Although most of the comments that we see at IndustryCV are tailored towards a specific industry there are some key themes and talking points which we see repeatedly and are worth noting as you put together your own CV and submit your graduate or internship applications.
1) Enthusiasm Trumps Intellect
There are very few jobs that require you to be on the same level intellectually as a rocket scientist (aside from a rocket scientist!). Don’t get me wrong, professional jobs require you to be smart, but you only need to be smart enough.
Strong A-level grades and an undergraduate degree will often be a prerequisite, but going beyond that won’t necessarily help, and could even risk you being viewed as overqualified.
Hard work is the norm for most graduate jobs – if you aren’t motivated, you won’t last and certainly won’t make a positive impression on your colleagues. Your application should leave the reader in no doubt around your enthusiasm and desire to break into the industry.
One of our Management Consultants mentioned in his article that he focused on the following question during interviews, “Why do you really want to work with us? ….What have you done so far to prove that you are serious and passionate [about this role}?”.
Hiring managers want to be convinced of your motivation and enthusiasm.
2) Starting Salary Doesn’t Matter (To A Point)
It is tempting to chase the graduate job that offers the highest starting salary or best perks, but graduate jobs require more strategic thought than that.
Salary is clearly one piece of the puzzle, but if you are serious about having a successful career then your first year’s pay will likely be the lowest you will ever receive. Position yourself for growth and opportunity rather than short term bragging rights.
One of our Financial Analyst reviewers, while describing what helped him land great jobs, said “It is crucial to assess what the role provides for my own personal development, such as the working culture, opportunities for training and development, expansion of my personal network, travelling opportunities and work/life balance“.
Knowing what you want, and where you want to go will help you find a job that makes you feel fulfilled in your workplace. This may take some time and self reflection but it is worth it – it will also enable you to ask more engaging questions in interviews which highlights how serious you are in starting a long term career.
3) Dare to Show Some Personality
In competitive graduate industries it is common to have 100+ applications for a single graduate job, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. In our article, “Advice On Your Investment Banking Application”, the author describes how you may well end up, “spending more time with your work colleagues than with your own family and friends”. In essence, it is important for a team to know that they will be able to get on with their new colleague.
Showing personality doesn’t mean compromising professionalism but rather adding glimpses of personal drive and intrigue, which could get you put into the ‘call for interview’ pile.
One neat way to achieve this is by hinting at your motivations around a qualification or achievement. For example; changing a factual achievement such as “created a mentoring program for high school students”, could become, “beyond my studies I lead a mentorship programme to help students achieve their full potential”.
The reader of this statement will now see you as someone who is willing to go above and beyond, is happy to lead projects and is motivated by helping others succeed. These are all extremely positive personality traits for a hiring manager and this extra connection may just make the difference in getting your CV noticed.
Another example which is slightly more unique would be to make a statement that intrigues the reader enough to want to ask you in for an interview. One of our reviewers explained how in his ‘Other Interest’ section in his CV, he wrote, “Competed nationally in juggling competitions – if you can throw and catch I can teach you to juggle in five minutes!”.
This slightly informal tone is clearly a risk, but with starting odds as long as 1/100 he was willing to take the risk and ended up being called in for interviews as a result.
We hope you found this article useful in providing some ideas to improve your CV and job applications. At IndustryCV we believe quality and tailored feedback from the people that matter will allow you to take your application to the next level and maximise your chances of landing your dream job! See how IndustryCV can help you here.