How To Write A Graduate School Resume (With Examples)

By Sky Ariella and Experts - Aug. 25, 2021

Although resumes are often associated with pursuits in a career, you’ll also need one when applying to graduate school. A graduate school resume will serve a similar function as a professional one, which is to catch the reader’s attention as a promising candidate.

Learning how to write an effective and concise graduate school resume is a crucial part of the higher education application process.

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What Is a Graduate School Resume?

A graduate school resume is a brief and organized description of an applicant’s background, skills, education, and any other aspects that would make them qualified for admission. It’s submitted along with an application to provide all the information that an admissions committee will need in contained space.

Graduate school resumes are used to evaluate many potential candidates easier by establishing a bullet-point list of their characteristics.

Including a graduate school resume in your application package illustrates who you are, what your experience is, and why you should be submitted to the program neatly on a single page.

How to Write a Graduate School Resume in 6 Steps

Writing a graduate school resume can be confusing for many people; should it be more similar to a school application or a professional resume? The perhaps unsatisfying answer is that it is a bit of both.

Complete the following steps to create a graduate school resume containing information needed for admissions while being in a resume format:

  1. Think about formatting. Although most resumes have typical structure guidelines, there’s still room for creativity in formatting a graduate school resume. There are some formatting rules you should adhere to, such as keeping your graduate resume about a page long and making your contact details boldly noticeable.

    While formatting and designing a graduate resume, make sure that it works towards the goal of organization and understanding for the reader.

  2. Pay attention to the education section. Since the point of submitting a graduate school resume is to be admitted to an educational program, there should be a clear focus on your prior academics.

    Unlike a professional resume, which focuses primarily on career experience, a resume for graduate school should speak about the candidate’s educational background first and foremost.

    Include information such as your:

    • School Name

    • Grade Point Average (GPA) (Only if 3.5+)

    • Field of Study

    • Dates of Attendance

    • Extracurriculars, Clubs, or Groups (if relevant)

    • Awards and Acknowledgment

    • Test Scores (If Applicable)

  3. Include relevant coursework. Relevant coursework might come under your education section or your experience section, depending on which part needs more love. In any case, you’ll want to include the specifics of the classes you’ve taken so that admissions boards know that you’ve got the prerequisite training required to excel in your program.

    You can simply list a few course titles, especially if they’re common enough that any reader should intuitively know what sort of topcs the class covered. But if you want to go into greater detail about one or two particular courses or projects you completed for them, feel free to give a course its own set of bullets.

  4. List relevant work experience. Your prior experience in jobs shouldn’t be the center of attention in your graduate school resume.

    However, positions related to the program you’re applying for should be included in your resume. Internships and volunteer experience that can be applied to the program’s field of study can also be helpful in a graduate school resume.

    Even jobs that aren’t 100% related to your field of study can help round you out as a three-dimensional candidate who’s more than just a student. Part-time jobs you worked while in school also speak to your strong work ethic and independence.

  5. Include notable accomplishments. A graduate school resume is an appropriate place to keep a running tally of your achievements because you want to impress an admissions team. While you can make a dedicated “accomplishments” section, we recommend tactfully weaving achivements throughout your resume’s sections.

    Your resume summary statement is a good place to include one, eye-catching accomplishment. And your undergraduate education probably involved some big project or thesis if you’re keen enough on the subject to continue onto graduate school, so that’s at least one major accomplishment for your education section.

    Achievements from internships or even minor jobs should always precede boring job responsibilities.

    “Answered emails” and “made spreadsheets” don’t exactly pop off the page, but “Responded to 20+ customer queries each day” or “Developed Cloud-based spreadsheet for interdepartment project planning and budgeting” sound a lot better — even if they describe the same jobs and tasks.

  6. Skills and certifications. Including a skills section in a graduate school is recommended if you have the chops to back it up. You should stick to mentioning hard skills in a graduate resume that apply to the field of study you’re hoping to pursue.

    This area of your graduate school resume can also be used to mention any certifications you’ve received outside of formal education.

