concise and positive reads well. Use action words such as, created, achieved, organised, and responsible. Bullet points look best when demonstrating work experience. Consistency in style and tone is important so make sure to keep the font, layout, and size all uniform.

Remember recruiters and employers read a lot of CVs so you want to make yours as easy as possible to read and find information on. Frequent spelling and typo errors look bad on any CV so always read, read and re-read to make sure you are happy with the final version. Then get a friend or family to proof read for you too!

Writing a graduate CV isn’t easy but if you put some time and effort into tailoring your CV for each job application it will pay off.

If you’re interested in graduate job opportunities in banking and finance get in touch and I’d be happy to offer advice and guidance. We currently have a number of vacancies available within Customer Service, Technical Support, Operations, Risk, AML, Fraud, HR, and Administration.

If you would like to have chat please send your CV to louise.okane@cpl.or, call 01-6146045 for a confidential chat or click below to view my current graduate jobs.

Graduate Jobs in Banking