CV Advice: 7 Honest Tips!


Stem Graduates give their most honest tips for writing a successful CV!

1. Put your contact details on your CV

It sounds obvious but people often miss them off. There is nothing more soul destroying than reading the perfect candidates CV and having no way to get in touch with them!

2. Don’t title your CV ‘CV’

We receive a lot of ‘CV’s’. Adding your name makes it easier for us to find you. It also helps you to stand out from the other 15 ‘CV’s’ who applied for the same job.

3. Put your qualification grades on your CV

It saves us having to chase you up, and you having to tell us. Missing them off because you think they’re too low won’t actually help in the long run. Be upfront an honest to avoid confusion. Including them also shows you are thorough and pay attention to detail.

4. Send a Word and a PDF copy of your CV

Stylish formatting and having a sleek PDF is great and it can give you an edge, but as a recruitment agency we will probably need to edit parts of it initially to send to our clients. Having a Word copy makes this far easier for us and saves us from tampering with your hard work. (Some jobs require really high standard PDFs, so we understand this might not always be possible!)

5. Read the job description before applying

So many people fall short of reading a job description the whole way through and as a result end up applying for a job that says, for example, ‘must have a driving license’ when they don’t have one at all. We then waste your time and ours shortlisting you and calling you to discuss a role you aren’t qualified for.

6. Don’t carelessly mass apply

We know you are probably going to apply for more than one job. However, chances are, roles in the same field are being managed by the same consultant/s. If we see you applying for 8 roles at once it makes us think you haven’t read our job descriptions properly and you aren’t particularly interested or serious. Check to see if a consultant name is attached to the jobs you’re applying for, and make sure you’ve read the description.

7. Don’t go buzzword crazy

A lot of people use the same cliché phrases found on Google in their CV. We read the same buzzwords over and over again. Being a ‘team player’ is a good skill but try and find an original way to tell us about it, using your own brief examples wherever possible. Conversely, however, don’t go too crazy on originality by describing yourself as a ‘CV Legend!’ Genuine example.

For more graduate job advice visit: 

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Content written by: Sophie Chadwick, Outreach Coordinator (Stem Graduates)

GUEST BLOG: Increasing Your Employability: Tips from a Recent Graduate

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Sophie Chadwick (University Outreach Coordinator at STEM Graduates) chats to Zoe Craig, University of York, 2014 BSc (Hons) Biology Graduate, about how she improved her employability.

STEM Graduates are a recruitment agency who recruit specifically for full time, permanent graduate job roles in the STEM sector. They also provide graduate careers advice.

What are you doing now?

“I have been working as a Data and Laboratory Clinical Research Intern at a Clinical Research Facility for a year and have just gained a new job as a Data Manager for clinical trials.”

Did you do anything to improve your employability whilst studying?

“I had a part time job at a university cafe and took part in the dance society, this gave me transferable skills such as team work and time management.”

Our top tips: You don’t have to do things purely related to your degree to improve your employability. Involvement in societies, volunteer organisations and your student union will all provide you with skills useful in employment. These skills will also show employers that you have used your time at university productively. For University of York students, all of these things can contribute to the York Award; an award designed to develop your skills for the working world and one that is highly valued by employers.

Did you do any professional placements? 

“Yes, I took up an internship at the University of Exeter Medical School undertaking clinical research duties relating to diabetes. My internship this year has boosted my employability by giving me experience in the area I want to work in and as a result helped me secure my new job.”

Our top tips: Get yourself out there! Apply to internships and placement programs as these really do bridge the gap between studying and working in a sector. Signing up to a recruitment agency will provide you with guidance and support throughout the employment process and some agencies, such as ourselves, will be able to offer advice that is tailored to your specific sector needs.

What did you use the Careers Service for?

“I kept up to date with the University of York careers blog as it had some really good tips and opportunities on it. I also attended Careers fairs held by the Careers Service to meet with potential employers and work on my networking skills.”

Our top tips: Take full advantage of your Careers Service during your time at University, and even after. They are able to help you to make important plans and decisions and provide knowledgeable advice. Practically, they can improve your CV and offer one-to-one careers appointments to help you perfect your interview skills – including practice interviews. It’s important to make the most of this resource as knowing how to prepare for an interview sufficiently and present yourself well is crucial.

Do you have any advice for current students on how to improve their employability?

“Get involved as much as possible in productive activities so you are able to provide evidence for the skills you say you have. Try to get some experience, even if just for a day, in the job area you are looking to enter.”

To register on our website or browse our advice and graduate jobs visit

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(Content written by Sophie Chadwick of Stem Graduates)

Upcoming on FutureLearn: How to Succeed at Interviews

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About the course

This course will help you to succeed at interviews, whether you are applying for jobs or planning to study. Because being offered an interview can be quite daunting, we’ve put together a set of materials to help you prepare and be successful on the day.

We’ll help you to research the organisation so you can answer that frequently asked question ‘why do you want to work for us?’ with style. We’ll provide advice on what to wear (and what not to wear) and go through some common interview questions. We’ll have tips from employers and admissions tutors on what they look for in candidates and cover the types of questions you should be asking them.

Finally, we’ll help you to prepare for different types of interview including how to make an impression via telephone or video or within a group setting. We’ll also help you prepare for tests and practical work that may be included as part of the interview process.

The course is highly participative and includes articles for you to read, videos to watch and interactive material with tips to help you better understand how to prepare for your interview. There will also be discussions where you can learn from and support each other, self-reflective exercises and quizzes. Throughout the course you’ll be encouraged to collect a portfolio of your work which will help you with future interviews.

