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Write a compelling CV in three easy steps

Getting your CV right is an essential step for applying to a university for a place on a postgraduate course. If you’re wondering why your CV is so important, it’s because it is the most immediate way to show admissions tutors who you are and why you deserve that place. You could use the best CV format in the world, but if the content within it hasn’t been carefully considered and crafted, it won’t help you at all. As a specialist in postgraduate recruitment, I’ve sifted through hundreds if not thousands of applications to master’s programmes. Here are my top three tips to help you write a compelling CV that will get you noticed. 

1. Your CV should be one page 

Higher education institutions receive lots of applications from students. Most will only spend 30 seconds reviewing your CV in the first instance. The last thing a busy admissions tutor wants to do is go hunting for the information that they are looking for across multiple pages, so keep your CV short with defined sections for education, work experience, interests and achievements. You should also choose a clear layout – simplicity is key. 

2. What to put on your CV 

List your education, including the institution, qualification, course and years of study. You do not need to include your results as admissions tutors will see them on your university transcripts.  

If you have work experience, either full-time or internship, you should also list this, starting with the most recent. Outline the responsibilities you had in these positions so that you can point to any skills you might have picked up. 

Then show the admissions tutors more about you as a person by noting your hobbies and interests, which could include whether you speak any different languages, any skills you have and any sports team you are part of. 

3. Make your CV stand out 

Write about your achievements, either in your previous undergraduate studies or in work. Did you improve efficiency on one project or task? Did you increase sales on a certain product or in a market? How many people did you manage? Were you awarded a scholarship, or did you take part in a particular project that highlights your skills or abilities? 

It is often difficult remembering the projects you have been involved with, so revisit your CV every so often to add any successes. 

Mark O’Brien is Director of Postgraduate Recruitment for UK and Europe at Sommet Education, a group encompassing Swiss hospitality management schools Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education. 

Next: Get more university application advice 


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