Think of your resume as your first impression with the W. P. Carey admissions committee. It’s often the first document a committee will see when reviewing applications, so your resume should reflect who you are while being thorough but readable, professional, and error-free.
Here are some tips to help you build a winning resume for your grad school application:
1 – Start off Strong
If you had just 30 seconds to tell a recruiter about yourself, what would you say? That’s the purpose of a qualifications summary. You want it to be concise and compelling while persuading the reader (in this case, the admissions committee) to read the rest your resume instead of quickly moving on to the next candidate. In addition to a brief description of your skills and achievements, the qualifications summary gives you a chance to describe your personality, letting the admissions committee see a little bit of the person behind the application.
2 – Highlight Your More Recent Accomplishments
Positions you held in college or shortly thereafter are more likely to have been entry-level. Therefore, since you’re dealing with limited space, include more detailed information about your most recent positions and achievements. If you have fewer than five years of professional experience, begin with your educational background and then discuss your work experience.
3 – Stay on Point
While it’s great to showcase all you can bring to the program and your key accomplishments, it’s just as important to remember that this is a summary, not a biography. If you feel like a section or the whole resume is too long – it probably is.
4 – Keep It Readable
Your application resume should not exceed two pages and it should include:
- Job titles and positions held, key responsibilities and accomplishments for each position, and salary history
- Honors, awards, certificates, professional organizations, volunteer activities and community involvement
- Computer skills, multilingual abilities and overseas travel or work experience
- Academic background, including schools attended and degrees earned
In order to help your resume stand out, make sure it’s easy to read. Use a minimum of a 10pt font size, provide enough space between sections and job descriptions, and limit yourself to four bullet points for the most recent and most important accomplishments and no more than two bullets for everything else. Keeping it simple will bring out the most relevant aspects of your experiences.
5 – Find Another Set of Eyes
While you should edit it a few times yourself, having someone (and even more than one) proofread your resume is a good idea for two reasons:
As an outsider, they might spot an error or see something confusing that you have overlooked
- Their reaction can tell you a great deal about the impression your resume makes, and their feedback can be instrumental in helping you finalize a winning resume
- Friends, co-workers and family members make good proofreaders because they know your background and can help you identify strengths you might have taken for granted. Make sure to have it proofread over and over and over!