There’s more to university than studying – there’s lots of partying too! But seriously, there is something else you need to consider – making sure your CV stands out when you apply for a job. Employers might have dozens or hundreds of applications to consider, so plenty will get overlooked simply because they don’t offer anything distinctive or revealing about the candidate. It’s therefore a good idea to use your time at uni to make sure you have plenty of interesting things to say when you put yourself forward for a job. You can say as much as you like about working well in groups, being a good all-rounder etc etc, but nothing carries more weight on a CV than actually being able to prove these statements. So what could you do at uni to make your CV stand out?
1. Take up a hobby
Many people start uni with good intentions, signing up for sports teams, choirs, orchestras and all sorts of interesting pastimes. But lots of students will drop out after a short time, as the student lifestyle of nightly drinking sessions becomes more and more enticing and the workload grows. But sticking with these outside pursuits can say a lot about you. It shows you have interests beyond studying and drinking, a willingness to try new things and the ability to work in a team. Many pastimes also demand a level of commitment, self-discipline, reliability and motivation, which are all attractive character traits for a job applicant to possess. Employers want multi-layered individuals, with a personality and a desire to engage with the wider world – so what better way is there to make this apparent when you put yourself forward for a job?
2. Learn a language
Many business operate internationally these days, yet multilingual employees can be hard to come by. You can therefore give yourself an instant head-start if you take the time to learn a second language. And of course, you’ll be demonstrating appealing characteristics such as a desire to expand your knowledge and skills and a willingness to work hard even in your free time.
3. Get involved with student media
You don’t have to be chasing a career in the media to sign up with a university newspaper or radio station. Regardless of your long-term professional goals, it’s a fun and rewarding experience and a chance to develop skills that could be useful in all sorts of jobs. For instance, you’ll have to solve problems, work in a team, communicate effectively and manage your time well. When you’ve graduated and employers want examples of when you’ve demonstrated these abilities, you’ll have plenty to dazzle them with.
4. Write a blog
Do you have strong views on a particular issue or a passion for a certain subject? Would you consider yourself an expert on specific matters, or at least somebody who knows more than the average man in the street? If so, why not express your feelings and depth of knowledge in a blog? It could be a great way to demonstrate your passion and engage with other people about a subject you’re interested in. And if you’re looking to pursue a career that involves or overlaps with these issues quite strongly, writing a blog could be a great way to show employers you are enthusiastic about them and committed to keeping up to date with the latest developments. Add to that the fact that running a successful blog demands a certain level of dedication and you’ll be ticking a lot of the boxes for potential recruiters.
5. Be concise
This final point is so simple it’s easy to forget. Just because you’ve got lots of outside interests and things to say about them doesn’t mean you should write an autobiography. Keep your CV concise and don’t present recruiters with large chunks of text. You might be keen to share the finer details of everything you’ve done, but that’s exactly what the interview is for. Your CV is meant to make you stand out and put you up for consideration, not answer every question that could be asked about you. Pick the most important points, lay them out clearly alongside your employment and academic history and make it easy for recruiters to decide you are someone they want to speak to.