University Student CV Example, Tips and Guide
A university student CV can help you make the transition from full-time study to the world of work. Whether you need a job to support your studies, or you’re applying for graduate roles, you’re going to need a CV that helps you stand out from the crowd. In this article, we provide CV tips to help you emphasise your skills and qualities, even if you lack relevant work experience.
Key Sections to Include in CV
Whether you’re a university student or a senior professional, your CV should include the same sections. However, your university student CV template might present the information in a different order to an experienced professional CV. The key sections to include in your university student CV are:
Your CV header contains your contact details and personal information. Include your full name, your address or location, your email address and your phone number. A photo can make your CV more visually appealing, but check the job advert first. Some employers ask applicants not to include one. Avoid adding any personal demographic information such as your date of birth, gender or religion. Including these can make your application fall foul of anti-discrimination laws.
CV objective or summary
The CV objective or summary is an introduction to the document, and to you as a person. Write a personal statement of two or three sentences that explain why you’re applying for the role, as well as your skills and experience. Here’s an example of a CV summary for a graduate job:
An enthusiastic and skilled UX developer with a first-class degree in computer science and experience in graphic design. A fast-learner who thrives in a team environment and relishes a competitive working culture. Seeking a role with an innovative, creative agency that provides challenging work and offers clear career progression.
A CV for a university student might place greater emphasis on skills than experience. This is understandable, as full-time students or recent graduates are unlikely to have accumulated much relevant work experience. You could split your skills section into hard and soft skills, or technical and general or transferable skills. Consult the job description to make sure the skills you include match what the employer is looking for.
Take a look at this example skills section for a project management role below:
Project management skills:
- Project planning and initiation
- Budget management
- Risk assessment
- Workflow management
- Interpersonal skills
- Time management
- Critical thinking
For university students, the education section of your CV is one of the most important. Managers recruiting for entry-level roles might play particular attention to your degree. You might wish to include references to your secondary education, if you studied any relevant subjects. You could also include brief details of any awards you’ve won, society memberships or extra-curricular activities.
Follow this format when listing your education:
BA (Hons) Business Management, Sheffield Hallam University, 2016 – 2019
- Julie Parsons Prize for Best Dissertation
- Junior Common Room President, 2016 – 2017
- Member of SHU Film Club
Traditionally, the work experience section is one of the most important in any CV. However, if you’re a university student looking for a part-time role or applying for your first job after graduating, you might not have very much relevant experience. You may decide to emphasise other skills and experience on your CV above your work history. Nevertheless, you should still include a work experience section. Mention any roles you’ve had in the past, and any relevant responsibilities and achievements.
For each entry, include your job title, the name of your employer, its location and the dates you worked there. Underneath these details, add several bullet points explaining your duties and achievements. You could mention hard skills you gained or softer skills, such as working as part of a team. Just remember to consult the job description and make sure everything you include relates back to a requirement listed there.
Take a look at this example of a work experience section for a university student CV:
Part-time Duty Manager, SHU Leisure Centre, Sheffield, November 2018 – May 2021
- Supervised a team of approximately 30 customer service employees, lifeguards and personal trainers at a university health club
- Organised a work roster to ensure the smooth running and staffing of the facility
- Trained new employees on health and safety, customer service and operational procedures
- Supervised sales of gym memberships, resulting in a 15% increase in memberships across a two-year period
Sales Assistant, Bucks Electrical Ltd, Milton Keynes, April 2015 – June 2018
- Weekend sales position for a popular local consumer electronics retailer
- Managed customer service enquiries and received 90% positive feedback based on customer satisfaction survey
- Performed weekly inventory and ordered products from regular suppliers
- Awarded salesperson of the month on three occasions
There are various optional sections you could add to your CV to lend it more weight and relevance. These can be especially useful if you’re light on real-world work experience but want to prove your skills and qualities. Optional sections include certifications or training you’ve completed, foreign languages, hobbies and volunteer work. Only include any of these details if they’re relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Tips for Writing a University Student CV
Follow these tips to increase your chances of success with your university student job applications:
- Select the most suitable format: If you lack relevant experience in the workforce, or in a particular industry, you might choose a skills-based CV format. This format places the skills and education sections above the work experience section in the document. If you already have some useful work experience, you may prefer the traditional format. In this format, your work experience is the first section underneath your header and CV objective.
- Tailor your CV to each role: Take the time to tailor your CV for each application. A generic CV is easy to spot and suggests that you’re unwilling to take the time to truly think about how or why you’re suited to the job. Mention the hiring company by name on your document and look at the job description for keywords to use throughout your CV.
- Quantify your experience: Offer evidence to show why your experience makes you a strong candidate. This could be in the form of numbers, such as your sales figures from a part-time sales job, or in providing descriptions of your impact and achievements.
- Use simple, clear language: Use bullet points throughout your CV and limit the document to a maximum of two sides of A4 (one side is even better). Avoid using industry jargon or trying to over-sell your achievements, and remember to proofread your CV before sending.
- Write a compelling cover letter: Your cover letter gives you the chance to expand upon your CV and explain why you want the job, and what makes you the ideal candidate. Jobseeker’s high-quality cover-letter templates can provide inspiration.
- Use a clean, professional CV design: The layout and design of your CV can make a big difference in the competition for sought-after graduate jobs. Use a CV layout that’s clear and easy-to-read, with subtle use of colour, columns and bold and larger fonts for headings. Jobseeker has various university student CV templates to help your CV to stand out.
Key Takeaways for a University Student CV
A strong university student CV can make a world of difference when applying for your first graduate position. Make sure you emphasise your skills and educational achievements, and only include details that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Tailor your CV for each application and quantify your achievements to prove your worth to hiring managers. Use a clean, eye-catching CV design, like the ones on Jobseeker, to help your CV stand out from the crowd. Jobseeker has a wealth of designs and CV examples to help you get started. Sign up today to create a winning CV for your dream job.