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How to Write a Successful Resume for Grad School

by Basil Phillips, Demand Media

    Resumes are primarily used to document your accomplishments and achievements in order to demonstrate that you are qualified for the position that you are applying for. That is true for both graduate school resumes and non-academic resumes; however, each is done in slightly different ways. While there is no single correct way to write or format a resume, there are some key principles that will help yours to be successful for grad school.

    Similarities

    Like a regular resume, a graduate school resume should be designed to show off your best qualities. Sections covering your education, work experience and relevant skills are essential. Your resume should be concise, but each of those sections should give enough specific detail to help your reviewers determine whether you are a good fit for the position you are applying for. In all these ways, non-academic resumes and graduate school resumes are alike.

    Differences

    There are, however, some key distinctions found in a graduate school resume. First, while resumes for the non-academic world are typically supposed to be short (conventional wisdom says to keep them to a single page), it is normal for graduate school resumes to be several pages long. With that additional space, you should include all important details about your past, especially your academic history. You don't need to limit yourself to one or two brief bullet points.

    Education

    The education section is the most important part of your graduate school resume. Include your full scholastic history. Remember to list any research you have done, all your publications (even in undergraduate journals), any teaching or presentation experience and any grants, honors, or scholarships you have earned. Your key task for a graduate school resume is to demonstrate your potential as a scholar, so show them everything you have achieved.

    Work Experience

    While in many ways work experience is less important than your education distinctions, most graduate programs like to see some "real world" accomplishments as well. If you have not yet held a full-time job, don't worry: That is fairly common. List any part-time jobs, internships or volunteer work that you have done, and try to emphasize leadership roles or other special achievements. List these in chronological order, starting with the most recent.

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    About the Author

    Basil Phillips works as both a columnist and editorial writer for the "Oklahoma Daily." Currently pursuing a double major in history and Arabic at the University of Oklahoma, Phillips specializes in writing about health, history, traveling, languages, video games and education.

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