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Boost your CV while you study

Boost your CV while you study

You’re here at university, you’re enjoying your studies, you’re making friends and doing some activities, and you are even managing to get to your lectures on time.

That’s a great start and shows, amongst other things, organisation, time management, communication skills, independence and determination.

However positive your time here is, there is always more that you could be doing to help to boost your CV whilst you study, so we've have put together some ideas to help you get started:

Get Work Experience

It may seem like the obvious place to start, but your degree alone is often not enough. If an employer asked you to talk about your time at university, you can tell them all about the modules you’ve done – but so can everyone else on your course.

Gaining some work experience will add value, give you even more to talk about, and could also help you to put your learning into context if it’s relevant to the industry you’re hoping to apply to.  And don’t discard voluntary work - starting as a volunteer is a great way of getting experience and may lead to paid work.

Get involved

Student Ambassador jobs, Course Representatives roles, committees, projects, events, roles within the Student Union, temporary on-campus jobs – these are all great ways to get experience without even having to leave campus!

Review your CV

Look at some examples of CVs online (or ask friends and family to see theirs) and see what works well and what doesn't. Really analyse the layout, the language used, and the strength of the evidence given. And don’t go overboard with fancy fonts and images (although more creative subjects can get away with being a little more creative with their CVs).

Tailor it

Your CV is a working document, so should be changing and growing with you throughout the years studying here; what might start as a 1-page document in year 1 should be much more robust by the time you reach years 2 and 3.

Also, make sure it’s adapted to reflect the type of job you’re applying to instead of using a scatter-gun approach. Your evidence for one job may not be right for another one.

Value it

Don't underestimate the power of your CV - whilst many employers ask for online applications these days, your CV is still a really good place to start as it will help you to organise your information.  Having your information recorded efficiently can strengthen your application as it is not muddled and just floating around in your memory.

Show it

All universities have careers advisers who are here to help prepare you for that perfect job so please bring your CV along to show us!  Don't be scared if your draft CV currently consists of a few lines, or is crumpled having just been unearthed from the bottom of your drawer – we’re not here to judge, just to help to bring out the best in you. We can work with you to reflect on your experiences term by term, or year by year, if you like.

LinkedIn

This professional networking site is basically an online version of your CV and can help you to make contacts.  It’s used a lot by employers to search for candidates, so being on there and keeping your profile updated is essential.

Be Positive

It's not always easy to list positive things about yourself but CVs are not the place for negatives.  When writing your CV it will really help to start with a positive outlook to help you list the outstanding achievements and experiences in your life. 

Many students undervalue what they do here - we don't, we help you to extract the right information and get you to shout about it!

Start from the beginning

We believe that your career starts during the first week you’re here, so even if you are just looking for a part-time job to help pay your way or you're applying for a couple of weeks worth of work experience, we can help you to hone that perfect CV!

Consider your professional interests

If we had to name one area of a CV that most people hate, it would be the interests section.  It may be a simple task for those with an action-packed lifestyle, but if - like many of our current students - you are balancing your studies, with part-time work or managing family committments it may not leave you much time for anything else. 

But don't forget your professional interests.  One student once told me all about their interest in Hate Crime, doing extra reading and research in addition to their studies.  It wasn't mentioned on their CV as they assumed that this section was just about sporting or leisure activities.  Don't be fooled!  Whilst personal interests prove to the employer that you are a well-rounded individual, professional interests could well be relevant to your future career so don't dismiss them. 

Let us work with you to help you grow your CV and make you stand out. Get in touch with the team on 01978 293240 or pop into Careers and Zone on campus.


 

About the Author

Andrea Hilditch

Andrea Hilditch

Andrea has worked for WGU Careers & Zone for 10 years as Careers Adviser and Careers Information Officer.  Her passion is supporting students to find positive ways of looking at what they have to offer and helping them with their gradual progression into graduate employment.

Find more information about Careers and Zone at www.glyndwr.ac.uk/careers

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