Oh, the resume. How do you distill all your professional and academic wisdom into a handful of bullet points that fit on one page? You don’t. Think of your resume as a movie trailer- it piques audience interest with juicy detail, but it doesn’t give it all away.
How do you come up with juicy details?
Keep it to one page. Unless you have decades of experience with many employers, a one page resume forces you to only hit the high notes at each role.
How do you hit the high notes?
Instead of listing responsibilities, list accomplishments. If you state that you increased sales by 20%, the reader is both impressed by your achievement, and sees that you sold things. Double score. Quantifying your accomplishments (“increased sales by 20%” vs. “increased sales”) is a great way to demonstrate the impact you have had on an organization.
Think about new projects in which you’ve been a participant or leader. Pushing new efforts shows leadership and initiative which are two key characteristics any admissions office wants to see. If you are early in your career, odds are you have an internship or volunteer experience that was intended to start or further a new project.
Don’t discount volunteer experience
When working on a professional resume, applicants may discount or omit volunteer work thinking that employers may not care about this kind of experience. Graduate schools do care because it is another way that you can showcase your drive and ability to initiate positive change. Don’t leave it off!
Remember, the resume is the foot-in-the-door. It’s OK if one page does not reflect the full depth and breadth of your professional life. Trust that you will be asked to elaborate on your resume in the interview. That’s where you will have space to provide context and detail around your work and achievements. Your polished, error-free resume gets the reader thinking about you and wanting to know more.
Want more application tips? Stay tuned to future posts or make an appointment for a one-on-one consult.