The application process for graduate school is not a simple one; you will need to prepare the necessary documents (e.g., your bachelor’s degree statement, transcript, recommendation letters) and you might need to take the GRE or GMAT or certain language proficiency examinations.
Graduate school entrance is also extremely competitive as you may be competing with students from different countries for a spot. With all the paperwork you need to prepare, you might overlook the importance of your graduate school resume.
A graduate school resume is a document that provides more information on your suitability for the program that you’ve applied for. It is similar to a job search resume in many ways but also contains major differences because of its purpose. We will discuss the essence of a great grad school CV in this article.
The first step when writing a resume for a graduate school application is researching your desired school and program. Different schools and programs may have different requirements that you need to fulfill to be considered by the admission committee.
💡 Tips: It’s a good idea to build a graduate school list consisting of your dream schools and safety schools and outline the admission requirements to ensure that you don’t miss any documents and to increase your application efficiency.
As similar as they are, a job search resume will ultimately differ from a graduate school resume, with the former being focused more on your relevant skills and experience. The latter, though, will mainly focus more on your educational background and accomplishments.
There are three options to choose from for your graduate resume format: chronological, functional (or skill-based), and combination (hybrid version of the chronological and functional format).
However, as mentioned prior, with a grad school CV, you are aiming to highlight your educational background and accomplishments. Thus, it would be better for you to choose a format that doesn’t focus much on employable skills.
These online references may not exactly suit your situation, but you can refer to the way they word their details, the way their grad school CVs are structured, etc., and adopt it as your own.
⚠ Reminder: Do not simply copy and paste the contents as they may contain some mistakes and/or may not apply to you.
Chances are, you are going to apply to more than one school and major. Your grad school CV should not be a “one-size fit all” CV. Different schools and programs will focus on different aspects of your academic background and achievements; to increase your chances of moving on to the next step of the application, ensure that you tailor your master’s degree resume accordingly.
After you’ve finished writing your CV for grad school, the final step would be to proofread your entire resume to ensure that your graduate school resume is error-free.
A master’s degree resume with careless mistakes will not inspire confidence in the recruiting committee, so ensure that you don’t jeopardize your chances by skipping over this crucial step.
Your graduate school resume should begin with a resume header, where the admission committee can quickly and briefly know who you are. Here, you should put your name, your contact info, and your resume title.
Unlike a typical resume objective, a graduate school resume objective should highlight how your experiences can help you succeed in a highly selective master’s program.
To do this, your resume objective should convince the admission committee how your qualities (experience, skills, etc.) can contribute to your academic success if you were to be admitted to the program.
Graduate school resume objective examples:
This is a section within your graduate application resume that the admission committee would put a lot of weight on. They would be most likely to look at this section first, your previous educational institution, your major, and your academic performance will shape the committee’s perception of you.
Here, you should include your previous:
Graduate program resume education examples:
📍 In progress
M.S.E. in Computer Science (in progress) | Princeton University
📍 Before starting (i.e., when applying)
B.S. in Finance | University of California-Los Angeles
Graduation: June 2019
📍 Incomplete (i.e., change of schools, programs)
New York University
2017-2018: Completed 18 credits towards M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education
In most job search resumes; work experience is one of the most crucial aspects for recruiters. In the case of a graduate school resume, however, this is not the case. Still, you shouldn’t forego not including your previous work experience, especially if they relate to the program that you’re applying to.
Although not all graduate programs require prior work experience, there are some (such as MBAs) that will require applicants to possess a certain length of work experience before their candidacy be considered to advance to the next step of the admission process.
💡 Tips: If you have taken some academic time off, and you have relevant work experience before, including it in your grad school CV can help illustrate your qualifications.
Here, you should include:
Graduate school resume work experience examples:
ABC Tech Inc.
Jan. 2017 – Dec. 2019
The skills for your graduate school resume will differ slightly from a normal job search skills section; it won’t be as comprehensive as a normal resume as the main focus of a grad school CV will still be your academic history.
