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How To Build A Resume For Graduate School

Pick The Ideal Resume Layout

How to Write a Resume for College Students | Step by Step Video

The hard part is over. Youve written your resume, and are feeling confident about getting that interview. Now its time to take a moment and consider your resumes design.

Depending on the industry you work in or the job you want, you may need to adjust your resume layout to fit the expectations of the hiring manager.

Research And Teaching Experience

For candidates applying to MA programs, this section may not be as applicable. Its mostly for those who are going into Ph.D. programs and worked part-time as a teaching assistant for one of their professors.

Also,if you took part in any research projects as a team member, include it in this section.

Look at the examples below:

Grad School ResumeExamples of Research & Teaching Experience


  • Conducted surveys and analyzed results for senior professors grant project.

The ability to work as a team member on such a project would be essential experience as an academicand is bound to boost your profile.

Plan The Structure And Layout

Before you start writing, you need to decide how youll organize the information. Which sections you include, and in which order, depends on your experience and the program you are applying to.

If youre applying for a research-focused program in the sciences, social sciences or humanities, emphasize your academic skills and achievements. Awards, publications, grants, fellowships, and teaching experience should take center stage. If you dont have many academic achievements yet, you can focus on your courses, grades, and research interests.

If youre applying to a professionally-focused program, youll probably want to emphasize your work experience and practical skills. Internships, jobs, and voluntary work should all be included.

Keep the layout clean and simple. Make sure all headings are the same size and font, and use text boxes or dividing lines to separate the sections.

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Create A Clear Education Section

Having a clear education section is essential for your resume, especially if youre a recent college graduate or have minimal work experience.

If you lack professional experience but have a good track record in school , your education section should be highly detailed to highlight all of your education-related accomplishments.

On the other hand, if you possess more than a few years of professional experience, then its appropriate to keep your education section short and sweet.

Additionally, if youre a student or recent graduate, list your education section above the experience section of your resume. This way, you emphasize your most marketable qualifications at the top of the page.

Here are the main points to include in a standard education section:

  • The names of your university, community college, or technical school
  • Location of the schools
  • Date of graduation
  • Degree
  • GPA

Additionally, include relevant coursework on your resume if youre a recent graduate and dont have much work experience yet.

Here are two examples demonstrating how to format your education section:

Use The Best Graduate School Resume Format

Sample Resume Graduate Student / College Graduate Resume ...

Heres the thingrequirements differ depending on the program youre applying to.

Most graduate programs weve come across dont require a resume. Some do, but the majority of time, they are optional.

Even if its optional, its best to include a resume or a CV for graduate school, regardless of whether youre applying to an MA program or Ph.D. program.


Academic counselors are flooded with applications. Grad school resumes are a quick and easy way for them to see your profile in one document. No need to hunt down proof of your extracurricular activities.

Butyour resume format needs to look clean and clear from first glance. Heres how:

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Formatting Tips For Your College/graduate Cv

Remember that no matter how compelling the content of your CV is, if it isnt well organized and easy for admissions committee members to read, they probably wont bother reading through all of your notable achievements and skills. Keep these formatting and organization tips in mind when composing and revising your CV:

  • Keep your formatting choicessuch as indentation, font and text size, spacing, and grammarconsistent throughout the document.
  • Use bolding, italics, underlining, and capitalized words to highlight key information.
  • Use reverse chronological order to list your experiences within the sections.
  • Include the most important information to the top and left of each entry and place associated dates to the right.
  • Include page numbers on each page followed by your last name as a header or footer.

Write A Detailed Education Section

Your resume education section is one of the most important parts of a graduate school application because it gives hiring committees an overview of your educational achievements and background.

To put together an impressive education section, include the following information about your qualifications:

  • Name of university or college
  • College location
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine

Heres an example of what internship experience on a resume looks like in a relevant experience section:

Internship Experience on a Grad School Resume

Material Express

Risk Management Intern / New York / June 2018-May 2019

  • Built a database of airline frequent flyer program features for a major US carrier.
  • Conducted primary research with seven important industry stakeholders about factors affecting airline profitability.
  • Developed financial models along with three other employees for a start-up in the aviation sector.

Volunteer experience demonstrates your commitment to serve society and highlights some of the skills you possess.

Below is an example of how someone with strong volunteer experience lists it on their resume for grad school:

Volunteer Work on a Grad School Resume

ABC Retirement Home

Volunteer Elder Care Worker / California / June 2018-July 2019

The Humane Society of the United States

Volunteer Worker / California / September 2017-May 2018

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Sample Graduate School Resume Templatecv Sections

  • Skills & Abilities
  • References

Expert Hint: Last year, humanities and social science programs acceptance rate for MA and Ph.D. programs ranged from 513%. With such low acceptance rates, youll need to make sure your application documents are formatted to perfection so counselors focus on your merit.

