So you want to secure a good job and kick-start your career, but you’re struggling to write an undergraduate CV?
Use our Undergraduate CV example and writing guide to learn exactly how you can create an effective CV and make the right impression on recruiters
- Undergraduate CV example
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
Undergraduate CV example
Before you start writing your CV, take a look at the example Undergraduate CV above to give yourself a good idea of the style and format that recruiters and hiring managers prefer to see.
Also, take note of the type of content that is included to impress recruiters, and how the most relevant information is made prominent, to ensure it gets noticed.
Undergraduate CV structure and format
Recruiters and employers are busy, and if they can’t find the information they’re looking for in a few seconds, it could be game over for your application.
It should be clear, easily legible, well-organised and scannable – check out some simple tips and tricks below:
- Length: Whether you’ve got one year or three decades of experience, your CV should never be more than two sides of A4. Recruiters are busy people who’re often juggling numerous roles and tasks, so they don’t have time to read lengthy applications. If you’re a recent graduate or don’t have much industry experience, one side of A4 is fine.
- Readability: By clearly formatting your section headings (bold, or a different colour font, do the trick) and breaking up big chunks of text into snappy bullet points, time-strapped recruiters will be able to skim through your CV with ease.
- Design: While it’s okay to add your own spin to your CV, avoid overdoing the design. If you go for something elaborate, you might end up frustrating recruiters who, above anything, value simplicity and clarity.
- Avoid photos: Don’t add photos, images or profile pictures to your CV. Not only do they take up much-needed CV space, but they’re actually completely unnecessary and won’t boost your CV at all.
Structuring your CV
Divide your CV into the following major sections when writing it:
- Name and contact details – Head your CV with your name and contact details, to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you.
- CV profile – A brief paragraph which summarises your skills and experience and highlights why you’re a good match for the role.
- Core skills list – A snappy, bullet-pointed list of your most relevant skills.
- Work experience – A structured list of your work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Education – A summary of any relevant qualifications or professional training you’ve completed.
- Hobbies and interests – An optional section, which should only be used if your hobbies are relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Write your contact details in the top corner of your CV, so that they’re easy to find but don’t take up too much space.
You only need to list your basic details, such as:
- Mobile number
- Email address
- Location – Don’t list your full address. Your town or city, such as ‘Norwich’ or ‘Coventry’ is perfect.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Remember to update these before listing them on an application.
Undergraduate CV Profile
Your CV profile is basically a short introductory paragraph, which summarises your key selling points and highlights why you’d make a good hire.
So, write a well-rounded summary of what you do, what your key skills are, and what relevant experience you have.
It needs to be short, snappy and punchy and, ultimately, entice the reader to read the rest of your CV.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: The best CV profiles are short, sharp and highly relevant to the target role. For this reason, it’s best to write 3-4 lines of high-level information, as anything over might be missed.
- Tailor it: No matter how much time you put into your CV profile, it won’t impress if it’s irrelevant to the role you’re applying for. Before you start writing, make a list of the skills, knowledge and experience your target employer is looking for. Then, make sure to mention them in your CV profile and throughout the rest of your application.
- Don’t add an objective: Avoid discussing your career goals in your CV profile – if you think they’re necessary, briefly mention them in your cover letter instead.
- Avoid cliches: Focus on fact, not fluff. Phrases like “Committed and enthusiastic thought-leader” and “Dynamic problem solver” might sound fancy, but they’ll do nothing for your application. Not only do they sound cheesy, but they have no substance – stick to real skills and facts
What to include in your Undergraduate CV profile?
- Summary of experience: To give employers an idea of your capabilities, show them your track record by giving an overview of the types of companies you have worked for in the past and the roles you have carried out for previous employers – but keep it high level and save the details for your experience section.
- Relevant skills: Highlight your skills which are most relevant to Undergraduate jobs, to ensure that recruiters see your most in-demand skills as soon as they open your CV.
- Essential qualifications: Be sure to outline your relevant Undergraduate qualifications, so that anyone reading the CV can instantly see you are qualified for the jobs you are applying to.
Quick tip: If spelling and grammar are not a strong point of yours, make use of a writing assistant tool like Grammarly. It’ll help you avoid overlooking spelling mistakes and grammar errors and, best of all, is completely free!
Core skills section
In addition to your CV profile, your core skills section provides an easily digestible snapshot of your skills – perfect for grabbing the attention of busy hiring managers.
As Undergraduate jobs might receive a huge pile of applications, this is a great way to stand out and show off your suitability for the role.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points and be made up of skills that are highly relevant to the jobs you are targeting.
Work experience/Career history
By now, you’ll have hooked the reader’s attention and need to show them how you apply your skills and knowledge in the workplace, to benefit your employers.
So, starting with your most recent role and working backwards to your older roles, create a thorough summary of your career history to date.
If you’ve held several roles and are struggling for space, cut down the descriptions for your oldest jobs.
Structuring your roles
Lengthy, unbroken chunks of text is a recruiters worst nightmare, but your work experience section can easily end up looking like that if you are not careful.
To avoid this, use my tried-and-tested 3-step structure, as illustrated below:
Start with a solid introduction to your role as a whole, in order to build some context.
Explain the nature of the organisation you worked for, the size of the team you were part of, who you reported to and what the overarching purpose of your job was.
Follow with a snappy list of bullet points, detailing your daily duties and responsibilities.
Tailor it to the role you’re applying for by mentioning how you put the target employer’s desired hard skills and knowledge to use in this role.
Lastly, add impact by highlight 1-3 key achievements that you made within the role.
Struggling to think of an achievement? If it had a positive impact on your company, it counts.
For example, you might increased company profits, improved processes, or something simpler, such as going above and beyond to solve a customer’s problem.
In your education section, make any degrees, qualifications or training which are relevant to Undergraduate roles a focal point.
As well as mentioning the name of the organisation, qualification titles and dates of study, you should showcase any particularly relevant modules, assignments or projects.
Interests and hobbies
This section is entirely optional, so you’ll have to use your own judgement to figure out if it’s worth including.
If your hobbies and interests could make you appear more suitable for your dream job, then they are definitely worth adding.
Interests which are related to the industry, or hobbies like sports teams or volunteering, which display valuable transferable skills might be worth including.
Writing your Undergraduate CV
When putting together your Undergraduate CV, there are a few key points to remember
Always tailor your CV to the target role, even if it means creating several versions for different roles.
Additionally, remember that the structure and format of your CV needs just as much attention as the content.
Good luck with your job search!