The Ultimate CV Writing Tips for Studying Abroad


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Dec 20, 2022 12:44 PM IST

The curriculum vitae (CV) is an integral part of the long set of documents students need to submit as part of their university application. The correct CV format and avoiding mistakes in CV can do wonders and help you bag admission to your favourite university. This article discusses some tips to write an impactful CV and mistakes you need to avoid.

The Ultimate CV Writing Tips for Studying Abroad

A resume or CV (curriculum vitae) is a representation of your professional and academic qualifications, accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and technical expertise. Your CV is your initial impression on the admissions committee, thus it must be properly designed and then painstakingly analysed.

Through its content, a well-written CV must outline a specific objective and purpose. However, as most applicants do, putting the purpose at the top of the resume is not always a smart idea. The architecture, substance, and flow of your resume, as well as the order of your qualifications and achievements, should altogether represent your purpose.

You must keep in mind that you are one of a thousand students who will apply to the university, and your CV is one of those a thousand resumes that the admissions committee will go through. The admissions committee may simply have a few seconds or minutes to go over your CV.

As a result, you must ensure that your resume captures the attention of the committee member within the first few seconds. What matters the most is how you strive to distinguish yourself from the competition by making your CV look more impressive and complete.

Often used interchangeably, a resume and CV cover the same points and paint a detailed picture of your academic and professional journey. However, there is a slight difference between the two, i.e. CV would cover the entire academic and professional journey of a candidate along with their skills and experience in detail, while a resume would provide a brief gist of the academic and professional milestones of the candidate, including their skills and experience.

Our well-versed study abroad consultants have assisted numerous students to write principled CVs efficiently and quicker. Many of our students have been able to fulfil their dreams of studying at renowned universities abroad.

Having Trouble Writing Your CV? Get FREE Expert Advice Today! 

Writing a CV to Study Abroad: What to Include?

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is Latin for “course of life”, which means that your CV should outine and define all of your academic journey as well as your professional achievements. However, while your CV should include all your academic achievements, it is crucial to ensure that the information is provided in a concise manner as well. Primarily, CVs and resumes are written for the purpose of being employed, however, universities and colleges may require applicants to submit a copy of their updated CV/resume.

When drafting your CV, you should look out for the appropriate line spacing in the document as well as other formating guidelines, as this will help the document be readable and well-structured. It is, therefore, extremely important to abide by the accepted format and structure for the CV, as outlined below.

Academic Background

While it is critical to include relevant job experience in your academic CV, it is your academic background that is more important. Make sure to go into great detail regarding your academic achievements. However, you need to list these pointers and not explain them, else it will just look like a Statement of Purpose (SOP).

Include your educational qualifications in the sequence that makes the most sense to you; nevertheless, most students list them in reverse chronological order. When considering studying abroad, students must know when to draw the line. It is quite simple to go into great depth about one's academic interests, but be sure to express all of the important points concisely.

Work Experience

Internships demonstrate to the admissions committee what you are interested in and that you are willing to venture outside of your comfort zone for a field you are passionate about. Students gain theoretical knowledge during their academic careers, but they can put what they have learned into practice when they participate in job experience.

This demonstrates to the admissions committee that you are willing to go above and above in your application. Being in a different nation is a difficult endeavour in and of itself, requiring students to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. Given that you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone in your early years, studying abroad will be quite straightforward for you.

Research Projects

Give specifics about your involvement in the research study. Briefly describe the research and its conclusions. Indicate the type of study you did, such as whether you collected data or performed experiments. Remember to include whether the research was published or any additional achievements, only if those are related to the field you are applying to at the university.

Technical Skills

Technical skills are based on science, math, technology, engineering, and other STEM-related subjects. Technical abilities must be highlighted in your resume as they reflect self-confidence, knowledge, and competence rather than just academics. Mention in detail which technical skills you possess and where you have implemented those skills before.

For example, you can mention any additional languages you know, like C, C++, Java, PHP, etc. 

Extracurricular Activities

One of the most important things on your resume should be your extracurricular hobbies and accomplishments. Academic accomplishments, recommendation letters, internship credentials, co-curricular activities, and degree certificates all have the power to communicate your worth. 

However, to convey more about the student's personal development, soft skills, and talents, extracurricular successes speak louder, clearer and stronger. It allows the interviewer to read between the lines and evaluate the student's true worth by determining how well they balance their academic and extracurricular interests. 