However, like a typical resume, you should still list out your relevant skills and abilities. Some programs might require you to possess a specific set of skills for you to achieve academic success (e.g., language, leadership skills, research).
Your graduate school resume skills can also indicate to the committee if you would be able to complete the extensive projects that are usually a part of graduate programs.
Extracurricular activities don’t only serve a social purpose, it can also help you develop skills that can be useful in your everyday and professional life. They can also add more flair to your graduate application resume and highlight your capabilities for the admission committee to see.
Here, you should include the name of the organization you were a part of, membership dates and any roles (leadership or representative,) and the responsibilities you held.
Graduate school CV extracurricular activities examples:
Debate and Speech Club
2012 – 2014
If you’ve received an award and honors such as fellowship, scholarship, or any academic and industry-related ones, you should add it to your graduate application resume.
These accolades can boost your candidacy by showcasing your academic talents and abilities and in turn, can help convince the admission committee of your potential and ability to succeed if you were to be admitted into the program.
Graduate program resume awards and honors examples:
B.A. in Business Administration
University of California-Los Angeles
Your hobbies and interests that align with the program are a great way to showcase your passion and enthusiasm. Relevant hobbies and interests demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the program context and can also indicate your skills to the committee.
CakeResume provides the best graduate school resume templates & examples for talents to demonstrate your qualifications. Let us help you land the dream with a strong graduate school resume (free download)!
Different schools will have different requirements or may focus on different aspects of your master’s degree resume. Ensure that you customize your grad school CV for every school and program you apply to for better results.
With how competitive the selection process will be, you want to ensure that you stand out from other applicants to increase your chances of landing a spot.
To do so, you would want to identify what makes you unique as a graduate school candidate and clearly highlight and showcase them in your grad school CV to impress the admission committee.
Describe your academic achievements in your graduate school resume quantitatively (in the form of numbers) instead of in a qualitative form. This can highlight your accomplishments and make them seem more apparent and more convincing.
Action verbs can help the admission committee to form a clearer picture of who you are as a candidate. Using proper action verbs in your graduate school resume can help you stand out from other candidates.
Unlike a job search resume, your education section would be of bigger weight in your graduate application resume. Your prior educational achievements and experience can help the admission committee estimate your capabilities for academic success in your applied program.
Ensure that you position your education section before your work experience section in your master’s degree resume.
As with job search resumes, keep your graduate school application resume within two pages long (unless you've had a significant number of related accolades, research papers, awards, etc.). Any longer than that will make your graduate school resume seem to be verbose.
Keep your grad school CV as professional and clean as possible. Choosing the wrong font can entirely ruin your graduate school resume.
You can either stick to the classic fonts (i.e., Times New Roman, Arial) to play it safe, or you can choose other fonts that are easy-to-read but won’t stand out too much such as Roboto, Cambria, Verdana, Lato, or Helvetica.
Chances are, you can find plenty of great graduate school resume template in Word but this doesn’t mean you should submit it in .doc or .docx format. When Word formats are viewed on different devices or different Word versions, it may mess up your graduate school resume format.
Unless specified otherwise, submit your graduate school resume in PDF form as it will stay the same no matter the device.
Detail-oriented market development manager specializing in the tech industry
Graduated magna cum laude majoring in business administration with a minor in marketing. Aspiring to pursue an MBA degree from the prestigious Cornell University to expand my knowledge on all aspects of business, especially marketing management.
Market Developer Manager
Green Hill Tech.
Nov. 2018 – Present
Glendale Tech Inc.
Jan. 2015 – Oct. 2016
July 2015 – May 2018
July 2014 – June 2017
B.B.A. in Business Administration
University of California-Los Angeles
Honors: Magna cum laude (GPA: 4.1/4.3)
Award: Winner of The Global Case Competition at Harvard (2017), Dean’s List (2016, 2017)
--- Originally written by Patricia Rosita ---