Graduate CV: Example & 20+ Templates (+Personal Statement)

Graduate CV: Example & 20+ Templates (+Personal Statement)

Write a CV that’ll get you a job before the ink on your degree is dry. With templates and expert tips to get you hired fast, even without experience.

The average annual cost of university in the UK is now in excess of £20,000 a year. That’s a massive investment you’ve just made in yourself so make sure it pays dividends.

 

How?

 

Get out there and get the best job possible for your qualifications. For that, you need a graduate CV that best shows off all the knowledge and skills you’ve gained.

 

In the time it takes to make a cup of tea you’ll see:

  • A job-winning graduate CV template.
  • A fresh graduate CV sample that’ll get you more interviews.
  • How to write a graduate CV even if you have no experience.
  • Graduate CV tips and examples of how to make full use of your hard-earned education.

 

Want to save time and have your CV ready in 5 minutes? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ CV templates and create your CV here.

 

sample cv templates

Sample graduate CV—See more templates and create your CV here.

 

Want other CV writing guides? Read more:

 

Graduate CV Sample (Text Version)

 

Megan Sykes

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: megsykeszety@gmail.com

 

LSE graduate with BSc Hons in Economics. My studies have given me a detailed understanding of economic theory and its application through practical data analysis. Looking to apply my skills in a fast-paced business environment in the role of graduate Data Analyst with Equinox.

 

Education

 

BSc (Hons) 2:2 Economics, September 2016–June 2019

The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

 

Key skills gained:

  • Fundamental elements of micro and macroeconomic principles and analysis, econometrics, and theoretical statistics.
  • Highly developed analytical skills with the ability to balance a heavy workload and prioritise accordingly.
  • Ability to examine complex datasets drawing conclusions appropriate to the problems at hand.
  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills through the production of essays and reports adhering to strict guidelines and delivering presentations to large groups.
  • Proficient in MS Office suite including advanced Excel knowledge, G Suite, Stata, Matlab, and SAS.

 

A levels: Maths, Mandarin, Economics, September 2014–June 2016

Forest Hill Comprehensive, London, UK

 

11 GCSEs including Mathematics and English, September 2012–June 2014

Forest Hill Comprehensive, London, UK

 

Skills Summary

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Developed skills in interpersonal communication with colleagues and customers working as a Customer Assistant.
  • Gained leadership and mentoring skills through volunteer coaching of children’s football classes.
  • Honed written communication skills as contributor to LSE student economics magazine, Rationale.

 

ORGANISATION

 

  • Balanced challenging workload of university studies, part-time work, extra-curricular activities and volunteer work.
  • Helped to arrange events as active member of LSE SU Economics society including guest speakers and helping to arrange annual boat party event.

 

IT & TECH SKILLS 

 

  • Competent in C++
  • Advanced Photoshop and image editing skills. 

 

Work Experience

 

Customer Assistant

Bartlebys Books, Clapham, London

October 2017–Present

  • Serving and assisting customers, using comprehensive product knowledge to meet and anticipate their requirements.
  • Delivering as a team member at a store that consistently meets sales targets and receives excellent reviews for customer service.
  • Stock management including visual displays, completing all tasks within required timeframes.

 

Languages

 

  • Mandarin—advanced

 

Awards

 

  • Silver Award, Economics Society—LSE SU Awards 2018

 

Volunteering

 

  • Volunteer Befriender with Age UK. Helping to provide companionship and care to the aged.

 

Impressive, isn’t it? Here’s how to make your graduate CV equally good:

 

1

Choose the Best Graduate CV Format

 

You’ve successfully finished university, so no doubt you’ve written a CV before. Find that old CV and bin it. 

 

It’s time to rewrite it from scratch with the best CV format, taking into account the full picture with regards to the skills you’ve gained from your years of study. 

 

CV examples in the UK tend to follow two formats. The best known is the reverse-chronological format. It’s centered on your employment history, presented with your most recent role first and working back in time from there. Perfect for people with a decent amount of work experience under their belt, not so great for a graduate just starting out. But there is a solution.

 

For a graduate CV template, you should follow the skills based CV format also known as functional format. This takes the pressure off in terms of work history and instead focuses on your abilities, qualifications and of course your skills. Those are the key selling points on a CV for a fresh graduate without experience. Here’s how to structure it properly.

