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CV Tips for Applying to Uni Abroad

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Basically, I am writing this because, when I went to go apply for grad schools, I wanted my CV to be perfect. I searched the internet for the best tips and this is a consolidated list of the best tips I found. I've also added some additional tips I found especially helpful for students applying to uni abroad.

(Side note: Full disclosure, I am writing this at midnight and I am very tired so leave a comment if I messed up or forgot anything lol)

First off, some general tips:

  • Customize your CV (and letter of motivation) specifically for each university you apply to

  • DO NOT repeat anything that you mentioned in your letter of motivation, that will simply be a waste of valuable space

  • It's okay to brag! You want to seem like the most qualified student for the position

  • Always remember why you are applying! Authentic interest and excitement will shine through

  • When applying abroad, highlight any and all international experience you have

  • I keep a running list of CV-worthy experiences on my computer so whenever I have to make a CV, I can pick the most relevant experience from that list. It makes my life a lot easier when applying to a bunch of programs at once

The Steps to CV Success:

  1. Study the program you're applying for through and through to take note of the qualities and skills they look for in their students

    1. For Example, before applying to Uppsala University, I studied the program website and created the following list:

      1. Examples of Qualities:

        1. Creative, ethical, and responsible citizens

        2. Open and inclusive outlook on the world

        3. Diversity of cultures and perspectives among the student body

        4. Global worldview

        5. Multicultural backgrounds

      2. Examples of Skills:

        1. Creative and critical thinking capabilities

        2. Research skills

        3. Ability to communicate results in written and verbal form

        4. Analytical thinking

        5. English fluency

        6. Cross-cultural communication and teamwork skills

  2. Note the reoccurring themes that this degree focuses on and think about how you will portray that you already possess the skills to succeed

    1. Again for Uppsala, I noted these themes:

      1. Emphasis on research skills

      2. Emphasis on the international environment, they are seeking diversity among the student body

      3. Communicating results in written form and verbally

      4. Media in daily, cultural, political, economic, and professional life

  3. Start to build your CV according to the qualities, skills, and reoccurring themes

    1. Your CV should include these sections:

      1. Education

        1. Bachelors applicants put only your high school(s)

        2. Masters applicants, put your bachelor uni(s) and exchange uni(s)

      2. Career Experience

        1. Choose maximum 3 positions that best represent you as the best candidate

        2. Under each job title, list the key skills the position required that are most RELEVANT

        3. Don’t put experience from over three years ago

      3. Extra Curricular

        1. Same rules apply as in career experience

      4. Skills

        1. Put the most relevant skills that the university is looking for

      5. Awards

        1. Only relevant awards (pst, leadership is always relevant)

      6. Contact Details

        1. Address, email, phone number

  4. Format:

    1. The format should not be too fancy, but if you are going into a creative field, do something small to show your style and attention to detail. And please, DO NOT exceed one page

    2. Title the document with your name before sending it anywhere

I hope this helps!

A post about letters of motivation coming soon!!

Liza xx

Edited by Sophia Pedigo

Here is the CV that I used to apply to Uppsala Uni (with slight changes made for other universities).

Download PDF • 124KB


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