Your CV: Show us what you've got

Illustration of a stack of CVs fanned out on a yellow table, next to a smartphone and pen.

Our Application Tips series dissects each admissions requirement to help you craft your best application. To kick off, we’re sharing tips for your CV. You can apply for the Master of International Affairs (MIA), the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and the Master of Data Science for Public Policy between 1 October 2021 and 1 May 2022.

Your curriculum vitae is one of the first things we see when we open your application. Not only does it provide an overview of your education, qualifications and community engagement, it also offers insight into who you are as a person. During the evaluation process we look at it to assess your personal suitability for our master’s programmes, which is one of our three main selection criteria (weighted 40%).

Formatting your CV

You may use any format that you wish for your CV, but please do not include a photo. Choose a readable font and organise your CV in a way that is clear and easy to follow. We suggest keeping the layout of your CV as simple as possible; this will allow the admissions team to read your experiences without being distracted by busy colours and designs.

You should lay out your academic and relevant professional experience in an organised manner in your CV. Be sure to include other activities, such as volunteer work you have done; we want to see what you’re involved in outside of the classroom or your office, and what kinds of initiatives you may have led.

Do you need prior work experience to apply?

Work experience is not an admissions requirement, so you are welcome to apply straight out of your undergraduate degree. Some of our students do have a few years of work experience under their belts after finishing their bachelor's degrees, while others go directly from their bachelor’s to their master’s without a break. This can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the region you come from and the local culture surrounding higher education and work.

It’s also important to keep in mind that professional development and practical skills are integrated into the MDS, MIA and MPP programmes – in the form of a summer internship, international negotiation courses (MIA), project courses (MPP), professional development courses and, in general, practice-oriented curricula. As a student, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to build your professional portfolio and network, and you’ll have the support of our dedicated Career Development team from day one to help you work towards your professional goals.

What to include in your CV apart from professional experience

Here at the Hertie School, we evaluate our applicants holistically. This means that you should also think about other activities that you’ve been involved in thus far – such as extracurricular activities, civic engagement or volunteering – and let us know about them.

For example, how have you demonstrated civic engagement? Have you volunteered locally in your community, nationally, or even at the international level? Do you have experience outside of your home country that is particularly relevant to your motivation to study data science, international affairs or public policy? In what ways have you been politically active? These are just some questions to consider as you develop your CV.

Although no experience or achievement is too small, you should aim for a CV that is approximately 1-2 pages maximum in length. Your application reader will be reading hundreds of other CVs, so you’ll want to highlight the most impressive and relevant experiences that will help the reader understand you as a person.


Next up in the series: Tips for your letter of motivation.