Transitioning from student to worker: The importance of a strong CV
When you leave university the prospect of “the real world” can seem a daunting one. Though your years of studying will have required plenty of hard work and dedication, moving away from life as a student and into a career often requires a different mindset. Thankfully, many of the skills you have acquired at university can – when portrayed in the right light – be extremely helpful in helping you to get your foot in the door of your first job as a graduate.
Knowing the right spin to put on your skills and experience is vital to crafting an effective CV which, given that it forms the first impression you will be making on your potential employer, is obviously important. Whatever you’ve been studying, you will be leaving university furnished with both specific expertise which will help you in certain industries, and general skills which can be useful in almost all workplaces.
Beginning with the general then – think about what the experience of being a student has taught you, and how that could be advantageous to any employer. For example, many companies will value a candidate’s ability to be organised and work to a deadline: something which you should be well practiced in thanks to your time at university. Other general skills that ought to be talked up on your CV include: writing persuasively, conducting research, an analytical eye, and effective time management.
Obviously your specific expertise will depend on your degree, but whatever your chosen area is be sure to match the employer’s needs and outlook with your own skill set. Don’t hold back from emphasising your qualities: it may feel strange to take such a self-aggrandising tack, but only you can persuade an employer of your value. Remember that you need to be prepared to fight off the competition from other graduates who certainly won’t be afraid to do so for themselves.
No matter what the news is reporting about times being tough for graduates, you need to put yourself out there and not let fear of rejection stop you from moving into the world of work. And if you’re not yet sure which direction to head in, there are plenty of industries with opportunities for graduates to hone their skills and move up the career ladder. For ideas, try browsing job sites like reed.co.uk for everything from retail jobs to media jobs to engineering jobs. This will give you a good idea of what’s out there, what kind of skills and qualifications employers are looking for, and should hopefully inspire you to make the transition from student to worker.