How to write a CV

How to build a proper CV: Steps every student should follow

First of all, what is a CV?

CV words stand for Curriculum vitae (latin phrase) that means “course of life”. In other words, a CV is a professional document that represents your education, work experience and your academic achievement history.

Nowadays, you’ll be asked to submit a CV almost whenever you apply: for studies, training, a job or similar. Thus, a CV is a very important document and if you want to leave a good impression, you should know how to build a good one. If you still don’t have a CV or you think your CV needs an ‘upgrade’, find below steps you should follow, in order to create a good CV for yourself.

1. So, how to write a good CV? 

First, you find a proper format online. We recommend you to use the Europass CV format, because it is very known in Europe, and moreover, it is very practical and you can easily update it anytime you need. 

In order to use the Europass template, you have to login (or to create an account, if you don’t have one), and create a profile. Then, you can use your profile to build a CV, or you can upload your old CV and then update it. 

Usually, the order of the data in a CV should be this way:

  • Your personal & contact information (name & surname, date of birth, email address, phone number, etc.).
  • A professional profile photo (only if it is required).
  • Job or internship experiences (if you have), starting from the last one. Make sure to provide correct and clear information about your duties and your employer.  
  • Education & professional training (again, starting from the last one). Also, make sure to mention if you have any diploma or certificate.
  • Personal skills & languages (do not forget to mention the respective level for each language you can speak).
  • Additional information (for examples conferences, projects).
  • References (if it is required to put them in CV)

While building your CV, put data about your job or education starting from your latest experience. Write clear descriptions, use bullet points to describe your duties / responsibilities and use short sentences.

We recommend you to use the Europass CV, however in some applications there could be required another template or they could have their application form. So, follow the ‘rules’ according to the institution you are applying for.

While creating your CV, maybe you think how long it should be? There is not a general rule, but if you are a student, it is preferable to have a CV no longer than two pages.

2. Should I put a photo on my CV?

Maybe many of you asked if you should use a photo in your CV? Well there are different rules in different countries and / or applications. According to Graduateland, there are countries where you should or should’n include a photo on your CV.

  • Continental Europe: Include
  • UK: Don’t include
  • USA: Never include (only if it is required)
  • The Middle East & Africa: Include (except in South Africa)
  • Asia: Include
  • Australia & New Zealand: Optional

However, if you have to include a photo in your CV, use a proper one. This means a professional profile photo, preferably with a white background. Make sure to avoid selfies. If you really don’t have a professional photo, then it’s better without a photo than with an inappropriate one.

3. You should never lie on your CV

We all want to leave a good impression through our CV, but lying isn’t the solution. So, don’t forget: you should never lie on your CV. Sincerity and academic honesty are above all else. 


If you don’t have work experience, you still can write a worth CV. For example, think about personal skills you have, and mention them. In addition, you can attach a letter of interest, where you can explain your interest and motivation as well. 


4. Things you (maybe) shouldn’t mention on your CV

Do not forget, CV is mostly about your education & career history. Thus, there are some things you shouldn’t include in it. 


  • Photo – we mentioned above that there are different rules when it comes to including a photo on your CV. So, meet the criterias based in the country where you are going to apply. For example, if you are applying for a scholarship in any of the UK universities, remember that in the UK, they don’t usually include photos in their CVs.
  • Age and/or date of birth – It is not important your age while you meet criterias for any respective job you’re looking forward to applying for. So you don’t have to include your date of birth, and it is considered discirmination if your potential employer asks for it. But if you are applying for any scholarship, fellowship or training, there may be age restrictions. So, you always check carefully any call application before you apply.
  • Sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status.
  • Religion or belief.
  • Other personal things or things that aren’t relevant to that application.


5. Update, update, update

In order to leave a good impression, you should adapt your CV according to the job or scholarship you are applying for. We all want to show all our experiences and achievements in our CV, but if your CV is too long, try to choose the most important parts that are relevant for the scholarship you are aiming for. So, update your CV every time you start a new job, finish a course, graduate or similar. While applying, think which things are more related with that job or scholarship. 

This can be so easy if you use the Europass format, because you can add all new things in your profile, then select the ones you need to show on your CV.

Don’t forget, the CV is often the first impression that determines whether they will consider the rest of your application or will call you for an interview. So, practice these simple but important steps, create a proper CV and increase your possibilities to be called for the job or scholarship interview you are looking forward to.