Spruce up your CV - A lone red apple in a crowd of green apples

February 2, 2020, by Shweta

Standing out at university: How to spruce up your CV

Remember how you were super excited to get your Duke of Edinburgh award in hopes that it would impress your uni admission officers? And then you got to uni and found out that everyone – AND THEIR UNCLE – had it on their applications and CV too?

Every year of university brings adulthood and all its horrors even closer. With many of my friends on the cusp of graduation, the dreaded job hunt has become a constant topic of conversation. However, being in my 4th year of medical school, I still have over a year to go before graduating. So, while I didn’t have much to add to these discussions, I learnt a lot and today, I’m going to share those tips.

Firstly, I cannot stress how amazing online courses are and what they can do for your CV and your own personal development! For the last few years, I’ve dabbled in Coursera, a one stop shop for online courses from some of the worlds best universities. There are courses for pretty much everything! From economics to fashion to pharmacology, there is definitely something for you! Online courses can help you delve into specific topics of personal interest. They’re also good for learning more about topics that you may not be exposed to at university but knowledge of which will be useful in your preferred career line. Many of these courses are free or come at a very small cost so do consider them as a way to amp up that CV.

Less is more! And quality definitely trumps quantity. I promise this is more than just me trying to fill in as many cliches into one blog post as possible. I’ve spoken to so many people who have all been told at various stages that there was “too much of too little” on their portfolios. That is to say that there were too many internships/programs/work experiences that were too superficial. It’s a lot more impressive to have only interned at one or two companies but to have worked hard and made an impact in these places instead. Obviously this varies depending on the field you’re in but as a general rule, focusing on hard work, dedication, networking and refining your skill set is more important than stuffing 20 different company names into your CV.

Not getting any input on your CV is a rookie mistake, in my book. Having successfully applied for multiple jobs and 2 internationally acclaimed clinical internship programs, I’ve learned that professional input is invaluable. It’s a well known fact that employers spend mere seconds looking at a CV before deciding if it goes in their bin or basket. This means you have seconds to catch their eye. And who knows what catches an eye better than the eye itself? Having a professor or your senior at an internship take a look at your CV can provide helpful feedback. If you’re lacking in contacts, there are some “HR experts” on youtube who offer tips for writing CVs. These can also be helpful. Another option is to approach student services who will usually be more than happy to support students with their applications. Basically, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Finally, stay confident. Job applications are a marathon not a sprint and rejections can make you feel awful. It’s normal for some self doubt to creep in (especially when that guy you met at Freshers is boasting about his new job at Microsoft on Facebook) but stay positive! You can do this!

Until next time,

Posted in Shweta