What Does a Graduate School Resume Look Like?
Imagine that all the parts of a grad school application are puzzle pieces. When put together, they should make up a complete picture of who you are as a student, employee, future professional and person, as a whole. These pieces include your personal statement, letters of recommendation, test scores, transcripts, statement of purpose, and your grad school resume (or CV), the place to list your accomplishments, goals and accolades.
However, it's important to remember that each resume should be tailored to each program you're applying to. There's no one size fits all here.
Your opening statement
State your reasons for wanting to go to this particular school and program and what you plan to do with your degree once you graduate. You can mention things like the quality or reputation of the school and/or program, as well as what specific type of work you plan to do once you've completed your degree. It's also beneficial to acknowledge the research work that the program is conducting and how that synchronizes with your goals and experience.
Research the program's website to determine what kind of experience or skills they are looking for and highlight those in your resume. For example, if you're getting a master's in psychology and you worked at a drug rehabilitation treatment facility, highlight that experience over less relevant things. You should still include less relevant experience as it also highlights general qualities such as time management, commitment and other traits that a program recruiter wants to see in a successful candidate.
You've got skills, show them off
In addition to your experience, recruiters want to see what kind of skills you have that are relevant to the program to which you're applying. This is where computer skills, organizational skills or field related skills such as marketing, event planning or financial investing should be highlighted. Also make sure you emphasize other essential qualities such as oral and written communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving. These are skills that are useful no matter what field of study or job you are pursuing. If you can provide examples of how you implemented these skills, even better.
Education is the key
While a resume for employment will mainly focus on work experience, a grad school resume is going to focus on your educational experience. This isn't just a listing of classes you've taken and degrees you've received. Highlight your accomplishments and awards in your educational career thus far. Include:
- any research projects you participated in that received attention
- honors you received from previous institutions
- any kind of writings or research with particular relevance to the graduate field of study you're pursuing, and more specifically to the program to which you are applying
Putting the pieces together
It's helpful to look at samples of grad school resumes to guide you. There are many examples and templates out there to follow if that's something that works for you.
Think of a grad school resume like any other resume — you want to showcase the best parts of your education, work and relevant out-of-classroom experience. As you submit all the pieces of your application puzzle, the final picture should present the best version of you as a successful and qualified candidate for your targeted grad school program.