Postgraduate roles allow you to launch into a career with confidence and the capacity to succeed, but they require a postgraduate CV that blows away the competition.
Showcasing your acquired skills and raw aptitudes, a postgraduate CV needs to demonstrate the exact skills the role needs and paint you as the ideal candidate.
This easy-to-follow guide brings you the practical solution for creating a winning postgraduate CV that will ensure you are invited to interview and already placed ahead of the crowd.
- Postgraduate CV example
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
- Skills required for your Postgraduate CV
Postgraduate CV example
Before you start writing your own CV, take a look at the example Postgraduate CV above to give yourself a basic understanding 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.
Postgraduate CV structure & format
First impressions count, so a sloppy, disorganised and difficult-to-read CV won’t do you any favours.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step; if your CV lacks readability, your written content won’t be able to shine through.
- Length: If you want to hold the reader’s attention and ensure your CV isn’t yawn-worthy, it’s best to stick to two sides of A4 or less. This is more than enough room to highlight why you’re a good match for the role – anything more can quickly become tedious!
- Readability: To help busy recruiters scan through your CV, make sure your section headings stand out – bold or coloured text works well. Additionally, try to use bullet points wherever you can, as they’re far easier to skim through than huge paragraphs. Lastly, don’t be afraid of white space on your CV – a little breathing space is great for readability.
- Design: When it comes to CV design, it’s best to keep things simple and sleek. While elaborate designs certainly command attention, it’s not always for the right reasons! Readability is key, so whatever you choose to do, make sure you prioritise readability above everything.
- Avoid photos: Logos, profile photos or other images aren’t necessary and rarely add any value – save the space for written content, instead!
Structuring your CV
As you write your CV, work to the simple but effective structure below:
- Name and contact details – Pop them at the top of your CV, so it’s easy for recruiters to contact you.
- CV profile – Write a snappy overview of what makes you a good fit for the role; discussing your key experience, skills and accomplishments.
- Core skills section – Add a short but snappy list of your relevant skills and knowledge.
- Work experience – A list of your relevant work experience, starting with your current role.
- Education – A summary of your relevant qualifications and professional/vocational training.
- Hobbies and interests – An optional sections, which you could use to write a short description of any relevant hobbies or interests.
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.
Postgraduate CV Profile
It’s ideal for busy recruiters and hiring managers, who don’t want to waste time reading unsuitable applications.
Think of it as your personal sales pitch. You’ve got just a few lines to sell yourself and prove you’re a great match for the job – make it count!
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: When it comes to CV profile length, less is more, as recruiters are often time-strapped. Aim for around of 3-5 persuasive lines.
- Tailor it: If recruiters don’t see your suitability within a few seconds, they may close your CV straight away. Your CV profile should closely match the essential requirements listed in the job ad, so make sure to review them before you write it.
- Don’t add an objective: Career goals and objectives are best suited to your cover letter, so don’t waste space with them in your CV profile.
- 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 Postgraduate 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: Make your most relevant Postgraduate key skills clear in your profile. These should be tailored to the specific role you’re applying for — so make sure to check the job description first, and aim to match their requirements as closely as you can.
- Essential qualifications: Be sure to outline your relevant Postgraduate qualifications, so that anyone reading the CV can instantly see you are qualified for the jobs you are applying to.
Quick tip: Even the best of writers can overlook typos and spelling mistakes. Whilst writing your CV, use a free writing assistant tool, such as Grammarly, to help you avoid any silly errors.
Core skills section
Make sure that your most valuable skills aren’t missed by adding a bullet-pointed core skills section like the one below.
This should also be heavily targeted towards the role you’re applying for.
For example, if the job advertisement lists certain skills as “essential”, then you’d list them here.
This immediately helps the reader to see that you’re a perfect match for the job.
Work experience/Career history
Recruiters will be itching to know more about your relevant experience by now.
Kick-start this section with your most recent (or current) position, and work your way backwards through your history.
You can include voluntary and freelance work, too – as long as you’re honest about the nature of the work.
Structuring your roles
Whilst writing your CV, it’s essential to look at it from the eyes of a recruiter.
If they’re met with giant blocks of text which are impossible to navigate, they might get frustrated and skip onto the next CV.
Instead, make use of the 3-step structure shown below, to give them a pleasant reading experience.
Provide a brief overview of the job as a whole, such as what the overriding purpose of your job was and what type of company you worked for.
“Marketing Global is an international digital marketing agency specialising in social media, website, and advertising support for SMEs in recruitment and retail. As a Digital Marketing Intern, I provided first-hand support on marketing projects, using copyediting and social media skills to drive repeat business.”
Using easy-to-read bullet points, note down your day-to-day responsibilities in the role.
Make sure to showcase how you used your hard sector skills and knowledge.
- Supporting the Digital Marketing Executives in setting up and launching campaigns for clients
- Organising, launching, managing and analysing Affiliate, Paid Social and PPC Campaigns
- Drafting, proofing and scheduling content across multiple social media channels using Buffer
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.
- Managing brand campaign for customer that increased website traffic by 50% in 2 months
- Securing new deal with Influencer for client that boosted interaction with Instagram page by 35%
Although there should be mentions of your highest and most relevant qualifications earlier on in your CV, save your exhaustive list of qualifications for the bottom.
If you’re an experienced candidate, simply include the qualifications that are highly relevant to Postgraduate roles.
However, less experienced candidates can provide a more thorough list of qualifications, including A-Levels and GCSEs.
You can also dedicate more space to your degree, discussing relevant exams, assignments and modules in more detail, if your target employers consider them to be important.
Interests and hobbies
The hobbies and interests CV section isn’t mandatory, so don’t worry if you’re out of room by this point.
However, if you have an interesting hobby, or an interest that could make you seem more suitable for the role, then certainly think about adding.
Be careful what you include though… Only consider hobbies that exhibit skills that are required for roles as a Postgraduate, or transferable workplace skills.
There is never any need to tell employers that you like to watch TV and eat out.
Essential skills for your Postgraduate CV
Tailoring your CV to the roles you are applying for is key to success, so make sure to read through the job descriptions and tailor your skills accordingly.
However, commonly desired Postgraduate skills include:
- Technical understanding – Prove that you have the skills to match your recent qualifications by showing your technical knowledge relevant to the role.
- Commercial awareness – Demonstrate business acumen in the sector in which you are applying.
- Results-focussed – Showcase your ability to succeed and meet targets, getting the job done.
- Research – Explain how you utilise your research and analytical skills to understand situations, solve problems and deliver results.
- Collaboration – Demonstrate your ability to work with others, balancing collaboration, negotiation, persuasion and perseverance.
Writing your Postgraduate CV
A strong, compelling CV is essential to get noticed and land interviews with the best employers.
To ensure your CV stands out from the competition, make sure to tailor it to your target role and pack it with sector-specific skills and results.
Remember to triple-check for spelling and grammar errors before hitting send.
Good luck with the job search!