Articles from Cass Knowledge

Top tips for writing your personal statement and CV

As you prepare your master's application to the Business School (formerly Cass), we're sure that you are keen to sell yourself and demonstrate your suitability for your chosen course. A well-written personal statement and CV can help the admissions panel understand your motivation, which might not be conveyed through your degree transcript alone.

Here, we share some of our top hints and tips for writing your personal statement and CV.

Personal Statement

Be concise

We're often asked how long the personal statement should be and ideally it should be 500-600 words, although there is no particular limit. It is better to be concise so the admissions panel can easily pick out the key points.

Look to the future

We use the personal statement to determine whether the course you have applied for is right for you. You should address why you want to take the course, and what your future careers aspirations are. If you can, demonstrate how particular modules will help you in the field you wish to enter after graduating.

Do your research

Find out about the School and the course before writing your personal statement. Is there anything that particularly catches your eye or interests you? Mentioning something that is specific to the Business School or the course, and explaining how it will benefit you, will show the admissions panel that you have taken the time to read and learn about the School or course.

Tailor your statement

We expect that you are submitting applications to other Business Schools. However, do not make the mistake of sending the same statement to every School.  Ensure that you are writing your statement specifically for the course that you wish to apply for, and mention the course name in the statement.

Sell yourself

Use this opportunity to tell us about yourself – what makes you stand out? How do you think the course will help you in your future career? What can you give back to our community? If there are any discrepancies in your academic background you can provide an explanation here. Above all, your career ambitions should comprise the greatest part of your statement.

Girl completing application on laptop

CV

The Curriculum Vitae (or resumé) serves as a snap-shot of your profile. In one place it shows your academic, professional and extra-curricular background. It is therefore important to ensure that it is well-formatted and easy to understand.

The layout

Whilst in some countries there is a set format for a CV, in the UK there is some degree of flexibility in how to lay it out and what information to include. As a rule, CVs should be no longer than two sides of A4. It is better to be concise and write bullet points rather than large paragraphs of text.

Personal and contact details

The CV should include at least your full name and an email address. Please ensure the email address is typed correctly. It is often better to put a personal email address here, in case your academic email account expires.

Academic background

You should provide at least your higher education here. Ensure you put the start and end dates of the degree, and if you have done any exchange programmes be sure to input these along with the dates. If you have completed your degree, ideally you should state your final grade, and specify the grading scheme (such as out of GPA 4). You do not need to list modules or grades achieved as these will be listed on your transcript.

If there's anything unusual about your degree (for example, if you transferred university half-way through your degree) make sure it is clearly stated. Including this information will make it much easier for the Admissions Team to understand your academic background, and will reduce the chances of a delay in the processing of your application.

Professional background

Please include details of any relevant work experience or internships. These should include the name of the employer, your job title, the country in which you were working, and the dates of employment. If you were working part-time, please mention this.

Other qualifications and skills

If you hold any other relevant qualifications, such as ACCA, GMAT or an English proficiency score, please include these along with the date taken. It is likely that you will also need to upload the documents with your online application. If you are a candidate for a professional exam, provide your intended test date. You may also wish to briefly add details of your interests and key skills.

Before submitting your application, check your personal statement and CV for spelling mistakes or inconsistencies, and make sure there are no gaps in the information. If you already have a CV that you intend to upload, ensure that it is up-to-date.

We hope that these tips are useful when it comes to preparing your application documents. Please contact us if you have any questions!

Please remember that these two documents form part of your whole application file, and a successful application will also require a solid academic background that meets our requirements.