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How to Improve Your CV in 10 Steps

As a student, it can be overwhelming to begin to look for and apply to jobs within your chosen industry, and a CV is one aspect of this process that can cause stress. However, creating your CV doesn’t have to be difficult! Here are the top 10 ways to improve your CV as a student.

Make sure it is easy to read and concise.

The font and spacing should be consistent and simple. Try not to be too creative with formatting and keep it minimal and straightforward so it can be easily followed and flows logically. In descriptions, be concise and to the point and avoid vagueness in phrasing and any sweeping statements.

Write experiences from most recent to least recent.

This makes your work and education experience easy to follow by employers and shows what you have most recently completed or what you are currently working on.

Use strong action verbs.

When describing responsibilities and experiences, change up your wording and be specific about what you did while also making the most of what your responsibilities were. Instead of "set up for an event", say "coordinated and assisted (led) in day-of logistics".

Use measurable successes and key achievements.

Employers like to see quantifiable figures and including these moments can make you stand out from others, especially if they are within your desired industry. Good examples of this can be specific sales figures, how many projects you completed in a certain area, or a specific objective you led and completed. These specific points of achievement can be great things to expand on in interviews and use later to add context to your responsibilities.

Customise your CV.

When you update and edit, change your CV to fit the job and industry you are applying for. If the job description or industry requires certain skills or experiences, make sure you include them! These can be highlighted in multiple sections and showcase why you are the best candidate. When applying for different jobs, you should be updating the skills section or the responsibilities you include from your past experiences to make sure they are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Include all experiences.

As a student you have so many experiences that are not work-related, include them! Extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, hobbies, or leadership positions are just as important as jobs or paid experiences. These responsibilities in other aspects of your life show commitment and drive, traits that are important to a potential employer. Make sure you emphasize anytime you stepped up as a leader and include the skills that came along with this experience.

Add a skills or certification section.

This can be customized to match the job you are applying for and these can come from any kind of experience, not just work, as mentioned in step 6. Including soft skills is important but to get a leg up in a certain industry you can also include tangible or technical skills that you have learned through courses or platforms like LinkedIn Learning. Another way to get certified is to apply for awards that recognize student work. Having your work recognized is a great way to stand out. Here is how you can submit to the Global Undergraduate Awards!

Provide references if possible.

Having a past manager or a professor that can attest to your dedication and hard work is a great way to stand out when looking for a full-time job. Make sure you contact whoever you decide to add to your CV to let them know you put them down and that it is someone you still have a good relationship with.

Include a short, personal statement.

This can be a quick introduction, just two or three sentences. This can include what motivates you, how you work, or what you are looking for within the job you are applying for or the industry you will be working in. Introduce them to your voice a bit and give them context to the rest of your CV.

Edit and edit!

And then edit some more. Check for tense changes, typos, inconsistencies, and anything that is unclear or vague. Have other people in your life take a look and check for these small things as well. Continuously update your CV when you have new experiences, jobs, or earn more certifications. It should change as you do and should not stay constant for too long.

Now you have the tools you need to make your CV writing process simple! Good luck with applying, you got this!