How to write a resume for grad school?
The first hurdle you encounter when you start applying for a grad school is that they all require you to submit a resume for grad school application.
But hold on!
You don't have any idea how to make a resume for grad school!
You don't know what the differences are between a graduate school resume and a professional resume.
These questions can make it really difficult for you to write a resume for grad school.
But don't worry! Writing a graduate school resume is not that difficult.
In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about writing a resume for grad school.
Here's a summary of the blog:
- Why do you need a resume for grad school
- How graduate school resume is different from other resumes
- What admission committee look for in a grad school resume
- What are the characteristics of a resume for grad school application
- Things to include in your graduate school resume
Why do you need a resume for grad school?
"I'm not applying for a job! Why do I have to create a resume for grad school application?"
This question might come to your mind when you are filling up your grad school application. Ideally, resumes are not only for jobs. Its primary function is to give a brief introduction to your professional or academic background.
Your resume objective for grad school is the same. It helps the school committee understand your academic qualifications.
Grad schools get a lot of student applications each year. They try to sort those applications and select the candidates who are most suitable for the curriculum.
And, graduate school resumes are the best way for candidates to showcase their interests and stand out among other applicants.
In the next part, we will walk you through the things you need to include in your resume for grad school application to get in front of the competition.
Sample grad school resume
To help you understand how a grad school resume looks, we have included a grad school resume sample for you.
Feel free to use the sample to understand the structure of your grad school resume.
If you want to create your grad school resume, go to Online Resume Builder and create one for yourself, or you pick one from our pre-built resume templates.
How does a graduate school resume differ from professional resumes?
Graduate school resumes are similar to professional resumes, but there are many fundamental differences between them. You can not use the same elements of a professional resume in a grad school resume.
Here are a couple of ways a resume for grad school differ from a professional resume:
No strict length restriction
Professional resumes generally stretch between one to two pages. But a grad school resume can extend beyond two pages. This gives the student more space to include their academic achievements and other experiences.
That doesn't mean you can write a novel in your resume. It's still preferable to wrap up your resume within two pages. But it's nice to have the option to add more pages if needed.
Detailed education details
When you're applying for a grad school, you don't have much work experience to show for. So it makes sense to focus on your educational details more.
For example, your graduate school resume should include your GPA, projects, any thesis you've written, any paper you've published, any classes you've taken relevant to your grad school application, etc.
Some grad schools specifically tell what information they need in the graduate school resume to make things easier. Even if they don't, it's a good practice to include detailed academic achievements in your resume.
Importance of internship and volunteer experience
Professional resumes give importance to the past work experience of the candidate. But since grad school applicants don't have full-time work experience, grad schools prioritize candidates' internship and volunteer experience in the graduate school resume.
So, don't shy away from adding all your volunteer and internship experience into your resume.
What admission committee looks for in a grad school resume?
Grad school admission committee gets thousands of applications every year. And they want to make sure they are selecting the right candidate who will be an excellent fit for the grad school program or curriculum.
So, make sure that your resume stands out from thousands of other graduate school resumes.
Here are some characteristics of a standout graduate school resume:
Tailor your resume to the specific program
Add the academic achievements and skills that are important for the program you're applying for. That will give you a higher chance of getting selected for grad school.
Mention your academic details
A rule of thumb for your resume for grad school is to include a detailed academic overview in it. Include your GPA, any academic award you've achieved, or even coursework you've done.
This shows you've been serious with your studies and likely to work hard for your grad school studies as well.
Include internships and volunteer works
If you have a decent internship and volunteer work experience in your resume, it shows the admission committee that you are determined and a hard-working person.
So, don't be afraid to put even the smallest of your internship and volunteer work experience on your grad school resume.
Include your grants or award
If you have received any awards in your undergraduate school or written any grant proposals, include these in your grad school resume.
It looks impressive on your resume and increases your chances of getting selected for grad school.
Make the resume easy to follow
If you search online, you'll see thousands of designed graduate school resume templates available. But often, these designed resume formats are confusing and difficult to read.
Grad school admission committees have to go through hundreds of resumes every day. And they prefer simple formatted resumes that they can understand easily.
