After attending the University of Manchester’s Computer Science Jobs Fair, students asked me for advice on how to make their profiles and CV’s stand out in the sea of graduate applications.
Throughout my years of working in recruitment, I’ve worked with high calibre candidates of all levels from stand-out student and graduate placements to C-Level Executives. So, I thought I’d use my experience as a Talent Acquisition Manager in a high-tech market to write a blog to help graduates to apply for their first roles.
The first thing to say is, “congratulations! You’ve successfully completed several years of intense education in a competitive market and have demonstrated the intelligence and tenacity needed to succeed.”
So how do you stand out as a superstar in the making amongst fellow graduates and career hunters?
6 Tips for Graduate Applications in The Tech Industry
1. Network, Network, Network
Networking is important on two fronts. Attending relevant events and getting to know people in your chosen industry will put you on their radar.
Secondly, when you add events and seminars onto your CV it shows you are a proactive networker and potential ambassador for prospective employers. You don’t have to list all the events you attend, something like “always learning latest industry news and trends by attending tech-based networking events around Manchester” would suffice with a few examples.
Websites like Meetup are great for events in your local area.
2. Personal Projects
One of the most important things I look out for on a graduate CV, especially for technical and marketing roles, are personal projects.
Personal projects, such as a blog or website, are a chance to show off your unique skills and convince a Talent Manager to pick up the phone and speak with you.
Personal projects are even more important when you don’t have a wealth of work experience, so make sure you put your best work on display and be proud of it!
3. GitHub and Stack Overflow Accounts
GitHub and Stack Overflow are a must for tech graduates.
Make sure you are active on these types of sites, have sample code on there and get involved with conversations.
4. Pictures Speak a Thousand Words
Less is more. Far too often highly skilled graduates fail to clearly articulate their unique value because they use far too many words or dilute their impact with unnecessary buzz words.
Keep your CV sharp and easy to read. Where possible, you can replace a list of bullet points with an eye-pleasing timeline image, detailing key achievements and skills learnt during your education.
Alternatively, to make your CV easier to read and stand out from the crowd, insert pie-charts showing how you split your time between tech-research, coding, and testing.
Your LinkedIn profile should always be up to date and easily digestible – highlighting your key skills and biggest achievements.
For completeness add a professional picture and references from respected people who have worked with you on projects – this could be fellow students or tutors.
Include links to your own websites, even add your CV and media to your account.
Make ‘connections’ with people you meet at networking events. Connect with people at companies you’d like to work for and when you have researched what they do, contact them and reference what you have found and why you would like to discover more about life at their company.
Join the Intechnica LinkedIn group for updates and info.
A lot of companies are open to people interning.
A few years ago, a Junior Android Developer came to me for help. He was struggling to get a foot in the door when applying for developer roles. He had the intelligence but unfortunately no work experience. So, I put him in touch with one of my clients. They saw his potential and one month after joining as an intern, they offered a permanent full-time position.
Internships do not always lead to jobs but the experience you gain from them can be added to your CV and the relationships you establish can be useful in the future.
What makes a graduate stand out to me is how they show passion and pride in what they do. So be proactive, and get yourself out there!
If you’d like any advice on making your application stand out, I am always happy to help. You can view the current vacancies at Intechnica on our careers page.