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Cover Letter and CV Advice for Graduates from a Senior Recruiter

Posted by Mary Green

Tell us about your background in recruitment?

I am a passionate and dedicated Recruitment Professional with over 5 years’ experience in the private and public sectors. At university I tailored my qualifications to focus on my area of interest; Human Resource Management and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Tourism. Whilst I was studying, I became a tutor to further develop my skills and knowledge. I also volunteered at reputable organisations to gain practical skills and experience.

With proven success in large scale recruitment projects, I am proficient in end to end recruitment within a best practice methodology. I have recruitment experience in various industries and I have successfully recruited for Fortune 500 companies and top tier organisations such as the big four banks and leading telecommunications providers.

Throughout my career, I have provided interview coaching and resume writing skills to hundreds of candidates to assist them in their search for work.

My successful career can be attributed to my passion to succeed.

How is the graduate employment market in 2014?

The graduate employment market in 2014 is competitive with many recruiters still hesitant of hiring graduates. Graduate programs for 2015 will have smaller intakes than previous years and with the proportion of tertiary educated employees increasing it sounds like it is all doom and gloom for graduates, but do not despair! The mid to long term prospects for graduates is looking positive so be prepared to be patient and diligent in your search for employment. The news is good for technical graduates with demand for their skill sets growing steadily.

The graduate employment market has had to evolve to keep up with the times. More and more employers are advertising graduate jobs online with an increasing emphasis on social media. This means you get up-to-date information directly from the employer. Linked In is also a great means of networking. So like, follow and connect with your employers of choice.

Why is having a good résumé and cover letter important for graduates?

A great resume and cover letter is your ticket to an interview and a stepping stone to your dream graduate job. It is your opportunity to sell your skills and experience to employers. Your resume and cover letter should explain how you can add value for the employer. Recruiters can receive hundreds of applications for Graduate positions and a polished resume can make you stand out from the crowd.

So what makes a great resume and cover letter? One that is specific and relevant. With resumes, one size certainly does not fit all. You must tailor your resume to each and every position you apply for. If this sounds like a lot of work, think of it as in investment. If you invest your time and energy now, this could lead to a job with one of Australia’s leading employers.

What are common mistakes in graduate resumes?

The Mistake: Spelling and grammatical errors
The Solution: Spelling check, spell check, spell check. I would recommend asking a friend or family member to proofread your resume or better yet, ask an expert!

The Mistake: A generic resume
The Solution: As I mentioned earlier, tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. See above for further details.

The Mistake: Too much personal information
The Solution: Delete it. Recruiters are not interested in your age, race or religion and save that lovely new photo for your Facebook profile picture as photos are not welcome on your resume.

The Mistake: Focussing on responsibilities
The Solution: Many graduates focus on their responsibilities rather than their achievements. Quantifying your achievements emphasises them and will help you stand out from the crowd.

The Mistake: Poor formatting
The Solution: Resumes should have good flow so make sure your formatting is clear and consistent and you choose a font that is easy to read. Opt for bullet points over long paragraphs as unfortunately most recruiters will not read paragraphs. Also, templates are an excellent way to ensure your formatting looks good.

How long should a graduate résumé be?

There are no concrete rules regarding the length of your resume instead you should focus on including relevant information in an easy to read format. In saying this, graduate resumes are typically 1-2 pages with an additional page for your cover letter. I would recommend including a summary at the top of your resume. This should provide a brief snapshot of education and experience as well as your objective which should of course be aligned with the position you are submitting an application for. It is important to detail your education, employment history and technical competencies. As a graduate you may not have extensive experience so focus on your achievements within internships, placements, extracurricular activities and volunteer positions.

How can you differentiate yourself from other graduates?

Cover letters are an excellent way to differentiate yourself from other graduates. You can stamp your personality on a cover letter but remember it still needs to be professional.

Another great way to differentiate yourself is to call the recruiter and introduce yourself. Recruiters are busy people so make this call short and sweet. Introduce yourself and reiterate your interest in the position. It is a good idea to ask a question or clarify the details of the position; just make sure the answer is not already in the job advertisement!

Leave it to the professionals. Grad Resumes is a professional resume and cover letter writing service based locally in Melbourne. Dedicated HR Professionals can provide valuable guidance and advice which could help you land the job of your dreams!


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