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How to Write a Resume for Graduate School


You may need to submit a resume with your application. Understand that your resume for graduate school differs from the one you use to apply for jobs.

So, you need a resume for graduate school. Where do you start? While you sort out of your undergraduate transcript, standardized test results, and personal statement, think about things to include in your grad school resume. Don’t make the mistake of sending the resume you have on file — specifically, the document you use to apply for jobs. Recognize that your grad school admissions resume will differ from your professional resume in a few key ways. Keep these four instructions in mind as you craft your resume for graduate school. Good luck!

Forget structuring rules (almost)

A professional resume will typically be divided into standard universal categories, including “education,” “work experience,” and “special skills.” But for your graduate school resume, you can toss these categories out and structure your resume with more freedom. You may decide to include a section that highlights the courses you’ve taught in the past. You can include a section for your recent publications. You can list your academic awards and accomplishments in one section then include your community service activities in another. Don’t feel bound to any specific subheadings; use only the ones that can help you make your case. Consider your area of study while you do so.

Avoid redundancy

Though you have the freedom to choose your own subheadings, try not to repeat information that will appear elsewhere in your application. For example, don’t simply list and describe your courses and grades; your readers can find this information in your transcripts. Your resume represents an opportunity. Use every line to show off your talents and unique attributes.

Your resume for graduate school can be longer

A standard professional resume should be limited to one page (unless you’re at the executive level). Your resume for graduate school, however, can be a full two pages. Take all the space you need, within reason.

Language matters

Regardless of the academic program you choose to pursue, all graduate admissions committees like to see evidence of strong writing skill. You need to present your case and describe your academic readiness in clear, concise terms, using a high language register that will assure your readers that you are ready for the rigors of higher level inquiry. Don’t blow smoke or use fifty-cent words inappropriately (your readers will see right through that). But do make it clear that you understand rhetorical principles and you know how to present and support complex arguments. It goes without saying, but poor grammar, typos, text speak, and teenage slang will hurt your chances. Remember that this is a resume for graduate school; therefore, it’s a valuable document. Treat it as such.

Your graduate school resume will support your application package by rounding out a complete picture of who you are, what you’ve done in the past, and where you hope to take your studies and your career in the future. Don’t miss a chance to shine. For more on how to leverage your resume to your advantage, use the resources and guidelines available on Livecareer.