Include Your Volunteer Service

This One Trick Will Make Your College Resume Stand Out

Too often, graduate students forget the importance of including volunteer service on their CVs, says Elizabeth Morgan, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Springfield College who has written about CV preparation. Mentoring new graduate students or working at a local soup kitchen, for example, speaks to your commitment to the field or the community.

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Tips For A Successful Graduate School Resume

  • Tailor your resume to the program youre applying for. When top applicants apply for new jobs, they go back to their resume and make edits to optimize it for the position theyre hoping to land. Successful graduate school applicants do the same. Every graduate program emphasizes different skills and experiences.

    Make sure your resume aligns with the programs requirements and ideal candidate profile by highlighting relevant qualities.

  • Its okay to speak highly of your accomplishments. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of speaking freely on all their outstanding accomplishments because they worry it makes them out to be conceited.

    While you should maintain a humble attitude when discussing your achievements , its recommended to get into the nitty-gritty of what youve done well in the past in a resume.

    The purpose of a graduate school resume is to impress an admissions team, and thats done by writing about your accomplishments thoroughly.

  • Use crisp, concise language. Start your bullet points with strong action verbs. Never include the words I, me, my, or mine in your resume. Use as few words as possible and embrace white space.

  • Bonus Section: Research Groups And Publications

    You can add research groups and publications under the education or experience section, depending on when and where you participated in the groups or published your work.

    However, if you have a fair number of items to showcase, you may want to list them in a separate section. That way, you will draw more attention to your research skills. And this may be important if the school youre applying to has a strong research emphasis or if your objective is to become a biomedical researcher. To learn if the school to which you are applying values research experience, be sure to check out their program description and mission statement. Demonstrating strong research background is especially important if youre applying to MD-PhD programs.

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    Comparing A Resume & Curriculum Vitae


    A marketing tool, a summary of your experiences.

    • Highlight of professional accomplishments
    • Less class and academic focused
    • Can be customized to fit each position during the job search

    Curriculum Vitae

    A detailed overview of academic accomplishments.

    • Academically focused
    • Highlights courses, research, teaching experience, publications, presentations, and conferences
    • Showcases skills

    Highlight Skills You Learned As An Undergraduate

    College Graduate Resume Template Unique Graduate School ...

    You dont need formal work experience to show admissions committees you have a strong set of skills. Use your resume skills section to highlight the hard and soft skills you acquired as an undergrad that seem applicable to graduate school.

    Through your coursework, part-time work, and extracurricular activities, youve likely acquired a variety of transferable skills, such as:

    Hard Skills

    • Proficiency in one or more foreign language

    Most Recent Title or Project Name

    Employer or School Name / Location / Start Date End Date

    • Include a bulleted list of your accomplishments
    • Make sure you quantify these bullet points

    Most Recent Title or Project Name

    Employer or School Name / Location / Start Date End Date

    • List key accomplishments from an earlier position, internship, or project
    • Assuming you no longer actively perform this job or project, make sure you use past tense verbs to describe your experience

    5. Skills

    Highlight your relevant professional skills. If you dont know what the hiring manager is looking for, try reading through the job requirements and pairing your own abilities with ones in the description.

    6. Additional Resume Section

    Heres where you can add any other information relevant to your background.

    This section could highlight publications, languages, volunteer experience, community service, professional associations you belong to, or any training or certifications.

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    Recent High School Grad Resume Format

    Expert Hint: Recruiters spend about 7 seconds initially scanning a resume. Make sure yours is formatted in a way that highlights all the important stuff in very little time.

    Start Early And Keep Updating It

    A CV is a working document, so try to update your CV every semester to make sure you don’t forget any accomplishments. “In the first or second year of graduate school, a CV will probably be somewhat depressing because it is so bare,” says Morgan, “but it can help you identify opportunities and experiences that you need to include to be a competitive candidate.”

    Brendan L. Smith is a journalist in Washington, D.C.

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    Dont Underestimate What You Have To Offer

    Often students get discouraged when they come to the realization that they havent won any awards, published any articles or participated in any presentations. The optional sections are a great way to fill in any gaps and showcase a variety of different skills or experiences you may have.

    Ready to apply to graduate schools? Check out our blog on the top 12 tips for applying to graduate school.

    Tip #: Showcase Your Skills

    Resume’ Tips for Graduate School

    Your resumé should include a skills section that highlights technologies, skills, and other competencies relevant to the graduate program youre applying to, Pierce says.

    If youre applying to the Master of Science in Computer Science program, for example, your resumé should list the programming languages you know , computer applications youve used, and software or systems that youre experienced in.

