Tips and advice for students and graduates compiling CVs or filling out applications for jobs.

NCI Students working together at laptop The NCI Careers team can help you with your CV and job applications.


Your CV

Your CV is your own personal advert or sales document and its function is to get you an interview. It must capture the employers’ imagination and give them a picture of you and how you suit the role for which they are recruiting.  

With this in mind, we have produced Securing a Graduate Role – Your CV, Cover letter and Interview Guide, which we hope will help NCI students and recent graduates as you write your CV.  The guide is free to download and is also available to collect from the Career Service.

We run CV Clinics in the atrium twice a week throughout term time where you can meet a Careers Adviser and get feedback on your CV.

Top 10 tips

  1. 20 Seconds: You have less than 20 seconds to make a positive impression and have your CV land in the yes pile! 
  2. Top half of your CV – Make me want to meet you! If you don’t grab their attention half way down page 1 you won’t be getting an interview so use this space wisely
  3. Target the CV: Don’t send the same generic CV to every job you apply for. Targeting your CV to the job spec is critical. No two jobs are the same and no two CVs should be identical either – CVs need to be tailored specifically to each role you apply for.
  4. Will adding this information encourage them to interview me? When deciding what to include or leave out ask yourself will including it encourage or discourage them to interview me?
  5. Action verbs: Use action verbs at the beginning of a bullet point to create powerful accomplishment statements.
  6. Bullet points: Bullet points are easier to read than large paragraphs of text therefore increasing your chances of getting selected for interview. 
  7. 2 pages: Keep it to 2 pages – if they can’t read 2 pages in 20 seconds they definitely won’t read 4.
  8. Presentation is key: use black text – (arial, tahoma, lucida sans 9.5 or 10); no bordersno picturesno fancy formatting; maintain consistency throughout your CV. This includes the language used, font styles, bullet styles, formatting etc.
  9. Spelling: There is no excuse for spelling or grammatical errors –ensure it has been checked and double checked for accuracy.
  10. Quantify results: Quantify your results using numbers, percentages, and euro signs. Avoid using adverbs ('effectively' or 'significantly'). Numbers speak louder than adjectives.


The following CV templates are for illustrative purposes only. However, they may provide you with ideas for formatting, content and ways to highlight your own skills and accomplishments.


Video guides

Guidewire and AOL describe what they want to see on a technical CV – 1.22 minutes

Hedgeserv, Engineers Ireland, Jameson, Musgraves, CPL and Citi explain what they look for in a graduate CV - 2.11 minutes