If you’re applying for grad school, you probably know you’ll need to submit a resume with your application. Here are three tips to take your resume to the next level.
1. Commit to radical readability. The person looking at your resume has already read about 4 gajillion resumes before yours, and will read 98 bazillion more when they’re done with yours. So make it a pleasure to read. Be professional, but avoid eye-glazers like “passionate,” “team player,” and “detail-oriented.” It’s a show-don’t-tell-situation. Use bullet points, (judicious) bolding, and very short sentences to convey the parts of your experience that are most relevant to the program you’re applying to. And use your voice! Let them see your personality.
2. Think outside the template. Readability and comprehension are central here, but you don’t have to stick to the Google template you found on the second search-results page. Use your sense of artistic expression to create a resume with design elements, flourishes, and flair that give the school a sense of your interests and talents. These can be minimalist and spare; overdoing it is its own crime. (No pressure.)
(TIP! Turn your resume upside-down and re-evaluate how it looks. Dense? Top-heavy? Ugly? Sometimes good formatting alone can help you stand out.)
3. Include the essentials. No need to list your address. Obsoletesville. But do include an email address and LinkedIn profile or a website. If you don't have either, consider making one. These days, personal branding is everything and the most important and obvious place to establish your brand is online. Make it a portfolio of all your work and experience. Even if it’s just one page, with a photo and a list of hobbies or skills, you’ll get yourself ahead of the game.
And that’s it! Don’t be nervous. As with all things in life, you’ll do best when you’re just yourself.