Are You Unclear on How to Format Your CV Decently? 

Tips to Write an Academic CV to Study Abroad:

It is easy to get sidetracked while writing your university CV. Focus on content priority based on your academic or professional background, since this will highlight and distinguish your CV from other applicants. The following resume writing suggestions will keep you on track and help you guarantee that your resume is well-crafted.

  • CVs can be a multi-page document where all the details pertaining to your academic and professional accolades and milestones have been mentioned. However, it is a good practice to add only the necessary details.

  • Use easy and professional language to write your resume. The content should be easy to comprehend and flow.

  • Use more bullet points and pointers should be done to avoid lengthy paragraphs. The use of pointers makes the CV articulate and to the point, information is conveyed.

  • Follow a reverse chronological order to mention your accomplishments from the most recent ones to the earlier ones. This is considered the ideal way to write an academic record.

  • Avoid the use of passive voice throughout the CV. Use words like ‘Managed,’ ‘Achieved,’ ‘Conducted,’ ‘Designed,’ and ‘Authored’ when you mention the accomplishments.

  • Have at least two to three things on your profile that will make the CV in a way that helps you to stand out among others. Highlight these achievements in such a way that it aligns with the values and principles that the university focuses on. 

  • Make sure the information and data that you mention in the CV are genuine and legit. The inaccurate or false information can leave a bad impression on one's personality and character.

  • Make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes in your document. 

  • Except for the name and contact details, the document should be balanced in alignment with clearly visible fonts like Ariel or Times New Roman and with a font size of 11.

  • Last but the most important one is proofreading. Proofread the document multiple times to reduce the errors to almost zero. Rechecking the document multiple times can reduce the risks of typos and spelling or grammar errors that may be committed while drafting the CV.

CV Format for Study Abroad

A curriculum vitae is one thing to write and another thing to present concurrently. A well-structured and formatted CV will be defining point in determining whether your application will be accepted by the university. If your CV for university applications is not appealing to the eyes of the reader, then you are doing something wrong or lagging somewhere. 

For example, if you are mentioning your academic qualifications, then you must include your Grade Point Average (GPA), specialisation, name of the university, location, year, etc. On the other hand, if you are mentioning any of your technical skills, then you must include instances where have you utilised those skills for any project or industrial training. Here are some helpful formatting tips for writing a neat resume:

  • Begin by categorising your resume under topics such as Academic Qualifications,  Projects, Internships, Professional Experience, Seminars, Publications, Presentations, and Workshops.

  • You can also include Achievements, Extracurricular Activities, Technical Skills,  and Community Service. Whenever applicable, you may choose to divide your job experience into professional and entrepreneurial ventures.

  • Throughout your CV/resume, use a single, standard typeface (such as Times New Roman or Calibri).

  • On both sides, leave a one-inch margin.

  • Make all of your headers bold and size fourteen, while leaving the remainder of your paper at 11-12.

  • Make sure there is adequate space between each heading, subheading, and paragraph of content. It is crucial since a large amount of content on a single page might appear daunting and uninviting.

  • When you are finished, save your resume as a PDF.

Mistakes To Avoid in a CV

CV writing is not one of the most challenging tasks; yet, you must be extremely careful when mentioning any information. Remember that to build an exceptional resume, you must first understand what to include and what to exclude. You should never include something in your CV that you are doubtful about. It is also crucial that the resume does not contain any inaccurate or fraudulent information. 

You must double-check the information in your CV or resume to ensure that it does not contain any essential information. Following are some of the most prevalent errors to avoid in a CV:

  • Unlike a resume, a CV can be more than one page since all the entirety of your academic and professional milestones need to be mentioned. It should resemble a photograph, with all of your accomplishments included. Even at a glance, it should be simple to comprehend.

  • Instead of long paragraphs, attempt to utilize bullet points. It is simpler for readers to read and comprehend the ideas all at once. Bullet points might include things like work contributions, extracurricular activities, and even voluntary community service.

  • A lot of students include many lines of text in their bullet points, making them less appealing. Each bullet point should be no more than one and a half lines in length.

  • The bullet points in the CV should be listed in chronological sequence and the CV should not appear random. You should begin with your most recent successes and work your way backwards.

