As a graduate, finding a job in the current economic climate can be a challenge, but it is by no means impossible. There are lots of different ways that you can make yourself stand out, starting with your CV. Never be scared to be different and always go that extra mile because a striking CV could land you your dream role.
Your CV and cover letter will need to be interesting and always make sure they are free from clichés. Let your own personality shine through and don’t be afraid to break a few rules. However, this being said, always make sure spelling and grammar are correct and that there are no errors. The headings on your CV should be descriptive, but also grab the reader’s attention. Use exciting vocabulary and list out the reasons why they should hire you. Nothing says that you can’t have a section called ‘Three reasons to hire me’ in your cover letter.
The purpose of your application is to sell yourself and your skills, to secure that vital job interview. Something as simple as the email title will ensure that you stand out. ‘Joe.email@example.com’ sounds slightly more professional than ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Be sure to sell yourself in the title and avoid stale language. For example, ‘Maths graduate with expert numerical skills’ stands out a lot more than ‘application for recently advertised accountancy role’.
Instead of simply sending your CV to prospective employers, think of ways in which you can prove your worth to their company. Set up your own website or blog to show off your work. This is especially important if you want to work in a creative industry like graphic design, copywriting, journalism or marketing. It shows initiative, is a great way to showcase your talent and already gives a potential employer a taste of your work. You can also provide examples of where you have gained work experience in your chosen industry. Include other attachments as well as your CV if they’re relevant.
Another way of demanding attention is to show how your skills can be used within their company by having a problem-solving angle to your application. Describe how you would use your skills to solve a specific problem.
Be careful not to rely too heavily on your grades. It is not just your grades that will get you the job. Often, extra-curricular activity counts for more than just good grades. Include any relevant internships or work experience and show your employer that you are ready to work.
Try not to be too fussy about which type of companies you apply to and look in less obvious places. Smaller companies may not offer the large wages straight away, but they often have greater challenges and the opportunity for you to see different sides of the business. Social media will help to showcase your personality (use it wisely however, and make sure you keep any sensitive or personal content private). Connect and network with as many people as possible and make it clear that you’re looking for work without coming across as desperate.
Finally, be the professional graduate that everyone wants to employ. Be confident (but not arrogant) with a desire to learn and a can-do attitude. Never give the impression that you feel like you are entitled to walk into a job just because you have a degree. Instead, show genuine passion for your chosen industry and make it clear you’re prepared to work hard to succeed.