Your offspring have finally graduated – it’s time to rejoice!  It’s also time to put their hard-earned qualifications to work and help them find their first graduate job. And not just any old job – it has to be the right one.

Competition is fierce out there and it’s not unusual for companies to receive 80 or more applications for each graduate vacancy. One top-tier bank hires only 2% of their 250,000 applicants. If graduates know how to market themselves properly however, they’ve already got a head start on their peers. But where do they start?

We’ve got some top insights for crafting a CV that will help your new graduate secure their perfect first job.

What employers look for in a graduate CV

It depends on the role and industry sector. When we’ve helped our graduate clients secure jobs with top-tier investment banks, the Big 4 and global blue-chips across every sector, we’ve found they need an impeccable academic record. That means at least a 2:1.

Any extra academic achievements – scholarships or awards – your daughter or son can highlight on their CV will be a big differentiator.  But, if their academic record isn’t quite that stellar – don’t despair. There are lots of opportunities out there and we help graduates from all disciplines and universities secure their target role.

What employers look for on top of a degree

In a nutshell, well-rounded individuals with broad extra-curricular achievements and work experience. I hear this time and again from every industry leader, from banking and accountancy to marketing and engineering. Graduates without any outside interests or work experience are unlikely to be selected for the top graduate programmes.

You can help them boost their CV with interesting activities and part-time or voluntary work/work experience. Always think about how they can demonstrate the competencies sought by their target employer.

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The perfect graduate CV & LinkedIn

CVs have changed enormously in the last 10 years or so. A modern CV is a marketing document not just a list of qualifications and experiences. It needs to demonstrate transferable skills and prove the candidate is a perfect fit for the role.

CVs and covering letters now need to be company and role specific, and keyword-optimised to get past the ’CV Robots’ (ATS) and generate interviews. You can help your child make a good start by doing a quick mind map, drawing on all aspects of their life – academic, professional and social – and identify their strengths. Then think about how they relate to the target role and come up with concrete examples, facts and figures to back up their claims.

We take a similar approach when writing LinkedIn profiles. A powerful, keyword-optimised profile, focused on achievements and results, is essential for all graduate job hunters. It’s all part of their marketing package – their online brand should be as professional as their CV.

Don’t overlook the importance of sports and interesting hobbies. If they’ve undertaken volunteer work or studied overseas make sure it’s highlighted. Recruiters still want to see some personality on a CV.

It’s also critical that the CV is easy to read and professionally presented. Non-standard formats and fonts are immediately rejected by the ATS scans.  Finally, make sure it gets checked (and checked again) – 97% of hiring managers reject CVs on the basis of two typos.

As parents, all we want is the success and happiness of our child. Providing the support they need to secure that first graduate job can be tough. But stay focussed and you’ll get there. And, remember, if you need any advice we have graduate packages and a team of experts to help you every step of the way.