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    How To Structure Your Resume

    Your first resume with no work experience may include the following sections:

    • Title: contact information and desired position.
    • Brief information: career goals or objective.
    • Education: degrees and academic achievements .
    • Trainings and certificates
    • Skills
    • About myself

    You will not only need this resume You will need a cover letter as well. See our small guide on how to write one.

    Stand out from your competitors. Read each section of this guide and start writing. Just because you are a student, do not be discouraged! The resume for your first job as a student will look very professional!

    Expert Tips For Writing A Grad School Resum

    Congratulations! Youre investing in your future by applying to grad school. The application is complete, youve gathered your recommendations, and youre working on developing another important componentyour resumé.

    Your grad school resumé is an integral piece of the admissions process, says Jared Pierce, associate director of enrollment quality assurance at Northeastern University. Admissions counselors rely on resumés as an assessment of the student, his or her strengths, work experience, skills, education, and interests, he says, to help them decide whether a prospective student is a good fit for the program.

    Your grad school resumé is similar in many ways to a resumé youd submit as part of a job application: You should use crisp language to describe your experiences, a clean and organized layout to make it easy to read, and it should be free from typos and grammar errors. But theyre different, too: Grad school resumés should emphasize your education, work and volunteer experience, and specific skills relevant to the particular program youre applying to.

    Were interested in a students background and how its relevant to the program he or she wants to enroll in, Pierce says. If theyre enrolling in a communications program, for example, were interested to see whether theyre coming from a social media background or a marketing background, and how that experience applies to what theyre looking for in grad school.

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    Tips For Writing An Effective Resume For A Recent College Graduate

    Emphasize education. As a recent college graduate, your education is one of your strongest assets. Include an Education section towards the top of your resume. Include the college you attended, your graduation date, and your major and minor. If you have a strong GPA, include that as well. You might also include any study abroad experiences. Most employers see a well-traveled student as a plus.

    Highlight any related experience. If you have any work experience, include this. However, you can also include any other relevant experience. This might include volunteer experience, unpaid internships, or positions in school organizations. Even if these are unpaid positions, they can still display the qualities that will make you a strong candidate for a job opening.

    Use resume examples. When writing your first resume out of college, it can be hard to know where to start. Examples can give you ideas on how to structure your resume and what kind of language to include. Check out these student resume samples, as well as the sample below. However, make sure to always revise an example to fit your own background and experience.

    Edit, edit, edit. Thoroughly proofread your resume for spelling and grammar errors before submitting it. Also make sure your format is consistent: for example, you should use the same size bullet points throughout your resume. Ask a friend, family member, or college career counselor to read through your resume as well.

    Skill Types For Graduates And High School Students

    Free 9 Sample Graduate School Resume Templates In Pdf Ms ...

    Your resume may include skills that you have acquired in school, in extracurricular activities, in sports and volunteering. For example, if you played soccer, basketball, or other sports, you have teamwork skills. You were captain? You have leadership qualities.

    Did you attend a computer class or learn programs? You have computer skills. Almost everyone has some level of communication skills. If you can keep up the conversation, speak in front of the class, or defend an essay at school, you have written/verbal communication skills.

    When you successfully maneuver between personal demands and study, you are flexible. Have you worked on a group project? You have collaboration skills. Did you look after small children? You are reliable.

    Top High School Skills

    The following are examples of skills that almost every high school student has and almost all employers are looking for:

    Communication skills Reliability / ResponsibilityTechnical Skills: Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop

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    Write A Resume Objective For Graduate School

    A strong resume introduction will help you capture the interest of admissions committees and convince them that youre the right candidate for their program. While there are several different types of introductions, a resume objective is the ideal choice for grad school applicants because you can use it to directly target a universitys hiring committee.

    Resume objectives inform committee members about your achievements and goals without focusing heavily on your work history or specific skills .

    A graduate school resume objective is usually two or three sentences long, and should highlight your:

    • undergraduate degree and grades
    • name of the program and university where youre seeking admission

    Heres an example of a well-written graduate school resume objective:

    Undergraduate Economics student with proven leadership and research skills. Six months of international internship experience with the UNHCR. Seeking admission into New York Universitys Masters program in Economics with a specialization in Development Economics.

    Building Your Cv And Resume While In Graduate School

    Photo by C Dustin on Unsplash

    Upon completion of a masters or doctoral program, you will have developed a strong content knowledge in your field, as well as gained a variety of transferable skills. But how else can you prepare yourself for the job market? Regardless of whether you would like to pursue a tenure-track faculty position or a career in industry, there are many steps you can take to begin building your CV or resume while in graduate school that can help your job documents stand out later.

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