How To Make A Powerful Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

Learn how to write a powerful curriculum vitae (CV)! Well, if you are reading this you probably have targeted a scholarship already. And you are now working on completing all the requirements for the application. In fact, a great resume is an important one. Check also How Do I Get A Scholarship?

By this time, probably you are aware that in every single scholarship application (and university application) you are requested to submit your Curriculum Vitae. Shortened and better known as a CV. This document is very important for your application because it is basically your presentation card. With the curriculum, a scholarship provider will see at a glance all your educational, professional, and personal backgrounds.


The Curriculum Vitae is something that every single person must prepare at some point in life. Indeed, you need a CV for a job application, you need a CV for a school application, a scholarship application, and so on. Take a look at this insightful blog. After reading this you will get the tools required to be able to build a powerful resume.

In this post, we will explore the meaning, purpose, different names, and tips for building a Curriculum Vitae. Also, and more important than that, you will find a downloadable template at the bottom of this page that you can edit and adapt according to you. However, remember, as we mentioned in the post on How to write a Motivation Letter, this is an open free resource for everybody. Therefore, don’t just copy it. In that way, it will not be special, and many people will have a similar CV to yours. So, take it as an example and edit, improve, and rock it! Here we go!

What is the Meaning of Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

The words “Curriculum Vitae” come from the Latin language. They can be translated to “Course of Life”. It is the document that summarizes your, academic, professional background, as well as other achievements you have acquired during your life. This document is requested in any application you want to pursue, job applications, universities, scholarships, etc. As we said before, it can be also found as “CV” which is the short version based on the first letter of each of the words Curriculum Vitae. This document is also called in many other ways, like Resume, curriculum only, and many others.

In your curriculum vitae, you have to make sure you include all the information regarding your previous studies, all your job experiences, languages you speak. It is also important to include any course you have taken, volunteering experiences, leadership experiences, achievements and awards received, and your most impressive skills. Make sure to “sell” yourself in the best way possible. Remember that the scholarship application is a competition, and only the best candidates will get one.

Important Tips for Writing the Best Curriculum Vitae

1. Personalize your CV for every application

The most common mistake that students do while applying for a scholarship is to submit a standard curriculum vitae. Every scholarship has specific guidelines of what they are looking for, thus, you have to make sure your CV matches as much as possible with the application requirements. Therefore, you should take the time to make a new specific and unique curriculum every time you make an application. Of course, you can have one as your foundation/base document and edit and adapt it for the specific application.

2. How to write the personal profile/introduction of my CV

It is recommended to include in your CV a brief introduction or personal profile. This segment of your resume is very important because it explains in one short paragraph who you are and it is the one that needs to stay in the mind of the committee.

  1. Start with a strong and short introduction of yourself. Tell your nationality, your profession, an achievement, or just a description such as “a confident woman/man”, “a highly organized professional”, etc.
  2. Continue with your expertise, in the field you are good at, for example: graduated from the school of medicine with a deep interest in mental health.
  3. Also, here is the best opportunity to customize, edit and personalize your CV, according to the specific university/scholarship application you are targeting. For example, if the scholarships are looking for “the future leaders” and you are applying to a medicine program, is in here where you will add a phrase emphasizing that you are a future leader in the medical field: “(…) I am looking to build my knowledge in the field of medicine to lead my community to the development of public health based on a mental wellness for all the society”

In this way, the personal profile will be strong, personal, and unique. Check out all the text together:

 A highly organized professional from Burkina Faso. Graduated from the school of medicine in my home country, and with a deep interest in mental health. I am looking to build my knowledge in the field of medicine to lead my community to the development of public health, based on mental wellness for all my society.


3. Describe your academic and professional background properly and elegantly

In each element that you include in your CV, it is always important to give a brief description of what was it about (one to three short sentences). Is in this section that you have the opportunity to accommodate your previous experience to the requirements and guidelines of the specific scholarship.

Now, by this, we don’t mean to lie in your CV. Contrarily, we say you have to show the characteristics of those elements in the best way possible. Here is an example: It is not the same to say: “I used to work growing and selling plants”. Than to say: “In my previous experience I have been involved in the development of the green areas of my community by producing and distributing organic products”. Do you see the difference? It is the same activity; however, the second explanation is inspiring and gives the impression of creating much more value than the first one.

If you need some ideas on how to do this, you can search in Google: “job descriptions”. There are tons of beautiful ideas on how to say things correctly.

Extension of your CV

Bear in mind that same as you, there are hundreds of students applying for the scholarship, and only one committee reviewing the applications. This means that they do not have time to review every single detail of your documents. Therefore, it must be impressive at a first sight. For this reason, the CV should have a maximum of one page. Yes! Only one page. We need to emphasize this again. Your CV MUST HAVE ONLY ONE PAGE.

It is a common mistake, students trying to be impressive and including a lot of information end writing a document of three or even four pages. This is not a smart idea. It is a mistake! This only generates your background and achievements to get lost in the middle of abundant and unnecessary information. For this reason, please keep it simple. Personalize and include only the necessary information for that application and prepare a powerful easy-to-read CV that can impress the selecting committee.

Format of your CV

Now not only the content is important but also the format. Keep a clean, simple, and coherent format in all your CV. For example, keep the same date format, the same font, the same size of the letters, colors, etc. This shows how professional you are.

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Common Questions About Writing Your Curriculum

Is it necessary to include a photo in my curriculum vitae?

Not anymore. You can submit your curriculum without your photo and it will not affect your application process, likewise, it is not a problem if you prefer to include it. Traditionally, people were used to including photos. You will still find most of the templates with this format, however, times have changed and evolved and it is not that important anymore. The most important elements are the content, the coherence, and the relevance based on the specific application.

What is the Europass format Curriculum Vitae?

This is a format of CV generally well-known in the European community, for employers and universities. Some of the universities require it as mandatory to submit your CV under this format. This helps the application committee to review the applications faster. As they don’t have to deal with many different formats of CVs. If your application requires a Europass CV, you can just go to Google and write Europass CV. You will find several pages where you can build it for free and download it. You can find one page here! However remember, you can do it on any other page you prefer and you believe it’s easier to use.

What should I put as skills in my curriculum vitae?

Very often students don’t know what to put for skills and make a usual mistake. They include generic attributes that do not provide any extra value, such as, hard worker, work under pressure, Microsoft package expert, and so on. The skills section in the CV is a great opportunity to customize your resume to a specific application, accommodating them to what the scholarship is looking for. The following list is a great example of skills for resume/CV: Creativity, Interpersonal Skills, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Public Speaking, Customer Service Skills, Teamwork Skills, Communication, Leadership, etc.

There is not a rule, just keep in your mind to sell your skills in the best way possible according to the specific application.

Where can I find Curriculum Vitae/Resume templates?

There tons of templates of CVs or Resumes online. Easily writing a CV or Resume in Google. Although you will see some of the pages are applications with premium features that ask money for using them. The best and easier templates we recommend to you are those from Microsoft Word. Easily, open your Microsoft Word app from your computer, in the bar menu at the top, go to File > Home > More Templates > write Resume in the search box and you will find many designs for free and most important, they are user friendly so it will be really easy to edit and input your information.

File > Home > More templates > Resume > Bingo <  (Check below!)




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Curriculum Vitae (CV) Doc File

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If you have any comments or questions you can leave them in the box below.

Good Luck!

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