 

Graduate CV Template—Section Order

 

  • CV Header
  • Personal statement
  • Education
  • Skills Summary
  • Work experience
  • Additional sections

 

That’s the basic structure for your CV template, but it needs to be presented in a visually appealing way. The best way to do that is with good layout.

 

2

Use Good Graduate CV Layout

 

Find a clock, count off 9 seconds. That’s how long the average employer takes to scan your CV. In less time than it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres your fate is sealed. You need to make every nanosecond count by making sure they can find the information they need fast. 

 

Good layout makes your CV easy to read and ensures you make a good first impression. For the purpose of writing a graduate CV, stick to standard business layout. Here’s what to do:

 

Graduate CV Layout Rules

 

  • Set margins of one inch on each side of the page.
  • Set spacing to 1.15.
  • Use a clear, readable font set at 10 to 12 point.
  • Left align only, no justification.
  • Double-space between sections for emphasis and clarity.

 

Not sure what font to use? Go for the classics such as Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, Verdana, or Didot.

 

There’s most likely one more layout question on your lips. How long should a graduate CV be? The answer is, drum roll please, no more than two pages. A one page CV should usually be enough for a graduate, but two pages is not a problem.

 

One last thing. Save your CV as PDF. It preserves the beautiful layout you’ve just created. However, also save a copy in another format, like MS Word DOC, as some employers won’t accept PDF. For extra flexibility make a copy in Google Docs and create a sharing link to it as a backup.

 

So your word processor is fired up, your layout is set and we’re ready to begin.

 

3

Start with a CV Header

 

This is the very first section at the top of your CV that gives your name and contact details. Not an exciting subject, but absolutely necessary, so let’s get it over with quickly.

 

Start with your full name in a font 4–6 points larger than your body text. Then your contact details. Phone number and a clickable email address are essential, but residential address is optional. This also happens to be the only section of your CV where centre alignment is ok.

 

Also, make sure the email address you use for your job search is a sensible one. Hotsexyluv@yahoo.co.uk was funny when you were 16, not so much now. Here’s the right way to structure your header:

 

Graduate CV Example Header 

 

Megan Sykes

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: megsykeszety@gmail.com

 

Next up, your personal statement.

 

4

Write Your Graduate CV Personal Statement

 

Your personal statement sets the tone for the CV content that follows. It’s a brief summary of your skills and experience and should always be tailored to the job you’re applying for. 

 

Do that by carefully reading the job description included with the job advert. Note the skills and qualifications that the employer requires. Then make sure you address them in your personal statement. 

 

Space on your graduate CV is precious so make it no longer than 200 words, or a maximum of four lines. Aim to answer three simple questions. Who are you? What can you offer to the employer? And, what are your career goals? Always aim to give examples with measurable achievements. See the examples.

 

Graduate CV Personal Statement Examples

 

RIGHT

London School of Economics and Political Science graduate with BSc (Hons) 2:2 in Economics. My studies have given me a detailed understanding of economic theory and its application through practical data analysis. Confident user of Stata, Matlab, and SAS. Looking to apply my skills in a fast-paced business environment in the role of Graduate Data Analyst with Equinox.

WRONG

BSc Economics graduate looking to make use of my educational attainment in a professional environment. Team player with excellent communication skills and confident user of data analysis software. 

 

Your CV personal statement needs to be short and sweet, but also specific to the role you’re applying for. The first example does exactly that, stating the graduate’s achievements, objective, skills, and homing in on the role being applied to. 

 

The second one sounds like it’s been copied into every application being sent, and that’s the last thing you want. It doesn’t even mention the university that the candidate attended. Excellent communication skills? That’s pretty vague. Just mentioning data analysis software is too vague as well. Be specific.

 

5

Include Your Education with Skills

 

We’ve already said it, you’ve just made a huge financial outlay in your education. Don’t be half-hearted in promoting your achievement. 

 

An education section is essential on any CV, but for a graduate CV it’s particularly important. Make it the very first section following your personal statement. 

 

Here’s how format the education section:

  • Write in reverse-chronological order. So Uni is first and school follows.
  • For uni, include your full, named degree e.g. BSc in Mathematics, with classification. 
  • List your university using the full formal name, with dates you attended. 
  • Don’t include individual modules, unless they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for. 
  • Use bold and italic will help the vital information stand out.

 

Include a skills summary directly under your university degree like this. 