  • The use of passive voice can occasionally cause readers to get confused. As a result, an active voice must be used throughout the CV. Conduct, design, manage, achieve, and author are some of the terms you can include in your CV.

  • The presence of grammatical and typographical problems might lead to rejection. Many of us are unable of spotting stupid errors on a CV. Because a CV is used to make a first impression, it should be free of spelling and grammatical problems.

  • Students also make the error of failing to take the CV structure seriously. Many components of the format must be perfect, from leaving a one-inch margin on both sides to utilizing a single typeface and bold headers.

In making a CV, it is essential to bear in mind that it is a way for the admissions committee to learn more about your accomplishments. Be sure to devote a considerable amount of time to crafting your CV. Additionally, you must understand the kind of applicant a particular university or college abroad is expecting to apply, thus allowing you to create an eye-catching CV to study abroad. Utilizing the above tips can help you draft a CV that will propel you to the next level.

Need help creating your CV/resume for universities abroad? Raise your queries to ask then drop us a line at and get expert guidance in your study abroad applications.

Boost Your Chances of Getting Accepted into a Foreign University! 


What is an international student CV?

An international student CV is a document used when applying for a programme in a foreign university. It is all about promoting your capabilities and achievements in a concise manner. Here, you have the opportunity to outline your skills, experience/education, and knowledge to give an overview of your profile to the Admissions Committee. When it comes to preparing a CV for study abroad, keep in mind that "less is usually more".

Is a student CV different from an employment CV?

Yes, a student CV is different from an employment CV because as a student you would lack the same level of work experience as someone who is continuing their education after several years of work experience. Remember that the Admission Committee is simply interested in seeing if you are capable of maintaining your willingness to learn and your future ambitions. On the other hand, a professional or employment CV is built to prove your worth to the employer.

What should be the ideal length of a CV to study abroad?

The ideal length of a CV to study abroad should be a maximum of 2 sides of an A4 page. You may always cut down on words by focusing on the most important aspects of your education, extracurricular activities and professional experience (if any). While writing your CV, try not to rehash your cover letter's speech. If you are a recent graduate, you can always concentrate on your educational background and skill set. It is advisable to keep the length of the CV to one page or 1.5 sides.

What should I include in my student CV to study abroad?

In your CV, you must know how to highlight your skillset. Club membership, social activities, group activities, or anything else that is relevant to your goal might be included. Avoid listing any made-up skills or interests, as you may be questioned about them during your university interview. Highlight projects or events where your skills and knowledge can be highlighted.

What fonts should I use in my CV?

You should use serif fonts in your CV like Arial, Tahoma, and Times New Roman. These fonts are preferred because they are easier to read and give the document a professional look. However, you must avoid using any informal fonts like Sage or Comic Sans. Also, to divide the sections, write your header in 14 or 16 font sizes. It is necessary to keep each component in chronological order.

What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

The difference between a CV and a resume is that a CV includes a complete history of your academic credentials, hence its length is flexible. A resume, on the other hand, gives a compact picture of your skills and qualities for a certain job, therefore its length is usually dictated by years of experience (generally 1-2 pages).

How can I write a good CV to study abroad?

You can write a good CV to study abroad by using powerful and active verbs wherever possible like ‘analysed’, ‘created’ and ‘devised’ to portray yourself as someone who takes initiative. Ensure that your CV is free of any grammatical or spelling mistakes as well as plagiarized content. However, you should also avoid the use of over-used phrases like ‘hard worker, ‘multitasker’, ‘team player’, etc.

What should I not include in my student CV to study abroad?

There are certain things you should not include in your student CV. For example,  mentioning irrelevant personal and professional information, unexplained gaps in prior work experience (if any), and even adding any references to your CV. Always double-check your spellings and ensure it is grammatically refined. Make sure you are writing in the correct tense, and if you are using the third person, make sure you use it consistently throughout the document.

Should I mention my age on my CV?

No, you should not mention your age on your CV as well as other personal factors such as ethnicity, background, nationality, references and gender as they have no bearing on your profile. You should also not include your date of birth or any other personal information on your CV.

Should I include hobbies and interests on my CV to study abroad?

Yes, students can include hobbies and interests in their CV to study abroad but only for undergraduate applications. Graduate applications usually do not require such information unless they are relevant to the programme/course or if the university has specifically asked for it. 

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