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What We Look For When Hiring Graduates


Searching for an entry-level job can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first ever role or if you’re changing career paths completely.

With the academic year coming to a close, many graduates are looking to make their first foray into the workforce. Searching for an entry-level job can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first ever role or if you’re changing career paths completely. At Canva, we receive more than 180,000 applications every year. We’ve hired hundreds of talented up and comers who play a critical role in our story, and so we wanted to share some advice for emerging talent looking to land their first job.

Whether you’re an engineer, designer, product manager, growth marketer, comms specialist, or just interested in joining one of the fastest-growing technology companies and doing good in the world, we want to share some insight into what we look for when recruiting talent.

Effective ways to make your resume stand out

Resumes are an important part of first impressions. A professional resume is concise, easy to read and organised. The most effective resumes are a maximum of two pages and use professional fonts, single line spacing, clear section headings, and half-inch margins. It’s best to focus on your most relevant and recent experience first and don’t forget to include your educational history with an expected graduation date. It’s okay if you don’t have industry experience (that’s what graduate jobs are for!), instead, include details about any skills, side projects, awards or volunteering experience you have – anything that you’d be proud to share with your family and friends.

At Canva, we’re a big fan of modern and minimalist resume templates which allows the talent team to easily see your academic history, contact details, any online profiles (think GitHub or design portfolio) and also who you are as a person.

Canva’s collection of professional resume templates can help you stand out by putting your best self forward with fully customisable templates and intuitive editing tools. There are over 7,000 templates available so there’s no shortage of choices. We also recommend getting creative in your application. We love seeing candidates’ personalities and creative thinking shine through their applications. Small quirks can go a long way when it comes to helping you stand out!

Make that first impression count

Your resume has landed you an interview and now it’s time to prepare. Whilst it can be nerve-racking to be interviewing as a graduate (and even further down the track in your career!), we find it helpful to remember that you’re not alone in this experience. Everyone at Canva has once been a graduate. For some, it might be a distant memory, but for many, it wasn’t that long ago. You might even be interviewed by somebody who was in your exact position only a year ago.

You can take comfort in the fact that we don’t expect you to know everything. Most importantly, we look for good humans who are excited to take on crazy big goals and learn along the way. Kick off the interview by sharing what excites you about joining Canva. Practice presenting your craft, whether it’s explaining your code, or showcasing your portfolio, or even just talking about your previous experience. Soft skills such as communication go a long way. If you’re asked to share a presentation, make sure that you’ve thoroughly proofread your work for correct spelling and grammar.

We also recommend that you show an understanding of the culture that you’re seeking to be part of. We’ve learnt that hiring for ‘culture fit’ can be detrimental to inclusive hiring, so we assess candidates for ‘culture-add’ using our values instead. We take great care to ensure that every person, every decision we make, every conversation we have, is values-driven. Reflect on your own experience and share examples of how what you’ve achieved is aligned with company values.

Common questions about applicant etiquette

For many graduates, your first interview will also be your first experience interacting with ‘talent acquisition’ teams. Searching for a job can feel daunting enough without navigating your way through recruitment do’s and don’ts. The following scenarios may have popped into your mind, so we thought we’d provide some useful insight:

• Should I send a thank you note after an interview?

It’s always a nice touch to thank your interviewers after the interview. It also gives you an opportunity to include any points you may have forgotten to bring up due to interview nerves!

• Should I DM or cold call recruiters?

LinkedIn is a great way to connect and stay in touch with recruiters, especially if it’s too early on to apply for an internship or graduate position. However, there’s no need to cold call.

• Should I apply for a role that isn’t being advertised?

The first step would be to check if there are any general expressions of interest on the careers site through which you could submit your resume. Expression of interest applications are typically the first place talent teams look when opening up a role related to that field. Just be prepared that there may be some time until you hear back given the role isn’t actively being recruited for.

• What kind of questions should I ask at the end of an interview?

The end of an interview is a great time to understand more about the day-to-day functions of the role, so whether that’s what a normal workday looks like, the types of challenges the company may be facing or even what you’re expected to achieve in the first few months.

• How many questions should I prepare to ask?

We suggest having three questions to have on hand for the last few minutes of the interview.

We’re actively looking for Canvanauts all over the world. Rather than grabbing coffees and making friends with the photocopier, we provide graduates with a structured program that is all about learning, building your professional network and taking on projects that drive impact.