Graduate CV checklist: survival of the fittest

Spending (what seems like) 48 hours a day crafting your perfect CV, choosing the nicest font, ensuring every work experience you’ve ever had is included and of course, mentioning how you’re a hard-working individual… Hold up! Have you thought about who will be reading your CV and what they might be looking for?

CVRecruiters receive 100s of CV applications each day and they’re less interested in your choice of font than they are interested in spotting errors. A recruiter has specific roles in mind when quickly sifting through applications and they’re looking to compile a list of guys and gals that get the basics right.

As a graduate or student looking to secure an internship or job, it’s essential to get the fundamentals right. Follow the top tips listed below and don’t give recruiters or potential employers the chance to write off your application within those crucial first few seconds. The easier it is for those hiring to spot basic, key information – the higher your chances of passing onto the next stage of the process.

What’s your story?

Your degree and dream job are a great match on paper, but when did you graduate? Recruiters are interested in how you got to where you OZare today and the route you took. Spent a gap year backpacking around Australia? Mention it! The less unexplained gaps in your CV and the more relevant details you give about what is on there, the easier it will be for the reader to see your development.

What’s your situation?

govIt’s staggering how often people leave crucial information out of applications. When applying for a job in London for example, it always helps if you are already there! And if you’re not, tell us how fast you can get there. A simple “willing to relocate to x, y or z immediately” can boost your chances. If you’re not a UK citizen, it’s worth noting that SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises) are often not in a position to sponsor VISA applications, so outlining your citizenship and VISA situation in an application is also useful, if applicable.


Simply put, your CV must not have spelling mistakes! Send your CV to someone or more than one person to check for any typos or grammatical errors. It is always worth checking, especially when it could be the difference between getting an interview or not.

What’s your USP?

Picture this: 10 people with the same degree, same grade from the same university apply for the same job. Who will be invited to interview? The candidate who is able to stand out and draw attention to what makes them different! Involved with a charity, organising events at university, winning prizes for outstanding achievements or writing a blog? Shout about it. Demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded individual and you could be one step closer to getting an interview and securing that job.


coneYou earned your own money aged 14 doing summer work at an ice-cream shop, but is it relevant to role you’re applying for? The two months you spent organising your university society’s ball working with Excel and developing time management and organisational skills, will impress your potential future employer much more. Show how you needed to use skills that are relevant for your job in a practical situation and you will pass with flying colours. Support your claims with stats.

MarkusA lover of all things music, Bayern Munich and beer – Markus is the latest talent to join the Inspiring Interns team!


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