  • Aim for 4–6 bullet points listing the skills/knowledge you’ve gained from your degree. 
  • Include a combination of soft skills and hard skills. 

 

Next comes school, which looks like this.

  • List A levels individually. 
  • For GCSEs just list the number you got, but do specify Maths and English as most employers consider these to be essential. 
  • Don’t include school grades as your uni degree is the most recent and relevant of your educational attainments.

 

Here’s a sample to show you how it’s done.

 

Graduate CV Example—Education Section

 

RIGHT

BSc (Hons) 2:2 Economics, September 2016–June 2019

The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

 

Key skills gained:

  • Fundamental elements of micro and macroeconomic principles and analysis, econometrics, and theoretical statistics.
  • Highly developed analytical skills with the ability to balance a heavy workload and prioritise accordingly.
  • Ability to examine complex datasets drawing conclusions appropriate to the problems at hand.
  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills through the production of essays and reports adhering to strict guidelines and delivering presentations to large groups.
  • Proficient in MS Office suite including advanced Excel knowledge, G Suite, Stata, Matlab, and SAS.

 

A levels: Maths, Mandarin, Economics, September 2014–June 2016

Forest Hill Comprehensive, London, UK

 

11 GCSEs including Mathematics and English, September 2012–June 2014

Forest Hill Comprehensive, London, UK

WRONG

BSc Economics, September 2016–June 2019

LSE, UK

 

A levels: Maths, Mandarin, Economics, September 2014–June 2016

Forest Hill Comprehensive, London, UK

 

11 GCSEs including Mathematics and English, September 2012–June 2014

Forest Hill Comprehensive, London, UK

 

Done right, this is the part of your graduate CV that makes an employer stop thinking about what sandwich they’ll have for lunch and start thinking about what a fabulous candidate you are. 

 

The first example has a fantastic list of skills and ticks all the boxes for necessary details and layout.

 

The second might work for someone with years of employment experience, but it doesn’t cut it for a graduate CV. Vital details about the degree missing and no skills summary. If you want your CV to disappear into oblivion then this is a good way to do it.

 

Your degree isn’t the sole source of your talents though. You’ll have gained skills that are valuable to employers by other means, too. Read on to see how to include them.

 

When making a CV in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your CV here.

When you’re done, Zety’s CV builder will score your CV and tell you exactly how to make it better.

 

Pop your CV into some different templates to see how it looks. Read more here: 20+ Free CV Templates to Download Now

 

6

Create a Skills Summary

 

Use this section for skills you’ve gained outside of your degree. The same rule applies here as to the rest of your graduate CV. Make sure they increase your desirability as an employee and that they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for. 

 

A whopping 94% of employers say they’ve been impacted by a lack of required skills so getting this right is an essential part of your job search. 

 

Organise your skills into categories such as communication, organisation, and IT and tech skills. Then put a couple of bullet points under each. Give specific scenarios and achievements showing how you’ve attained them, where possible. As always, leverage your layout for maximum visual appeal.

 

Here’s how it should look.

 

Graduate CV Example—Skills Summary

 

RIGHT

Skills Summary

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Developed skills in interpersonal communication with colleagues and customers working as a Customer Assistant.
  • Gained leadership and mentoring skills through volunteer coaching of children’s football classes.
  • Honed written communication skills as contributor to LSE student economics magazine, Rationale.

 

ORGANISATION

 

  • Balanced challenging workload of university studies, part-time work, extra-curricular activities and volunteer work.
  • Helped to arrange events as active member of LSE SU Economics society including guest speakers and helping to arrange annual boat party event.

 

IT & TECH SKILLS 

  • Competent in C++
  • Advanced Photoshop and image editing skills. 
WRONG

Skills Summary

  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Organizational skills

 

You don’t need a first from Oxford to see which of those is more attractive to an employee. Apart from skills specific to the job description you should also consider the top general skills sought after by top UK employers. Skills such as adaptability, problem-solving and valuing diversity are big wins, regardless of the job.

 

7

Include All Work Experience

 

Like the title says, include all work experience that you have. On a graduate CV this won’t be a glittering career history and it isn’t expected to be. 

 

However any job that you’ve had should be included. Apart from skills and experience gained it really helps your CV to stand out just that little bit more.