So, make sure your resume is well-structured and easy to read.
Format your resume professionally
Do not go for a creative template for your grad school resume. Instead, use a professional resume style. Here are some points for resume format:
- Use sans serif fonts
- Make font size between 10-12 points
- Leave minimum 1-inch margins on all sides
- Use bolded headlines, bullet points to highlight important information
Read this resume format guide to learn more.
Use powerful verbs
Strong verbs get the reader's attention. So, use strong verbs to demonstrate your academic and work experience.
For example, use "Assisted in inventory management for university library" instead of using "worked as an inventory manager in the university library."
Here is a list of power verbs you can use in your resume.
Make sure your resume flows logically
A well-organized resume is easier to read. The grad school admissions committee wants to see that you are organized and know how to present information logically.
Use the reverse chronological resume format to write your information on the resume for grad school. For example, when you give your education information, put the most recent on top, and go in descending order from top to bottom.
Things to include in your graduate school resume
There are no definite guides online to show students what to include in a resume for grad school application.
To be honest, there is no single best way to write your graduate school resume. But, there are simple structures that need to be followed. Here is a list of things that you should include in your resume for grad school:
- Personal information- name address, phone number
- Resume objective
- Research Experience
- Teaching Experience
- Volunteer Work experience
- Honors & Awards
- Professional Affiliations
- Academic Publications
- Skills & Abilities
- Community Involvement
- Extracurricular activities
- Educational Travel
Note: Do not try to use all these sections on your graduate school resume. Use the ones that are relevant to the program you are applying for. The most important thing is to keep everything clear and concise.
Personal information is a standard for resumes. It goes on top of your grad school resume. However, make sure you add just the right amount of information, not too overly personal information on this section, i.e., date of birth, gender, etc.
Here's what you must include in your grad school resume personal information:
- Full name
- Email address
- Mailing address
- Contact number
- Linkedin profile link
Here are some tips for nailing your personal information on resume for grad school:
- Make sure to use a decent email address with your name on it, i.e. email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org
- Give your personal mobile number than the home telephone number
- Make sure to optimize your Linkedin profile and keep everything up-to-date
Use Hiration's LinkedIn Profile Review to prepare your Linkedin profile for graduate school application.
A suitable resume object will help to grab the committee's attention and convince them that you are the right candidate for their program.
The resume objective for grad school should not be more than two or three sentences and focuses majorly on your academic achievement and future goal rather than any specific skills.
Things to include in resume objective:
- Undergraduate degree
- Internship/volunteer experience
- Admission goal
*Undergraduate computer science student (3.95 GPA) with six months software engineer internship experience with AT&T Labs. Seeking admission into Cornell University for a master's in computer science program. *
This is the most important section for your resume for grad school application. It gives the admission committee a clear picture of your academic career and performance.
So put a reasonable effort in writing the education section on your grad school resume, and write it in reverse chronological order.
Here's what you should include in your education qualification:
- Degrees you've achieved
- School/college name with state
- Graduation date (year)
- GPA you scored
- Awards and honors you've achieved
Note: High school degrees are irrelevant for a grad school resume. You can choose not to include it on your resume.
Here's an example of the education section on grad school resume:
Major in Mathematics (B.S)
UCLA, Los Angeles, California
Honors: Magna cum laude
Research and teaching experience
Once you're done with the education section, the next section should address your work experiences. This section can be broken down into research experience, teaching experience, internships, and volunteer work.
Make sure the information you are adding is relevant to the program you are applying for.
Example of research experience:
May 2018- April 2019
Assisted Dr. G. Regts in his research paper "Weighted counting of solutions to sparse systems of equations."
Example of teaching experience:
Laboratory Teacher Assistant
UCLA, Los Angeles, California
March 2018- May 2019
- Assisted and instructed 40 undergrads in organic chemistry laboratory
- Prepare chemical solutions for experiments before each class
- Maintained chemistry laboratory equipment
Don't have many academic achievements or experiences?
Don't worry! You might have internships or volunteer work experience under your belt worth sharing. It shows that you are hard-working and have the dedication to complete the master's program.
