How to write a CV

By Chira Tudoran

Are you applying for a minor that requires a CV? Do you want to apply for an internship for the elective space next year? Or a job at the end of your studies? And you have no idea where to start? Then this article is for you.

First of all, I recommend watching the Leiden Career Zone Recorded Events videos at . The video that will help you in writing your CV is Online Career Week: CV writing

If you are a Security Studies student, and have any questions about a possible internship, you can contact your study coordinators by sending an email to If you are an International Relations and Organisations student, contact your study advisor by sending an email to If you are an International Studies student, then email

Now that you have this information, let’s start building your CV. There are several general notes before we begin. One, CVs between one and two pages are the norm. However, you are a student, so it is perfectly fine if your CV has one page. Two, it is up to you to put a photo or not in your CV. It is not required, but if you do choose, my advice is to look business-like and friendly. Three, and this is especially important, write everything in reverse chronological order. 

It is also important to understand that your CV has to be custom made for each application. Don’t put everything you’ve done in there. That’s why you attach the link to your LinkedIn account. If the application reviewer wants to see what else you’ve done, they can see it there.

The structure of your CV should be:

  • Personal Details
  • Personal profile/Summary
  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Skills
  • Interests
  • References available upon request

Write them in bold, with the content written below in normal text. Choose a professional-looking font (e.g. Times New Roman or something similar) and set line spacing at 1.15 (not obligatory, but this way more words fit in the document). The text should be black but you can use another colour to highlight important words (e.g. Put Personal Details in bold and navy blue, while normal text in black and unbolded text). Pro-tip: put dark green if you apply for an internship in sustainability, dark red for something ambitious… you get the idea). Extra Pro-tip: only use one colour to highlight the text.

Personal Details. These are the first things that need to be written on your CV. 

  • First name and surname
  • Your current address (You don’t have to write your full address, your city is enough)
  • Telephone number (if it’s not Dutch, write the country prefix in the beginning)
  • E-mail address 
  • Optional: Date and place of birth 
  • Optional: Nationality
  • Optional and highly advised: the URL to your LinkedIn profile.

Speaking of LinkedIn, go to → your profile → top right corner: Edit public profile and URL → Personalize the URL for your profile so that it doesn’t have numbers in it. Trust me, this will make your profile look much better when you share the link.

Personal profile

This is not compulsory, but if you want to: Write a descriptive overview of your most relevant skills and experience. As said before, customise it for each application so that it includes the key words of the internship requirements.


State the name of the study programme(s) and institution(s). Put BSc if it’s a Bachelor of Science and BA if it’s a Bachelor of Arts. For your most relevant qualifications, state:

  • Date the programme started – date it ended/Present
  • Areas of specialisation
  • Relevant courses (Choose the most relevant courses based on where you apply!)
  • Relevant optional courses (e.g. Honours or extracurricular elective courses)
  • Minor
  • Thesis topic 

If you have not done one of these qualifications then do not write it down. 

Example 1: Application for an internship about Conflict (offline and online) in Latin America


BSc Security Studies – Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University, The Hague

September 2019 – Present

Areas of specialisation: Terrorism, Cybercrime, and Governance of Conflicts

Relevant courses: Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Cyber Threats, and Research Methods

Relevant optional courses: Spanish Minor 1 and Spanish Minor 2

Example 2: Application for a job at an EU organisation 


BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations – Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University, The Hague

September 2018 – Present

Areas of specialisation: International Organisations, Issues of Peace and Security, and Global Political Relations

Relevant courses: International Politics, Comparative Politics, Statistics, and Global History

Relevant optional courses: Honours (add here any courses that specifically match the job description)

Minor: European Union Studies 

Thesis topic: Impact of x on y in the context of the European Union

Work Experience

Here, you state what positions you held and with which organisations in reverse-chronological order. 

  • State the full job title and the name of the organisation/department and its location (city and country)
  • Provide a brief summary of your duties
  • Be clear and precise, stating your actions and their results
  • If you have a lot of non-relevant work experience, consider bundling this together under the heading ‘various part-time positions.’ There is no need to mention the dates and employers for each of these jobs. However, you are more than free to put this information on your LinkedIn profile.
  • If you have done an internship that is relevant for your future position, or if you have done several internships, consider making a separate section for internships. By doing so you draw attention to your professional experience.

Extracurricular activities

In this section it is your time to shine. Voluntary work, board membership or membership of student associations, political party activities, sports clubs etc., they all count. However, and I know I repeat myself, please customize it. Do not apply for a position in humanitarian/NGO work and highlight how you are ambitious and competitive because you were in a political party (The exception may be GroenLinks, but you get the point). Also, extracurricular activities should be listed in the same way (in terms of lay-out) as work experience!


Editor – Sphaera Magazine, The Hague, Netherlands

March 2020- Present

  • Write and edit articles on a monthly basis
  • Developed my time management skills, team-building side, and writing skills

Illustrator – Sphaera Magazine, The Hague, Netherlands

March 2019 – Present

  • Create custom-made illustrations for articles on a monthly basis
  • Developed my skills of communication and graphic design

Head of Submissions – Sphaera Magazine, The Hague, Netherlands

March 2021 – Present

  • Regularly publish articles and their respective artwork on the website
  • Developed my ability to work under pressure and expanded my capability to discuss and mediate with fellow members


You can mention language skills if they are relevant for the job you are applying for. My advice is to put tangible skills here.





Adobe Illustration


Your hobbies can help to determine the first impression you make on a potential employer. They can also be used as icebreakers during internship/job interviews. So make sure to mention any activities that show you have some personality.



Playing piano for 6 months (self-taught) → you show that you are willing to learn something independently and outside of your comfort zone!

References available upon request

Not obligatory. Use this term instead of just ‘References’ because this way the person recommending you can get a heads up. 

  • Write their first name and surname 
  • Their job title
  • Institution where they work
  • Do not state an email address or phone number

When a professor, tutor, or employer is willing to write a positive testimonial on you, this could be provided in a separate document. But the structure for a recommendation letter is for another time.

Everything I have written here is an amalgam of information I found online, at student fairs, Leiden Career Zone, and advice from friends who are working. I do not take credit for creating it from scratch. It is my current framework and I thought sharing it might be helpful for fellow students who do not know where to start. 

Good luck with your future applications!

Edited by Karolina Hajna, artwork by Oscar Laviotte