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General advice on CVs and cover letters for graduates

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No matter what industry you’re hoping to go into, you’ll need a CV and cover letter. Whether you’re unsure what a CV is, or you want to learn what a cover letter is used for, we’ve rounded up our best graduate CV advice and cover letter tips.

What is a CV?

A CV, which is short for curriculum vitae, is a short summary of your qualifications, experience, skills, achievements and education. Your CV is a crucial part of any application and will often be the first thing an employer sees of you. Although everyone’s CV will be different depending on experience and the job they are applying for, there’s often five main sections every CV should include:

  1. Contact details 
  2. A personal profile
  3. Work experience/employment
  4. Skills and achievements
  5. Education/qualifications

Learn more about how to write a CV.

Graduate CV templates and advice 

Whether you’re confused about the best layout for a CV, or you want to find out how you can use your CV to stand out against other candidates, we’ve rounded up CV templates and our best advice that will give you the competitive edge when applying for leading internships and grad schemes.

What is a cover letter and why do I need one?

A cover letter is an additional document used to elaborate on the experience and skills noted on the CV. Although a cover letter is not required for all roles, it’s always beneficial to go the extra mile and add one, as it gives you the opportunity to show your personality and how your skills fit in with what the company is looking for. Like a CV, you should aim to keep your cover letter to one side of A4 with clear and concise paragraphs. This should be structured in the form of a letter, with your contact details, the company address and you can even add a digital signature at the end to be extra professional.

Cover letter advice

While including a cover letter will make your application good, including a tailored cover letter will make your application great. Here’s everything you need to know about acing your cover letter:

Application form tips 

Almost every recruitment process starts off with an application form. This is why you need to know what the recruiter is looking for at this stage and how to impress them from the get go. Our Marketing and Client Delivery Director, Ben Triggs, offers exclusive advice on just that.

Here’s a summary of the key points:

  • Tailor your application to the firm you’re applying to
  • Make it personal to you
  • Be cautious of your wording
  • Pay attention to detail

For extra advice, read the top five mistakes to avoid on an application form.

Need more graduate CV advice? Prepare for the application process with Bright Network Academy

If you want to learn how you can really stand out to leading employers throughout application processes for internships or graduate jobs, take the Bright Network Academy Application Processes course to get started.