Each week, TopCV responds to user questions like the one below. We will publish those answers here. Have a question for us? Have a look at our career advice or ask a question on our Quora page.

I just graduated from university. How do I write a graduate curriculum vitae (CV)?

I just graduated from university. How do I write a proper CV? — Sarah M.


If you've just graduated, you probably have some idea of how to write a CV, especially if you've held any part-time jobs during your studies.

Remember that a graduate CV serves to provide prospective employers with information about why you're suitable for a vacancy. As a result, some essential sections must be referenced on all CVs, including:

  • Name and contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Employment history

  • Education and qualifications

As you're a graduate and just starting your professional career, you can get creative with your CV format to make your best skills evident from the beginning.

Your graduate CV template should always start with your name and contact details. Now that you've graduated from university, it's time to switch from your university email address to a popular email provider. A university email address will only emphasise your newness to the job search, so create a Gmail account to appear more professional. An exception to this is if you graduated from a prestigious university that would get you noticed ‒ an Oxford email address is something worth flaunting.

Start with a personal statement, or profile - this is basically your elevator pitch which showcases your key attributes that make you the perfect candidate for the role. 

If you have little or no work experience, place your education and qualifications next. as your degree is your biggest selling point. Zoom in on modules, specialisms, projects, and assignments to showcase your knowledge. Remember to keep your points tailored to the requirements listed in the vacancy too.

Up next is your employment history section. For each position, detail the dates of employment, your job title, the company, an outline of the role, your key responsibilities, and achievements. Again, keep your points targeted towards the role you're applying for.

If you have very little to add in this section, you can always retitle it to "placements and projects" or "placements and employment history," to compensate for your lack of experience. List any work, volunteering, or impressive projects, whether in or out of university, like a position of employment.

If you have extra room, feel free to include a "hobbies and interests" section at the end of your CV, but only add hobbies that add weight and value to your application.

Most students fall into the trap of listing run-of-the-mill hobbies, such as socialising, reading, sports, and computer gaming, without explaining why these interests make them more employable.

Pick around three hobbies that are either directly related to the industry you want to enter or that showcase your soft skills. Bullet point them and add details which explain the relevant skills that you've developed and refined. For example:

  • Computer gaming: refining valuable soft skills, such as perseverance, patience, and strategic thinking, improving mental and creative prowess

When writing your graduate CV, remember that the prospective employer doesn't expect you to have a fully-fledged set of skills yet – no one expects you to be an expert straight out of university. Make the most of the soft skills you've developed throughout your education and keep the requirements listed on the job description front-of-mind at all times, so that you show the employer why you're suitable for the position.

Click here to learn more about writing graduate CVs and see an example of a successful one.

Is your graduate CV ready for your job search? Find out with a free CV review today.

Recommended reading: 

Related Articles: