Some KTH programmes will require you to upload your curriculum along with your transcripts of records, language certificates and other requested documents. This means that learning to write a good, eye-catching curriculum should be one of your priorities when applying to KTH – and this is something that many, including me, struggled to do. I hope today’s post will make it a bit easier for you to understand where to focus on to write a better CV!
Keep it straight to the point
A curriculum should never be too long. I think a good advice would be to keep it at maximum two pages unless instructed differently (e.g. you may be asked to use the Europass format – in that case, the CV could be slightly longer and it will have to follow a more rigid structure). However, at KTH you’re typically free to choose the format and layout that you prefer. Remember, the curriculum should be your “business card”: you need to provide the reader with what you think the most relevant information about you are, give a clear overview of your background, and make people want to know more about you.
Always remember what you’re sending the CV for
If you’re applying for a job, you may want to put work experiences first and give a lot of space to your extracurricular activities and private projects. When applying to a Master’s programme, however, it is advisable to give more space to your educational background, your academic merits and activities, your thesis, and so on. But this doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about everything else! Your hobbies, private projects, work experience, etc. are still VERY important and must appear in your CV. Simply, you want to give a bit more space to education-related stuff and be sure to write everything in the right order (see below). Always think about what the reader would like to know, and put significant keywords in bold to highlight them – especially in the “Personal Profile” section of the CV, where you should give a brief overview of your personality and goals.
Structure is important
If you’re applying for a university, your educational background matters the most. That should probably be the first thing one notices when looking at your cv, and it should be put on top of it, right next to or below your “Personal Profile” section. Also, always remember to put everything in reverse chronological order: last experiences come first and older experiences follow. Try to maintain quite a rigid structure: when looking at your CV, one should immediately be able to recognise the different sections at first glance (“Work Experience”, “Education”, “Achievements”, “Projects”, …).
Group similar experiences together
Let’s say that, during your high school career or at university, you did a lot of part-time jobs or projects. In that case, it may be useless to employ a lot of the CV space to list all the different experiences separately. Instead, you may want to group similar experiences into one paragraph/section of the CV and give some general info about what you did without getting into many details.
For example: say that you’re sending the CV to apply for an Interior Design programme. During high school and your Bachelor’s degree, you worked as a sales assistant in two different shops, you gave private lessons of English and you worked part-time in an architecture studio. In this case, you may want to get into details about your architecture studio experience (maybe by putting it in the “Work Experience” section) while grouping the three other experiences into “Other Experiences” without going into much detail.
To sum up, when writing a CV, you want to keep it brief and convey all the relevant, objective information that the reader may want to know. When writing a CV for a university application, you should give a lot of space to your academic background, projects, some additional courses that you may have done and your academic merits. You still want to talk about your work experience, though, especially if related to the programme you’re applying for. Also, don’t forget to highlight keywords and follow a reverse chronological order, while keeping your CV clear and well-structured.
Writing a CV is not easy, but everyone has to do it at some point. I’m sure that by dedicating some time to it, you will manage to nail it and get to the perfect compromise between completeness and briefness. Final tip: take a look at the many CV templates you can find online and use one of the many specialised websites to write yours!