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THE STUDENT LIFE

A few notes on everyone’s favourite: the CV

What is one of the biggest mistakes a graduate can make on their CV?

Raise your hand if updating your resume is high on your to-do list.

Now raise your other hand if you’d rather stick a needle in your eye than start this tedious task.

Give us a high-ten with both those hands that are in the air ’cause we’re here to help. Here is ultimate ‘how to’ guide for your next resume:

The length debate:

Recruiters do not have time to read lengthy cover letters.

We’ll say it once more.

Recruiters do not have time to read lengthy cover letters.

Yes. It’s that important.

It is therefore crucial to keep your cover letter short and sharp if you want to grab attention. An opening line followed by two relatively brief paragraphs that directly address the job criteria. Is all you need.

Stick to one page. ONE. Seriously. 

Order is everything:

Recruiters want to see what you’ve been doing most recently. If you are within a year of having graduated or you’re still in school, put your education at the top of your resume. (It shouldn’t take up a ton of precious page real estate.) Once you’ve been out of school for two or more years, shuffle your education to the side.

One of the biggest mistakes a graduate can make is to dedicate only one line of their resume to their degree, yet have five lines about their job in a pub or retail. Think about it, do your various part time jobs represent you more than the three-plus years you spent studying your degree? No. Include some lines about the technical skills you learnt during this degree that will set you apart.

Keeping up appearances:

Do you need to tailor your cover letter for each application?

Yes.

Stop being lazy. You really need to.

Read each job description properly and edit your CV to ensure that those sought-after skills are featured prominently and stand out to readers. Most recruiters have a checklist of words and criteria they are looking for, so try to make your application meet the criteria using concrete examples.

Should I try make my resume ‘colourful’?

If you’re in a creative industry, be creative.

Makes sense right?

Zoe Foster Blake told us recently that she is regularly approached for career advice and when it comes to getting noticed via a resume she recounts how many intern applications she’d receive at Cosmo or Harpers Bazaar that looked as if they were prepared for a law firm.

“If you are applying for a creative job – you think creative,” she explained. “If you’re looking to work in advertising, maybe sell yourself as you would a product review; if you are applying for a job at a wine company, send your application in on a wine bottle label.”

That being said, if you’re applying to more analytical roles, keep it traditional.

Want more? Try an online resume. Our guide is riiiight here.

Do’s and Do Not’s:

Don’t: Use pronouns or write in first person.

Your resume should never say “I” or “me.” Instead of, “I worked on the launch for a six month period” you would write, “Worked six months on launch project.”

Don’t: Focus on tasks and responsibilities.

These are important but the true goodies? Results and achievements that convey the impact of the tasks that you did and the responsibilities you had.

A good instruction to remember is: “Don’t tell me what you’ve done, me how well you did it.”

Do: Apply!

If you meet about 70 per cent of the qualifications listed, go for it!

They’ve written their job description for their ideal candidate — they aren’t expecting everyone to have every single item checked off.

Let’s go for it! Head to our job finder.

A few notes on everyone’s favourite: the CV
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