When applying for a scholarship, your CV (curriculum or resume) often works as the first evaluation filter in which the bidder seeks that you meet the basic requirements of the call, that your experience is aligned with the program to which you want to apply, and that you are a candidate with academic, professional and personal potential.
In other words, the role of the CV is to capture the attention of the bidder so that they continue with the Motivation Letter, which has the objective of finally convincing them that your candidacy is the most indicated above all the others.
This makes the CV one of the most important documents in the evaluation process and that is why I want to tell you some tips to write it, the same ones that have allowed me to win 7 scholarships and help other people to study and work in another country.
Before writing your curriculum for scholarship
Before starting to write your resume, you should evaluate yourself and determine the elements of your professional, academic and personal experience that you are going to put on the paper.
Initially, you should gather as much information as possible to have a broader vision of what you have to offer, and then you will have to choose which ones to show and how to do it.
Remember that the offeror of the scholarship has the final say, so do research on him and the profile he is looking for. Based on this, select and highlight the skills and experiences that you value the most in your resume.
You can start the investigation by reading the description of the scholarship and its requirements very well. You can also review the profiles of other scholarship recipients of that scholarship you want. Scholarship providers often publish articles or institutional videos in which other scholars share their experience and that is your opportunity to analyze their profile.
When you do your research identify keywords and write them down so you know how to target your resume. For example, you will know if you should focus more on the academic, the professional, or the personal. It can also help you, for example, to know if you should show yourself more as a leader, creative or socially conscious.
The ideal structure for the resume (CV)
Every CV should have three parts: contact details, education, and professional experience. However, I recommend that you add other sections that make it easier for the reader to identify relevant characteristics such as Certificates and Recognitions, Volunteering and other experiences, Soft Skills, and Languages.
1. Contact Information
At the top of the page or in the header you must show your full name and your contact information such as an address, telephone, and email. Avoid putting words like “CV”, “Curriculum” or “CV” that do not make it look professional.
Normally it goes first since it is what will allow you to demonstrate that you meet the basic entry requirements. For example, if you are applying for a Ph.D., you have already completed master’s studies; or if you apply for a master’s degree, that you have already completed your undergraduate degree.
Write only the degree obtained, the institution, the year of graduation, along with the city and country in which you studied. Add special acknowledgments or your grades, if they were outstanding.
3. Work experience
Don’t just describe the tasks you completed, but include your achievements and measurable results. With this, you are showing the reader that you leave a mark on where you are going and that you are aware of the impact of your work. He also speaks in the first person, but avoids the use of “I”. Remember that it is about what you have done and therefore you are the main character of what you present.
For example, instead of writing “sales and event organization” it is better to write “I increased sales by 20% compared to the same period last year and organized events with budgets of more than 500,000 USD”. Clearly always referring to facts.
It shows the languages you speak at the respective level: native, basic, intermediate, or advanced. Avoid getting entangled with numerical scales that make it difficult for the reader to understand.
5. Personal Skills
Just as you mention your technical skills, also mention your personal skills. This section is vital so that the bidder can quickly recognize that you have the profile that interests him. In addition, to this, you can also demonstrate self-knowledge and balance.
Other key sections
If you have written publications or have been awarded prizes or certificates complementary to your formal academic training, you can organize them in a section to highlight your achievements. Similarly, if you have experience in extracurricular activities or volunteering, I recommend that you organize them in another section to quickly demonstrate your proactivity and social awareness.
Professional profile and photo on CV?
The professional profile is a section with which some people decide to start their resume in the form of a presentation. However, it can be a repetition of what you will surely write in your motivation letter.
For this reason and because it is also about being as concise as possible, I would avoid it in the CV. But if you want to use it, don’t write more than a paragraph or 5 lines of text.
As for the photo, it depends a lot on the call, the institution, and the country to which you are applying, but in general terms, I recommend placing a professional photo that helps the reader to get an idea of who is speaking. The photo should be one in which you appear with a friendly and happy gesture. Avoid forced smiles and serious gestures.
Other tips – CV for scholarship
1. Short and specific: Depending on the number of applications, the reader of your CV can spend as little as 30 seconds reading it. That is why you should try to place all the content on a maximum of 2 pages.
2. Simple format, but NOT flat: Use bullets, bold and capital letters to show relevant information to the bidder. It is also recommended that you use more than one column and clearly separate the sections to facilitate reading. Avoid unconventional designs and color mixing, unless you are applying to an arts program.
3. Be specific with the information you present: Indicate institutions, titles, and dates. The information should be in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest.
4. Use the correct tense: The activities that you are no longer doing must be in the past and those that you are still doing in the present. It seems silly but it happens😉
5. Check your spelling: Whether you write in English or Spanish, your spelling says a lot about how you communicate and your level of language proficiency. Since self-correctors are not always successful, take time to review each word and phrase.
Examples of Scholarship Winning Resumes
If you liked the above tips, I recommend you get the complete Scholarship Winning Applications guide that has 7 templates and real examples of winning resumes, CVs, and resumes.
To better help you, these examples are in both English and Spanish and in addition, the guide has practical exercises with which you will learn to:
- Understand the characteristics that the bidder is looking for.
- Identify your strengths and show them concretely and coherently with the program to which you are applying.
- Structure the other important documents for your application such as Letter of Motivation and Letters of Recommendation.