Sometimes, selling yourself in a CV can be difficult, especially if you've been concentrating on university. Here, CV-Library explain how you can bring your studies to life in writing.
Studying for a degree is no easy task. You’ve probably spent hours researching and writing assignments over the years, requiring you to manage your time, think on the spot and work under pressure. All while juggling your social life, family, work and finances.
Despite this, when it comes to writing a strong CV, it can feel practically impossible to sum up your time in academia and sell yourself on two A4 sides of paper. Especially as you need to show the employer that your studies have given you practical skills to succeed in the workplace.
Don’t fear, as we’re here to ensure you don’t sell yourself short, by explaining how you can bring your studies to life in your CV.
Crafting a brilliant CV begins before your hands even hit the keyboard. You need to start by choosing the right structure for your skills and experiences. A traditional or reverse chronological CV will usually begin by detailing your work experience or past employment.
Go with this style if you have relevant experience for the role you’re applying to. The education section would then compliment your experiences to show that you have both academic knowledge and practical skills.
However, you don’t have to go with this structure. As mentioned above, it all depends on the role you’re applying for. So, if you don’t have any experience in the industry you’re looking for work in, but your degree is relevant to the role, it’s only natural that your education will be your key selling point.
In this case, your most recent qualifications should come first (this will be your degree) followed by other achievements in reverse chronological order.
You should include the most detail when you talk about your degree. This includes the grade you were awarded (or are working towards) and any modules you want to shout about that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you’re stuck with the structure, check out online CV templates to ensure you create a standout CV.
While you’ve been working and studying, you’ll have picked up many valuable transferable skills - begin by listing these on a separate piece of paper to help get the ball rolling.
Next, look at the skills the employer is asking for. The personal specification of the job advert is your best friend here, as it will tell you exactly what they want.
Now it’s time to cross reference your skills with the ones the employer is looking for. You need to show that you’re the perfect candidate for the role by meeting their needs.
If they want a team player, shout about how well you worked with your peers on a university project. Or, if they want someone with excellent time management skills, you could show how you juggled numerous deadlines, family life and work effectively.
It’s important you use the actual keywords the employer asks for too. For example, if they want someone with ‘brilliant team leadership skills’, use the same vocabulary. This will ensure that your CV is picked up by any ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that the employer may use to track applications.
Employers want to see that you have the right skills for the job and can apply these to their role, so make sure you tailor everything to the role and company. Leave out anything that you think doesn’t fit with the role you’re applying for.
That said, it doesn’t mean your modules or classes aren’t relevant to the job at all. You just need to find a way to show they’re valuable. For example, if you analysed data as part of your course and you’re applying for a job in marketing, you might demonstrate how you can analyse trends and come up with effective conclusions from them.
Initiative is a key skill in the workplace; it proves you can work independently and think on your feet. Fortunately, the fact that you’ve decided to enrol on a blended or distance learning course shows that you’ve successfully used initiative and your studies will enable you to develop these skills.
In terms of shouting about this on your CV, be sure to give some examples of times you’ve come up with solutions to problems on your own. For instance, if you faced a challenge with your assignment you might discuss how you came up with an effective solution that worked.
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