Landing your first job after graduating with a Business Management degree, is both an exciting and testing time. However, with 5.9 million businesses within the private sector in the UK, there’s plenty of opportunities for newcomers to make their mark.
Whether you’re looking on graduate jobs sites in the UK such as Milkround, or in industry publications, it’s clear that you’ll need a strong CV to get a foot in the door.
We’ve pulled together this CV writing guide, to help you secure the business management graduate job of your dreams…
Have a Plan of Action
Whether you’re applying for graduate schemes, apprenticeships, or full-time positions, it’s important to have a strategy in place.
With this being a versatile industry, it helps to know the type of area you’d like to work in. This might be; risk management or business advisory roles, it could be project management or operational research. Whatever your preference, skew your CV to this specialism.
If, however, you want to get a flavour of the industry, but don’t yet know which path to take, a graduate scheme is a good option. Keep this in mind when writing your business CV as you will want to take a broader view of business management (as you might be specialising in a number of areas).
Before approaching potential employers and graduate recruitment agencies, it helps to have an idea of the roles that interest you and the businesses you’d like to work for.
Getting your CV together
Investing time in your CV is important. The average recruiter takes a mere six seconds to make their mind up, so you’ll want to grab their attention fast.
There are plenty of business graduate CV examples online to compare. However, as a general rule, keep these important points in mind:
- Keep your CV to two pages maximum
- Include a professional email address
- Consider the template, style and fonts used – keep them professional at all times
- Use this guide to create the template for your CV, but tailor each CV to each application for the best results
- Try and add your personality, or your unique proposition to your CV, in order to stand out from the masses
- Opt for short, snappy paragraphs rather than lengthy explanations
- Use keywords specific to your industry
- Spellcheck your CV and get another person to read it before submitting it
1. Writing your CV
Now you’re ready to write your business management graduate CV, put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. What will impress them? What new qualifications or training might they be looking for? How will you express your passion and knowledge for the company? Keep these in mind and you’ll be on your way to securing that all-important first interview.
At the very top of your CV, just after your personal details, you’ll want to include a summary of your expertise. A business graduate CV summary can be tricky if you’re straight out of university with little or no experience. In this case, draw upon your skills and interests. Keep this to one or two sentences long, for instance:
“An analytical and self-motivated business management graduate, looking to join a leading business consultancy. I have demonstrated strong teamwork skills and presentation abilities to achieve a distinction in my studies. I’m now looking to develop my client management skills in a distinguished company.”
Your Career Summary
Typically, your career summary should come next on your business CV, even if it’s just temporary work experience. However, if you have no relevant experience to include, then just list your qualifications ahead of this section, for relevancy.
A pro tip is to include buzzwords and key terms specific to the industry and business you’re applying for. This shows that you have taken the time to tailor your CV to the job, which will go down well with the recruiter or internal HR team.
Business management graduate jobs often require; good customer management skills, some STEM experience, stakeholder collaboration, project management, IT experience, and analytical thinking amongst other skills required.
Here’s a format you might want to use when listing previous roles:
- Job title, company name, location
- Start and end dates
- Responsibilities (summarised into bitesize chunks)
Here’s an example:
July 2017 – September 2017 Assistant Business Manager | Consultancy Plc | London
• Honed my client management skills, acting as a front-line representative between the company and its stakeholders
• Applied my statistical knowledge to interpreting sales data and reports
• Worked with large teams on several projects, including; end-of-year reviews, new business pitches and industry audits
• Used Quickbooks and other accounting software systems to track trends and report data
Qualifications and Education
Whether you’re applying for post graduate jobs in Leeds or business management graduate jobs in London, this section of your CV should show off your skills and training. Be sure to highlight any software or systems you’re experienced in, that can be transferable to a business environment.
Always start with your most recent qualifications first.
- University/college and degree gained (with grade)
- Dates studied
- Highlight any areas of study you majored in that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Highlight distinctions, recognitions and awards
GCSE and A-Levels
- School/college attended with dates
- List A-levels or equivalent with grades obtained
- A quick summary of GCSEs gained, such as ’10 A-C grades, including Business Studies, Maths and English’.
For graduate roles, you’ll want to include any other skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. This typically includes a full clean driver’s licence, as well as any other languages held. This is especially useful for international business positions, which will be a competitive advantage. Be sure to also include any trade bodies or organisations that you’re a member of too.
The personal interest section of a CV is grossly undervalued. However, this can offer useful insight into a candidate’s personality, which a hiring manager will often look at with priority. When you’re reading hundreds of similar resumes of management students every week, this is one area where you can make your CV stand out.
The key to writing a strong personal interest section is to keep it snappy, interesting and unique. But above all, it needs to be authentic to you. Try and include any interests that complement your passion for business, as well as areas that make good talking points in an interview situation.
And finally, you will need to include the name of someone who has agreed to be a reference, including their contact details. This could be a previous employer, a lecturer at university or another similar candidate. You may prefer to include ‘references available upon request’ which is also acceptable.
2. Writing your Covering Letter
Before sending your CV off for a job, there’s one last step; the cover letter.
This is an important part of the process and can make or break the chance for your CV even being considered. As such, it should therefore be personalised and taken time over.
Here’s how to structure it:
Back to the six-second rule, this needs to be upbeat, interesting and attention grabbing.
Provide a quick summary about yourself, why you’re interested in working for the business and what you can bring to the role.
This is also your chance to impress the hiring manager by showing off your knowledge of their company. If possible, try and reference a reason why you’d like to work for them.
For instance; “As you will see from my CV, I specialised in management consultancy. It is my ambition to work for a leading consultancy, such as yours, which consistently ranks in the top 100 list by Forbes and comes with an outstanding reputation.”
In the following paragraph paint a picture of why you’re the perfect candidate. What sets you apart from others? What makes you uniquely special? What great strengths can you bring to the role? How can you communicate your passion for the industry? Cover one or two of these points, and back them up with examples if you can.
Finish with a quick summary, and reference to your availability.
There are many exciting business management graduate jobs in the market. To ensure your application stands out from other business graduates, you’ll need to take the time to present your CV in a compelling and interesting way.
For further reading, do also check out our Ultimate guide to writing a graduate CV article.
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