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5 Steps to Perfect your Master’s Application CV
5 Steps to Perfect your Master’s Application CV

5 Steps to Perfect your Master’s Application CV

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Have you ever considered that a well-written, complete, and interesting master’s application CV could give you the golden pass to a brilliant academic journey?

It is true! When applying for a master’s degree, your CV often works as the first evaluation filter, playing a crucial role in whether you’ll eventually be accepted at the program or not. Curriculum Vitae translated from Latin means “the course of one’s life”, acting as a written presentation of the reasons that make someone an ideal candidate for the postgraduate position he or she is applying to.

Although there is not a one-size-fits-all method for a perfect master’s application CV, there are certain guidelines you can follow to make sure that your application will grab the attention of any admission committee!

1. Focus on your academic background

Composing an academic CV is slightly different than a standard job application. Here, your academic achievements will be the most important section, and your goal should be to highlight your knowledge, skills, and qualities that make you suitable for your desirable postgraduate program.

Except for the institutions you have attended and the type of degrees you possess, don’t forget to include specific, relevant modules. It is also important to add any academic awards or honors you have earned, as well as the title of your thesis and student internships.

Tip: Published papers and research experience will boost your CV!

2. Impress with your volunteer work

Demonstrate your team spirit, leadership, and project management skills by including community and volunteer work on your CV. Extracurricular and volunteer activities show to admission officers your interests and your willingness to work hard for your beliefs and goals without financial gains being a factor.

You can add volunteering experiences to the corresponding section of your CV if they were long-term. You can also fill in the "Skills" section with the skills and the practical knowledge that you acquired during that period.

Tip: Don't exaggerate with the descriptions. Each entry should contain up to 4 bullets with the most essential details.

3. The simpler, the better

The first impression really matters, especially in a master’s application CV. The appropriate length, structure, and format should be highly considered.

Keep it short and simple. Make sure that your text is clearly defined and clean. Be consistent with whatever format you choose and use bullet points to make your CV easy to read. Structure it by effectively utilizing headings and try to fit all the content in no more than 2 pages.

You should also keep in mind that your CV should follow the simple -but essential- rules of professionalism: Use a common font and avoid inserting images, intense colors, and clip art. Finally, aim for an informative and professional tone.

Tip: A career consultant can help you present your strongest attributes in the best way possible.

4. It’s all about structure

When writing a master’s application CV, make sure that you know what sections to include and how to structure your document. The most common sections are:

  • Personal & Contact Information: At the top of the page or in the header, you must show your full name and contact information, such as address, phone and email.
  • Education: This section should contain your degrees in reverse-chronological order.

1. Institution, city, country, type of degree and year.

2. Thesis or dissertation title, if applicable.

  • Further Education: In this section you can list relevant seminars, conferences, workshops, and educational programs you have attended. This is quite an important section as it demonstrates your willingness to acquiring new knowledge and experiences.
  • Work experience: Even if you don’t have plenty of professional experience, you can include part-time jobs, internships, research experiences, summer and study programs. As long as they have helped you to develop relevant skills, they worth to be included in your master’s application CV. Your work experience should be comprised of:

1. Company or organization, date, and job title.

2. Bullet points summarizing the specific responsibilities you were given.

  • Skills: This category is divided into personal, language, and technical skills.

1. Briefly state your most positive and strong personality traits.

2. Showcase the languages ​​you speak with their respective level: native, basic, intermediate, or advanced.

3. List your computer skills. In case you have an ECDL, don't forget to mention it.

4. Include any software skills you might have.

  • Achievements: Include relevant academic awards or scholarships you have received.
  • Publications & Conference Presentations: List your publications (books, book chapters, articles, or reviews) by using bibliographic citations for each work in an appropriate format for your particular field of study. Also, list any presentations or invited talks that you have given, with a brief description of the subject.
  • References: Although this section is not mandatory, it’s always a good thing to include 2-3 references in your master’s application. This will prove to the admission committee that there are people that can vouch for your skills and potential.

5.   Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Proofreading is essential in order to present a professional and memorable master’s application CV. This process requires a lot of patience, attention to detail, and dedication. You need to ensure that your language is compelling, your information is accurate, your structure is clear and tidy, and that your content is error-free. Read your CV out loud and ask for feedback.

Tip: Writing your master’s application CV is an investment for your future. Take your time and ensure that you have presented the right information in the best possible way!

Good luck!

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