Graduates: how to make the most out of your experience

Having just graduated and beginning the search for a job in engineering or IT, you might be struggling to figure out how your CV can be made to look as impressive as possible, despite a lack of experience. A few tips and tricks can help you figure out the easiest way to show yourself off and get the fantastic scientific, clinical or technical job you want.

Graduates at graduation ceremony throwing caps

Step 1

Firstly, figure out what you have done and its relevance to the position you are applying for. You can do this by writing down all your experiences, then making notes as to which are useful for this application.

These experiences can be anything from part time jobs to voluntary work to a university course with specific requirements. Explain your motivation for undertaking each experience, what they entailed and why they were successful. In this way, you quickly establish what drives you – something that is important for a potential employer to see.

Step 2

It’s important to make the experience you have sound as relevant and important as possible.

Rather than stating “I worked in a pub” it would be better to write “whilst working at the Rose and Crown, I managed customer satisfaction, handled transactions…”. By doing this, you’re explaining what it was you actually did, rather than simply declaring that you were employed. It means that your responses are far more relevant to the employer as you can demonstrate how the skills you used can be transferred to a different working environment.

Step 3

As well as making your experiences relevant, you should also include some key skills that you have developed.

Some skills to indicate you have gained include leadership skills, professionalism, the willingness to learn (which you can indicate through projects that you took part in during your studies) and how successful these have been. Include ways that you have improved aspects of the organisations that you have been involved with, thereby demonstrating your ability to help the company you are applying to work for. Add to this your willingness to learn, and it becomes clear to the employer that you can both improve the business and yourself.

Step 4

Revise your CV repeatedly, taking on any improvements or suggestions that are given. Through this you will eventually end up with a CV that is perfect in its vocabulary and grammar, thus ensuring that you are not rejected for carelessness.

You may also like to read:

Being selective with your CV

Create your own skills audit

The 30 second CV test

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