For students and graduates
The Placement Office is open to all students and graduates with advice on how to write a good CV and accompany it with a good letter of presentation, and to offer recommendations and editing of both texts.
We will be happy to provide you with all the time you need, to enable you to submit the most effective candidacy for an opportunity of interest to you: simply book an appointment at the Office or send the documents by email.
How to write a CV
To write a good CV of real interest to the reader, it is important to avoid the (very common) mistake of providing a general description of your personality, applicable to all occasions.
You should present yourself specifically for each organisation and career opportunity, emphasising the relevant factors and thus choosing the right language and form. It is important to describe your experience in relation to the specific needs and interests of the reader, which must therefore be identified, even in general terms, when writing the CV, and which will be discussed in greater depth during the interview. Not much time is spent reading a CV, especially by companies which receive hundreds of them: it is important to be clear, precise, truthful and concise and to pay due attention to form, ensuring there are no typos or spelling mistakes, and making sure the graphics are tidy.
It is always best to customise your CV to the post in question, by highlighting academic qualifications and any experience which fit the recruitment criteria; the recruiter is looking for someone with the ideal abilities and skills for the profile concerned, so if you have these abilities you should underline them. If you are applying to a company without specifying the exact post, you can still highlight all the characteristics relevant to the business of the company chosen.
As well as contents, it is important to pay attention to the form, which must give the recruiter easy access to information: the best solution is to offer a schematic presentation of all relevant data. At present, companies tend not to like the European CV format, which they consider too constricting for candidates, and which is used above all for state-sector competitive examinations; a more individual, but still clear and schematic, format is preferable.
An effective CV must therefore be:
- customised to the reader's interests
- designed to provide and emphasise the key information for the post sought
- schematic and easily readable at a glance
- concise, occupying just one/two pages
- clear and precise, highlighting skills and experience
- written in the first person
- Personal data
Placed in the heading of the CV, these include name and postal address, mobile phone number and email address. If your home address is too far from the working location you are applying to, a domicile address should be provided.
- Academic record
For new graduates, this is the most important section and will probably be the longest. It includes academic qualifications and institutions attended, in reverse chronological order (from the most recent to the most distant in time), specifying the respective level. If the degree mark is specified for a master's degree, for example, it should also be specified for the bachelor's degree, to avoid giving the impression that this mark may have been poor. It is not essential to include high-school leaving examination marks. Never include schools prior to high school.
- Training and work experience
You may not have much non-academic experience and it may not be very relevant to the post or skills of interest to the company, but if well described it may be of great interest as an indication of talents, abilities and potentials. Include everything significant and noteworthy in your CV: if you are wondering whether to include an experience, ask yourself whether it is noteworthy, and then explain why in the CV.
- Language skills
Specify whether you hold qualifications or have attended language courses abroad, illustrating their various characteristics if they are significant as experiences in their own right and not just for the language (time spent abroad, ability to adapt, multicultural interests, etc.).
- IT skills
Avoid general statements like "Knowledge of Office package", which are too vague; it is better to specify which software and which level of knowledge.
The same applies to browsers: which ones do you use? and how?, and for social networks, too - state whether you use them, which ones and how.
- Personal notes
At this point you need to complete your personal profile by stating your real non-work interests or particular cultural and community activities you are involved in. Only include items which can really help the reader to obtain a clearer picture of your personality, without being too verbose or theoretical, and if you indicate an interest, state the level (a sport at competitive level, an enthusiasm at the amateur level, etc.).
- Personal data protection
At the bottom of the page, it is best to specify: I hereby authorise the processing of the personal data in my CV pursuant to art. 13 of Italian Legislative Decree 196/2003. (or similar)
How to write a letter of presentation
A CV without a good cover letter may fail to effectively convey the full potentials of your candidacy.
There is no point in writing a letter if it just repeats the contents of the CV, or if it simply introduces banal statements or, even worse, states a generalised interest in the company. Nor are self-descriptions such as "I think I am a determined, motivated person" useful, since anyone who does not know you will obviously be unable to judge whether your opinion of yourself is reliable.
It is essential, on the other hand, to include the factors that make your educational (and professional, if you have already had some work experience) profile outstanding. It is also important to highlight connections or aspects which may not emerge from the bare data included in the CV: what is distinctive about the companies where you have worked, or how your learning context made your experience unusual.
Structure of the cover letter
- Sender's details
- Details of the recipient, meaning the company to which you are writing, starting with "Messrs" followed by the company's name, the address and the name (if known) of the recruiting officer (attn.), or more generally, "attn Staff Recruitment Officer"
- Place and date, Subject: include the reference or code number of the post applied for if you are replying to an advertisement, or if this is an unsolicited application, you may omit this or write simply "unsolicited application"; never simply put "submission of CV"
Subdivide your letter into three different paragraph
1st Paragraph: who I am and why I am writing
This is the introductory part. In particular, if you are replying to an advertisement in a newspaper or on a website, you may open with:
Further to your advertisement on “…….” dated …, I have pleasure in submitting my Curriculum Vitae for the post of “……..” (do not state the numerical code of the advertisement, which will appear in the subject; give the full name of the post). After the reference, introduce yourself: I am a young graduate in ..... (do not write your name, e.g. my name is Mario Rossi)
If you are sending an unsolicited CV, to a company or for inclusion in the database of a recruitment agency, introduce yourself directly and in the subject of the letter state: UNSOLICITED APPLICATION or Inclusion in your database
2nd Paragraph: why I should be chosen and considered
This is definitely the most important part of the letter of presentation, and it is often the only part which the reader of the CV reads with care.
- Motivations and stimuli: the motivations serve first and foremost to make your CV stand out from the crowd of others on the recruiter's desk. In particular, you must explain the motivations that drive you to apply for a specific post, and the factors that have led you to choose that specific company.
- Goals: these are closely linked to the motivations, and you can clearly state your short and medium-long term career goals, although it is important to ensure that they are relevant and can be achieved within the company (through the post you are applying for, if you are answering an advertisement).
- Benefits you bring to the Company: it is a good idea to show that your ideas are to some extent in line with the company's culture and image, highlighting the points in common and why you think you are made for each other. Companies are interested in the added value a person can contribute to their existing organisation, the problems they are able to resolve, and their flexibility and willingness to change posts or accept stressful working hours and conditions. It is important that the image of the company you convey is the real one, meaning that you prove that you know about the company, what it is, what it does and its core values.
- Qualities and strong points: some information tends not to come to the fore in the CV, so it should be provided in more detail here. Real strong points may be internships, other work experience, dissertations and research on topics of interest to the company, qualifications in more than one language and a particular personal interest in activities of strategic importance to the company.
3rd paragraph: thanks and salutation
"Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information you may require concerning my application. Many thanks for your attention and best regards," or other concluding formulae of this kind.