7 Ways to Boost Your CV Before Getting a Real Job After University

Alexandra Greenhalgh
17.03.21 – 04 Mins Read

A guest blog by graduate, Lily Harris

When it comes to getting a job, you want your CV to be the one that catches the employers’ attention. You want to make sure your skills, experience and personality leap from the page and convince them to invite you for a job interview.

In today’s highly competitive job market, you’ll need to strategically build your soft skills and employability then craft an outstanding CV if you want to stand out. Here are seven tips to help you do just that.

1. Take an online course

One of the most effective ways to boost your employability and develop your skills in 2021 is by taking an online course. As well as showing any prospective employers that you are serious when it comes to your career, you’ll also show employers that you are motivated, initiative and great organisational skills.

Don’t think that you need to do an online course that is relevant to your career either – anything that piques your interest can be a welcome addition to your CV. Whether you want to follow a short course in computer coding, brush up on your soft skills or even follow and online masters, you’ll find an online training option for you.

2. Do a work placement or internship

Although many students missed out on their regular work placements due to the coronavirus and social distancing measures, they remain as important as ever. Not only will they give you vital on-the-job experience, but you could also be first in the queue when job vacancies open up.

Most colleges and universities will help you find suitable placements for your career aspirations. But if not, you can hunt down your own opportunities and apply directly to show that you’re serious.

3. Start a side hustle

Launching your own business is another effective way to develop your work skills whilst also allowing you to earn some money at the same time. Even if it’s not directly connected to your future career plans, you’ll demonstrate to potential owners that you aren’t afraid to take risks and that you have initiative – both skills that employers will view positively.

Do you have any skills such as coding, film editing, social media or writing that you could use to start a small business?

4. Take a gap year

Think that spending time volunteering in Thailand or teaching English in Ghana isn’t worth including on your CV? Think again! Gap years and other periods spent abroad help you develop your communication skills, gain cultural awareness and increase your resilience, and give you plenty of stories to share.

Although travel may be largely off the cards at the moment, why not plan a trip abroad to volunteer or get involved in a charitable project for 2022? It will impress future employers and could open doors you never thought existed.


Updating and improving your CV is also a smart move that can help you land your dream job faster. Here are a few quick tips:

●     Make sure it’s clear, easy to read and free from typos or errors.

●     Avoid using complicated language, jargon or slang.

●     Cut out unnecessary words and avoid repeating yourself.

●     Use plenty of white space on the page so it’s easier on the eye.

●     Stick to one basic font such as Times New Roman or Arial.

●     Keep it short- one or two pages is enough.

If you’re stuck, why not ask a friend or family member to read through and give you their feedback? Any improvement you make can make a big difference.

6. Build an online presence

Love it or hate it, you’ll need to use social media effectively if you want to build your career to its full potential.

At a bare minimum, make sure you’re on LinkedIn and create a professional profile that highlights your skills, interests and achievement. Once you’ve done that, start following organisations and groups that are relevant to your industry, build your connections and start applying for jobs directly.

Whilst you do so, make sure any other social media accounts you have areas employer-friendly as possible. Adjust your privacy settings, delete dubious posts like wild holidays or bad language and be careful what you post. The last thing you want is to waste an exciting opportunity because the boss saw your ‘drunk in Ibiza’ pics…

7. Become a volunteer

Volunteering is a rewarding experience that helps you make a difference in the world and will look great on your CV. Again, this is harder to do at the moment due to COVID, but with some creative thinking, you can find opportunities to gain these transferable skills and impress employers.

Many volunteer positions can be done remotely such as working on a telephone help desk or by becoming a virtual volunteer. You can also find local volunteer opportunities via the UK government website and help someone whose life has been affected by the virus.


By building your skills, volunteering, starting a side hustle, finding work placements and taking a gap year, you can help your CV stand out from the crowd and stand a better chance of landing your dream job. Remember, your CV is a showcase for your unique skills and experience – allow yourself to shine!