Difference Between CV, Statement of Purpose, and Profile

4 minute read
Difference Between CV, Statement of Purpose, and Profile

So, you are a Study Abroad aspirant? The program you choose, and the destination you zero in on, are all important decisions. Remember that the university you choose should be the best fit for YOU. The external ‘rankings’ are less important ! (See my Blog about (Tips on how to choose the best Destinations for Study Abroad). Ok, so once you have a plan, then comes the fundamental issue of putting together the Application materials. As you would know, Study Abroad Applications are far more detailed and complex compared to the simple applications you may have filled for institutions in India. Let us understand the differences between the CV Statement of Purpose and Profile in this blog.

Study Abroad is a different kettle of fish! It requires several components in your application to showcase different aspects of you. You need to project: – 

  • WHO you are 
  • WHAT you have done 
  • HOW do you imagine your future?
  • WHY do you want to enroll at that University/ for that course?
  • HOW will that study program fulfill your ambitions? 
  • WHAT would you ideally do after that degree? 

All of this projection needs to be conveyed through different components. Is the CV or resume ( enough? Not at all! ( By the way, ‘Bio-data’—is an outdated term, so don’t use it !) The different components include the CV and also may require you to write a Statement of Purpose and create a composite Profile. In short, the ‘CV’, ‘Statement of Purpose’ and ‘Profile’ are not the same thing!

CV (Curriculum Vitae)

The CV is your resume a straightforward chronological list of your academic qualifications, professional certifications, and possibly other extra-curricular activities. It is usually organized in the ‘backward’ chronological order: begin with what you are doing now and go back to High School. Your CV should have clear sections like Education’, ‘Professional Experience’, ‘Voluntary Work Experience’, ‘Internships’, ‘Certifications’etc. The CV is a Static document. The different sections of a CV describe what you have DONE (studied/ worked/learned)

Must Read: What is Career Design?

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

The Statement of Purpose (which many overseas universities require), is different. The SOP is like an essay about what your vision is for yourself. Here are the questions which your SOP should answer: 

  • What do you want to achieve? 
  • Is there a reason that you have that dream or that ambition? 
  • Why do you want to enroll at that university? 
  • Does the particular program of study which you are applying for, connect with the dreams you have for your future? 
  • If accepted to that program, what value will you gain? 
  • Finally, how do you hope to add value to that university program if you are admitted there? 

Tip 1. Your SOP gives you the chance to speak about your previous exposure, your cultural diversity, or your passion for any of the ideals which the university has described in its Mission statement. 

Tip 2. So research the university and show in your SOP how your values align with what the university is offering. DO THAT RESEARCH !!!!

Personal Statement

This is similar to SOP. For some differences see the Slide below. 

Also Read: How To Prepare For Study Abroad First Semester? 


The Profile is different from both the CV as well as the SOP. The Profile is a composite view of who you are – as a student, professional, or person. It gives the reader the best possible idea of what you value professionally and personally, your strength of character, your resilience when confronted with failure, courage in the face of challenge, independence in decision-making, and maturity in handling difficult human interactions. As a Professor or Admissions professional, when I look at your profile, I don’t need a list of your achievements. That is in the CV. In the Profile, I need to see a connection between what your CV tells me and what your SOP describes as your ‘purpose’ and your ambitions for the future. In addition, I want to see in your Profile how your experiences, challenges, successes, or setbacks have shaped you—as a person. A Profile should tell me what you care about and how you might deal with difficult situations. 

Tip: Profile-building is a Process. You cannot just sit down and write your Profile in one afternoon! 

So, what do you need? You will need to build it by reflecting on your previous life experiences, to show how those experiences have shaped you. Profile-Writing is a special skill. It needs time and reflection. In a future blog, I will give you “Tips to Ace your Profile-Building”.We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr.Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you. 

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