How to Write an Effective CV as a University Student

Blogs 26 Apr 2023 / 5 mins read

By Owen Redman

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Whether it’s for a placement or a graduate role, writing a CV is the first step to starting your employment journey. It feels daunting to start, but if you have an effective CV under your belt you’ll fly through the rest of the stages. Consider these 4 tips to get started!

Focus on your transferable skills

Most students don’t have formal professional experience before graduating, and a CV can feel empty without it. The trick is to focus on your skills: some employers are simply looking for flexible, enthusiastic employees and are prepared to train you up to their standard.

  • If you worked part-time through university or school, mention what skills you learnt on the job that you can apply to this new role. Although it may seem unrelated, don’t leave it out of your CV! If you worked in a busy kitchen, for example, you’re likely skilled at crisis aversion and can think on your feet –  a popular transferable skill that is invaluable in the corporate world.
  • Look through the job description in detail, there will likely be mention of skills that are valuable for the role. If there aren’t, check out websites like Prospects that will list skills that are needed for your particular job.
  • If you feel like your CV skills could improve, consider learning a hard skill that could advantage you in the workplace. There’s a large number of hard skills that you may already know: if you’re familiar with Excel to an advanced level, can speak a foreign language, or have a professional qualification specific to your field, make sure to mention it.

Include sections 

Section out your CV to keep it easy to follow. Employers will look out for your education, skills, and contact details so make it easy to find. 

  • This one’s easy: stating your email, phone number, and address towards the top of the page is essential for any CV. If you have one, you can also include a link to your Linkedin profile
  • It’s also useful to include a brief profile of yourself. Keep this short and relevant – informing your employer of your current background and corporate field you want to enter
  • In your education section, provide details about your relevant academic history, usually from the ages of 16-21, detailing your school and university. You can also include your qualification grades or university predicted grades if you want. However, there are no hard and fast rules for this: if you think your A-Level grades don’t work in your favour, there’s no need to include them. 
  • In your skill section, include your soft skills and hard skills by bullet points. Take note about tips about specific soft and hard skills above. 

Tailor your CV for every job

Employees will look out for relevant pointers when looking through candidate CVs. For jobs with a large number of candidates, this is sometimes carried out with AI which will filter keywords to exclude candidates who don’t fit the role. Make sure to edit your CV slightly for every role to improve your chances! 

  • Keep an editable version of your CV on hand so it’s easy and efficient to add keywords or quick alterations to fit the job description.
  • Read through the job description carefully to pick out what they’re looking for. This is an easy way to know what to include or remove from your CV. The same position on your CV can look completely different when properly tailored!
  • Consider keeping multiple versions of your CV and naming them according to the job field. This way, if you apply for different jobs that require different skills, you already have a CV on hand that is perfectly tailored to that area.

Format your CV well 

Along with the contents of your CV itself, its layout is also crucial to consider. For the most competitive roles, employees will only spend a minute or two looking at your CV, so make the first impression count. 

  • Use a professional font, and keep the sizing between 9-12. To keep your CV readable, make sure to include subheadings and separation between job roles and sections. Make sure to be consistent: keep your spacing regular and bullet points the same size and type. Canva is free and provides great CV templates with efficient formatting options so you can focus on the more important details.  
  • Watch out for small things that may put the employer off. For example, try avoiding  filler words that don’t add to the quality of your CV, and watch out for punctuation  mistakes. Get someone else to read over it: a small typo is easy to miss, and it’s not worth losing a great opportunity over it!

Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!

Posted by Owen Redman

Co-founder of Roome

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