Popular questions about CVs, cover letters and internships

career help on cvs, cover letters and internships

What questions come to mind when you think about CVs, cover letters and internships?

During a recent online Q&A session, we discovered that there are a few very common questions graduates ask about writing CVs and cover letters, and finding an internship: Should I write a cover letter? Should an internship be paid? Should I tailor my CV for each position? What advice can you give on writing cover letters? Are little white lies okay on your job application form?

So, should CVs be tailored to each position?

Let’s start with writing a CV. A CV is an important part of your toolkit to getting interview and landing a job, so it’s often the central part of any approach to interview skills training.

Yes, CVs should be tailored to each position. However, if you tailor your CV for each job field – before you think of specific jobs – then you should find there’s little tweaking to do for each position.

Cover letter advice for graduates

The cover letter is where you sell yourself. Don’t use it to drone on about your super personality or to regurgitate information on your CV – talk about the tasks relevant to the post, outcomes of actions you’ve taken and what you can bring to the role directly as a result of your knowledge and experience. Never send off a CV without a cover letter.

And, as for little white lies, that’s a no, no! You’ll get found out under interview cross examination but even if you pass this you’ll soon come face to face with expectations from others that you can’t meet.’

Should internships be paid or unpaid?

We also receive lots of questions about unpaid internships, whether they are worth it. A number of the graduate recruitment experts respond to this by saying they are definitely an invaluable way to gain the experience you need to get on your chosen career ladder. Brian Michael from Meet the Real Me says if the internship is generating money for the company then the internship should be paid.

At the very least, says Graduate Coach Chris Davies, no internship should be taken on without travel and lunch expenses being covered – you should never pursue an internship that leaves you financially worse off as a result.

The broad response is that internships give you valuable experience that you would not have been able to secure otherwise. This means that you should never settle for an internship that doesn’t offer you the chance to build your experience and learn more about the field in which you want to work.

Graduate Coach can help you to find an internship in London where finding work experience can be just as competitive as finding a job.

Got your own questions about CVs, cover letters and internships?

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