By the end of the three weeks we hope you will have the confidence to perform at your very best at interview.

  • FREE online course
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • 3 hours pw
  • Certificates available


This course is designed for anyone applying for jobs or courses. It will be of particular interest to those in the early stages of their career, or those who are out of practice and need to update their skills. No prior knowledge or expertise are needed.

Join now:

Course Start Date: 16th November

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Giving Yourself the Best Chance of Securing a Graduate Job in a Rural Area – Part II

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Put yourself in the best position to avoid transport problems

In a perfect world public transport would be adequate in getting people to and from work in any location but even in built-up areas this isn’t always the case. This problem is augmented in the countryside, where jobs are scattered across counties and often based in remote locations. This problem underlines how important having a full driving license is.

It’s an expensive business to run a car but even so, just by passing your driving test you will open up doors to graduate opportunities that would be unfeasible otherwise. Some companies will even offer a company car as part of a set salary package. Even if you don’t buy a car, learning to drive before you leave university is near enough essential to graduates living in rural locations.

Build up your soft employability skills and work experience during university

Despite there being an abundance of graduate employers in Cumbria it remains crucial to remember just how competitive it can be to secure a place on a graduate scheme or an entry-level job with a smaller organisation based within a more sparsely populated location.

You may have to be patient whilst you’re looking for your ideal graduate job. To give yourself the best chance of finding a job relating to your degree subject you’ll have to avoid any large gaps in your employment history and probably be in a position to run a car. This means you may have to find work temporarily in an alternative field.

This can prove to be especially difficult for graduates however. One common problem is that employers will tell graduate job applicants that they’re ‘over-qualified’ for a position and the opportunity might instead go to candidates from a less academic background.

Subsequently, it’s integral that you’re able to prove your competence and willingness to perform a lower-skilled job. The best way to do this is to polish up your soft employability skills (and earn some nice money) by taking up part-time or vacation-time jobs during university.

The retail and leisure sectors are great platforms to do this but don’t neglect your careers department in this sense, they’re vastly experienced in helping students to secure a range of different positions, voluntary or paid, during their time at university.

Is there any other aspect of finding graduate work in a rural location you’re worried about or need help with? Please feel free to put any questions you might have to us in the reply section of this article.

Mark Bradford

STEM Graduates

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Giving Yourself the Best Chance of Securing a Graduate Job in a Rural Area – Part I

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For students living or studying in more rural locations, the thought of securing a graduate job relating to your degree subject can be daunting.

Of course, there’s always going to be a higher proportion of entry-level schemes and vacancies in and around urban areas but don’t spend your time fretting about the prospect of having to relocate, there are plenty of ways to help give yourself the best chance of securing a graduate job in a less densely populated location.

Turn your location into an advantage

Take Cumbria itself, for example. The county is home to a vast array of high-profile graduate employers, such as BAE Systems, Tata, Nestle, GSK, Heinz and Sellafield to name just a few.

One of the major hurdles these companies will face when they come to recruiting graduates is to convince relocators to move to a quieter location. This can be tricky when many graduates have their hearts set on working in glamourous and cosmopolitan urban settings.

Here’s where your experience of living or studying in a less urban area can help you stand out amongst the vast amount of applicants that will be fighting for a place on a graduate scheme. This is because you’ll either already live in a more rural area not too far from a given organisation’s location, or you’ll be able to demonstrate how you’re happy to live in a perceivably ‘quieter’ area due to your choice of university.

If you can put this across well in an application you’ll gain a big advantage over many other applicants. Companies offering graduate schemes will be worried about losing out on the investment they put into training entry-level employees and straight away you’re better equipped to convince an employer that you’re not likely to jump ship at the first opportunity for an alternative job in a city setting.

In part II of this blog we’ll look at the importance of building up your employability skills whilst at university and how to overcome any transport problems presented by living and studying in rural areas. But in the meantime is there any other aspect of finding graduate work in a rural location you’re worried about or need help with? Please feel free to put any questions you might have to us in the reply section of this article.

Mark Bradford

STEM Graduates

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Thinking about starting a business…


As you start the new academic year at University you may be considering what the future holds on graduation or how you are going to earn an income whilst you undertake your studies. If you are considering starting a business, either part time or full time following graduation, did you know that help and support is on hand?

Support can be provided to help you to develop the skills to take your idea to the next level, this could be by attending one of the planned workshops which will be running during November – more details to follow in this regard, or by receiving support on a one to one basis.

As student enterprise coordinator I can help you and provide you with a range of templates and access to tools which can be valuable as you consider self-employment, so if you have an idea that you would like to explore further please get in touch, there is of course no pressure to start a business just the support to help you to consider this option.

Freshers will also see the launch of the student enterprise society where you can get involved and develop transferrable skills, it will be run by students for students and I will provide help and support as required.

So if you want to get involved or would just like to hear more, please drop me an e-mail, I look forward to hearing from you.

Sylvia Grainger

Student Enterprise Co-ordinator

Volunteer @ Abandon Normal Devices Festival


The Abandon Normal Devices Festival is searching for enthusiastic volunteers to support the upcoming event that will run from 18th-20th September.

The event will feature an exciting festival of new cinema, digital culture & art in Grizedale Forest and is keen to recruit volunteers for this unique project!

The festival features a groundbreaking programme of new commissions & will reimagine the forest through a series of trails, artworks & film happenings. It will provide volunteers with a great opportunity to work alongside international artists as well as the Forestry Commission & several other organisations.

If you’d like to find out more about the festival visit: or to apply to be a volunteer go to:

Don’t miss out!