Here's what your internship section should look like:
Software Engineer Intern
AT&T Labs, Manhattan, New York
March 2017- September 2017
- Developed software for clients
- Assisted in testing new software for clients
- Collaborated with beta testers and improved existing software
Your volunteer experience addresses your commitment towards society and also addresses your skills.
Here's what your volunteer experience section should look like:
Volunteer experience Example:
XYZ Volunteer Teacher Program, California
June 2018- May 2019
- Manages a class of 40 students
- taught English, Mathematics, and Science
Honors, awards, or grants
Having a study grant, scholarship, or teaching assistantship is an incredible achievement in your academic career. And it looks impressive on a resume for grad school application.
You can arrange this section by importance. That means the most important achievement goes first, followed by the rest of the achievements.
Make sure you don't repeat the same honors and awards mentioned in the education section. Also, make sure to add the award name, providing organization, and date of receiving on the graduate school resume.
Alan Moore Memorial Scholarship, University of Prince Edward Island, 2018
Honors & awards
Dean’s list for 2018 & 2019, UCLA, California
Affiliations & memberships
If you are a part of any affiliated professional body or a member of any professional group, you can add it to your resume for graduate school. Make sure to include:
- Name of the organization
- City and state
- Your title
- Affiliation/membership timeline
Note: Only include the membership you are currently part of—no need to include past memberships or affiliations.
Have you published any article, paper, or book anywhere? If you have, add those to your resume.
Note: Ask your prospective graduate school for the correct citation format to follow. Also, bold your name to put emphasis on it.
Here is an example of the Publication section on your grad school resume:
2019, John S, Trever C., "Optofluidics: Basics, Devices, and Applications" University of California Press. March 2019.
If it's possible, include a couple of references on your resume for graduate school. If you've already included your references on the grad school application, no need to add them to the resume. Here are things to include in the reference section:
- Reference name
- Their professional designation
- Their contact information
Example of reference section on grad school resume:
Professor, Department of Physics
University of California
Skills & abilities
Through your undergraduate degree, internships, volunteer works, you have developed a lot of useful skills. Use the skills and abilities section on your resume to highlight those skills that are relevant to your graduate school application.
However, the importance of certain skills depends on the program you are applying for.
For example, if you apply for a master's in mathematics, your coding skills will not be relevant to the program. Keep that in mind, when adding your skills to the resume.
Add the most relevant skills at first and least relevant skills at last.
Skills & abilities
- Matico lab
- Coding language: Java
- Language: Spanish
Fluency in another language is an impressive addition to a grad school resume. Usually, it's included in the skill section, but if that language is essential for the program you are applying for, highlight it in a separate section.
If you have worked in any leadership position, add it to your resume. It projects your leadership skills.
MBA Insider's blog, UCLA, California
May 2017- April 2018
- Managed a team of 10 student writers
- Increased organic traffic by 20% YoY
Grad school does not look for only academic excellence. They want a candidate with broad exposure to different areas. In this extracurricular activities section, you can include various types of activities you have done.
For example, if you are a music player and have been a part of your university music club, you can add it to this section.
Music Club of UCLA
June 2017- April 2019
- Composed songs for UCLA band "Voice of the Moon."
- Taught guitar to 20+ students
Have you been to another country for educational or research purposes? If so, add that to your resume for grad school application. It shows that you are interested in personal development and have exposure in different cultures.
Things to include:
- Name of the country
- Date of trip
- Purpose of trip
South Africa, June-October,2019
Conducted research for the "Sustainability of Livestock Farming in South Africa" paper.
Hopefully, you have got all the answers you needed for your graduate school resume. To sum it up, here are the key takeaways:
- Unlike a professional resume, resume for grad school focus on academic experience more
- Your graduate school resume must be tailored to the graduate program you are applying for
- Use reverse chronological order to format your graduate school resume
- Use a simple format to create resume for grad school
- Do not include overly personal details on your graduate school resume
- Include your research, teaching experience, internship, and volunteer experience to showcase your skills
- Give emphasis on awards, grants, extracurricular activities, publications, etc.
With that, we have come to the end of this blog. If you want to create your graduate school resume, head over to Hiration Online Resume Builder, and get your resume in minutes.
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