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  • Sanchit Varma

How should I draft my CV for an LLM?

What kind of work experience should I include in my CV? My GPA isn’t that great - should I mention it right in the beginning, or let the admissions committee go through my transcripts? Will volunteer work help? Every well crafted CV in the past has been through a similar set of questions, fraught with uncertainty about whether it will hold up against the critical glare of the admissions committee.

To help you answer some of these questions, we’ve put together a small guide on how to build a solid CV for your LLM application, based on insights from CollegeIt’s live session with Shardool Kulkarni, an LLM Candidate at Tel Aviv University, and Orit Gontmaher, the Admissions and Marketing Director of the Parasol Foundation International LLM program.

Why is the CV Important?

In order to build a convincing resumé, it is first important to establish the purpose it serves in evaluating your application. As such, the CV is a document which lets your experience speak for itself. It is objective, and cuts through the noise in other parts of the application.

To that effect, Orit indicates, “Your CV will offer a clean outline of your strengths so that we can determine whether or not you will be right for our program. Unlike a personal statement that is based on emotion and letters of recommendation that are based on information someone else writes about you, the CV allows us a source of information that is neutral…”.

Educational Qualifications, Grades, Awards and Scholarships

First and foremost, it is important to indicate your degree and the university you graduated from, which helps the evaluator ensure that you meet the base requirements for admission to the program. Secondly, both Orit and Shardool agree that your GPA should be included amongst your educational qualifications.

As Shardool emphasizes, “it’s definitely necessary to highlight what your GPA or percentage is in the CV itself because it’s irksome for the person evaluating your application to go and look at your transcript to see what your grades are, when you can set out the average in your CV.”

While your transcript will be thoroughly evaluated, including your average grade in the CV sets the right tone for the reviewer and makes their experience of reading your application much smoother. To that end, if your average meets the minimum program requirement, it’s probably a good idea to demonstrate that you meet the qualifying criteria by putting it in your CV.

In terms of how to put together your academic achievements such as gold medals and scholarships, Shardool advises, “the way I would structure it would be that I would include my education qualifications at the top, mention where I graduated from and what was my GPA, and below that I would perhaps consider including a separate section on awards and scholarships, especially if there are more than one or two because that would highlight that individual’s academic merit.”

Work Experience

When it comes to including work experience, the advice can differ depending on where you are in your career at the time of applying for the LLM. The two most common queries that applicants have are about the level of details to be included in the work-ex section, and if the work experience should be related to your choice of specialization in the LLM program.

For the latter query, Shardool