 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Write in reverse chronological order, starting on your most recent job and working back.
  • Include the job title, company name and location, and the dates of employment.
  • Use 4–6 bullet points that combine responsibilities with achievements. 
  • Target your skills and achievements to the job you’re applying for.
  • Use the PAR (Problem-Action-Result) formula for maximum impact.

 

Now see that advice in action.

 

Graduate CV Example—Work Experience

 

RIGHT

Customer Assistant

Bartlebys Books, Clapham, London

October 2017–Present

  • Serving and assisting customers, using comprehensive product knowledge to meet and anticipate their requirements.
  • Delivering as a team member at a store that consistently meets sales targets and receives excellent reviews for customer service.
  • Stock management including visual displays, completing all tasks within required timeframes.
WRONG

Customer Assistant

Bartlebys Books, Clapham, London

October 2017–Present

  • Served customers on checkouts
  • Gave excellent customer service
  • Restocked shelves

 

The first example is like Bram Stoker’s Dracula next to that awful Twilight fan fiction you wrote as a teenager. It shows a combination of duties, useful skills, and achievements that back them up, such as meeting sales targets. Don’t just rattle off your duties like the second example does.

 

We’re not finished yet though. Not by a long shot. There are some final touches you can add to give your CV an extra boost.

 

8

Add Extra Sections to Your Graduate CV

 

There are around 250 applicants for every job. With such strong competition, you need a secret ingredient that bumps your CV up from a third to a first. 

 

You’ve probably got other skills and experience that don’t fit neatly into the sections we’ve already covered. Include some additional sections to show these off and shift the odds in your favour. 

 

First, some suggested additional sections for a CV for a fresh graduate without experience.

 

Graduate CV Examples—Additional Sections

 

  • Volunteer Work
  • Awards and Honours
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Languages
  • Certification
  • Training

 

Each of these has the potential to add value to your application and convince the hiring manager of your credentials. Here’s how to write them.

 

Volunteering

 

Volunteering is a powerful addition to your CV. A survey by Deloitte revealed 82% of employers are more likely to consider candidates with volunteering experience. That’s an incredibly powerful boost to your chances. Contributing your time unpaid also shows motivation and work ethic. Qualities that are desired by every employer.

 

Volunteer Work—Example

 

Volunteering

 

  • Volunteer Befriender with Age UK. Helping to provide companionship and care to the aged.

 

Awards and Honours

 

An easy win. Recognition of your talents and abilities is a great way of making you stand out in terms of skills and achievements.

 

Awards and Honours—Example

 

Awards

 

  • Silver Award, Economics Society—LSE SU Awards 2018

 

You just need to include the details of the award and the year you achieved it. Do keep it recent and relevant though. Best leave off your third-place win in the speed pint drinking contest.

 

Languages

 

Language skills boost your career. In an increasingly global and interconnected economy this is an additional section that’s a must-have.

 

Languages—Example

 

Languages

 

  • Mandarin—advanced

 

Simply state the language and your level of fluency.

 

We’re almost finished, but there’s one more thing.

 

9

Attach a Cover Letter to Your Graduate CV

 

Cover letters are still a thing and they’re still very important. Almost half of employers will reject your application if you don’t include one.

 

But it's easy when you know what to include in a cover letter:

  • Follow standard business formatting rules and use the right cover letter length. That's one page tops.
  • Mention the hiring manager by name when addressing your cover letter.
  • Write an attention-grabbing cover letter introduction.
  • Highlight your most impressive skills and achievements.
  • End your cover letter with a closing statement that includes a call to action.

 

And we’re all done.

 

Make sure your cover letter formatting is perfect. Read more: How to Format a Cover Letter [Examples & Step-by-Step Guide]

 

For even more great CV writing tips check out this guide: 20+ Job Winning CV Tips and Advice

 

Key Takeaways

 

Writing a graduate CV needn’t be painful, even when you don’t have experience. Here’s a cheat sheet to help get your job search started in style:

  • Use skills-based format for your graduate CV. It’s the best choice when your work experience is limited.
  • Build your CV on a foundation of good layout so every line is easily read.
  • Write a personal statement that’ll make the employer eager for more.
  • Keep the focus on your education and skills, but never leave out work experience. Then add value with additional sections.

 

If you’ve got questions, then we’ve got answers. Use the comments section to get more info on how you can write the perfect graduate CV.

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Jacques Buffett
Jacques is a career expert committed to delivering top-notch job hunting advice. His guides will empower you to craft winning resumes and cover letters.

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