Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed the seasonal break and are ready for the exciting year ahead. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application over the Christmas period – we are busy processing your applications now.
For those who have not yet submitted an application, this post aims to provide some advice on writing your personal statement and CV.
Along with the application form and other supporting documents, the personal statement and CV play an important part in the decision-making process. A coherent statement of purpose and well-constructed CV not only make the review process a lot easier for the panel, they can enhance your application by clearly demonstrating your interests and achievements. Below we give a few suggestions for when it comes to preparing these documents. Please remember that they form part of your full application file, and a successful application will also require a solid academic background that meets our requirements.
- Be concise
We are often asked how long the personal statement should be. Ideally it should be around 500-600 words. It is better to be concise so the admissions panel can easily pick out the key points.
- Look to the future
The admissions panel use the personal statement to determine whether the course you have applied for is right for you. You should therefore address why you want to take the course, and what your future career 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 Cass 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. It is often obvious when an applicant has not tailored their statement for their application to Cass Business School. Following from the above point, ensure that you are writing your statement specifically for the course that you wish to apply for at Cass.
- Sell yourself!
The personal statement is the only document where you can really sell yourself to the admissions panel. Other supporting documents such as the degree transcript are the hard evidence of your achievements, but they cannot convey a passion for a subject. 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? 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.
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.
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. The tips below are merely suggestions and are intended as guidance for the School application process only. The CV you submit for job applications may need to contain different information.
- Personal 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 is anything unusual about your degree (for example, if you transferred university half-way through your degree) make sure it is clearly stated. You should also use the Personal Statement to clarify any situations like this. 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 progress of your application.
Details of secondary education, including the results of ‘A’ Levels (or their international equivalent) can be useful if they are in subjects relevant to your chosen Masters degree.
- 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.