    Examples of possible skills and certifications to include on a graduate school resume include:

    • Fluency in a programming language

    • Experience in particular computer systems or applications

    • Speaking a second language

    • A technical skills training program

    • An online or in-person certificate in a specific field, like digital marketing or agile management

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Tips for a Successful Graduate School Resume

  1. Tailor your resume to the program you’re applying for. When top applicants apply for new jobs, they go back to their resume and make edits to optimize it for the position they’re hoping to land. Successful graduate school applicants do the same. Every graduate program emphasizes different skills and experiences.

    Make sure your resume aligns with the program’s requirements and ideal candidate profile by highlighting relevant qualities.

  2. It’s okay to speak highly of your accomplishments. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of speaking freely on all their outstanding accomplishments because they worry it makes them out to be conceited.

    While you should maintain a humble attitude when discussing your achievements (especially in interviews), it’s recommended to get into the nitty-gritty of what you’ve done well in the past in a resume.

    The purpose of a graduate school resume is to impress an admissions team, and that’s done by writing about your accomplishments thoroughly.

  3. Use crisp, concise language. Start your bullet points with strong action verbs. Never include the words “I, me, my, or mine” in your resume. Use as few words as possible and embrace white space.

  4. Include both hard and soft skills. There are probably some hard skills that the program you’re applying for requires, depending on the field of study. Besides listing the hard skills that you have, include soft skills that apply to your personality and work ethic.

    Soft skills describe who a candidate is beyond their accomplishments or technical skills. An admissions team will use soft skills to assess if you’re the kind of student they want in their program.

    While we don’t recommend listing too many (or any) soft skills in your resume’s skills section, a few well-placed soft skills in your summary statement and work experience section can be valuable. Soft skills are inherently hard to “prove,” so follow the golden rule: show, don’t tell.

  5. Be honest about your experience and skills. Although it’s essential to catch an admissions counselor’s attention with your resume, the information you include needs to be true. Bending the truth eventually becomes evident to experienced admissions professionals.

    Graduate school programs are unlikely to invite students into their facility who aren’t honest about their experience and skills.

  6. Proofread. Once you’ve finished writing a graduate school resume, the final thing to do is proofread it. Careless spelling and grammatical errors will turn off an admissions counselor reading your resume because it will portray you as sloppy or lazy.

    Reading through your graduate school resume to sweep for errors is a strong professional practice that will increase your chance of a successful application process.

Template for a Graduate School Resume

You understand what information should be included on a graduate school resume. Now you use a template to structure the information properly.

Below is a template to guide you through creating your own graduate school resume.

First and Last Name

City, State | Phone Number | Email Address | Social Media or Website

Resume Summary Statement (Do not label your resume summary statement — just write it)

A few sentences outlining what your graduate school resume will go on to say and what your goals for the future are.

Education

School Name, Degree Title, and Major
Graduation Date
Grade Point Average (GPA) (If 3.5+)
Areas of Study
Prior Research
Awards, accomplishments, and acknowledgments
Extracurricular activities and clubs

(repeat if you have multiple schoools)

Professional Experience

Job Title
Company Name, City, State
Dates Employed

  • One major achievement with numbers

  • Job responsibility with mention of your impact on results

  • More achievements

(repeat for multiple jobs, internships, and volunteer experiences)

Relevant Skills

  • list 4-8 skills

  • Give more hard skills than soft skills

Additional Section

(this section can be dedicated to certifications, volunteer experience, language fluency, independent projects, publications, or another optional resume section)

Then again, there’s one more thing you can do.

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Plus, a great resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our resume builder here. Here’s what it may look like:

Example of a Graduate School Resume

Example of a Graduate School Resume

Aaron Blakely

Denver, CO | (753)-585-5866 | AaronBlakely@gmail.com| LinkedIn.com/AaronBlakely

A devoted and creative recent graduate from the University Of Denver with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and former research experience. Seeking higher education with the University of Washington’s computer science graduate program.

Education

The University Of Denver, B.S. in Computer Science
2020

  • 3.9 GPA

  • Studied computer science with a minor in creative coding

  • Conducted research into biotechnology and virtual reality (VR)

  • Achieved the Dean’s List all four years of college

  • Vice President of the computer coding club

Professional Experience

Computer Coding Student Intern
Larson’s Technology, Denver, CO
2017-2018

  • Created a process workflow that reduced average project turnaround time by 12%

  • Helped mid-level developers write and debug code for client websites of over 1 million monthly visitors

  • Reviewed engineers code and tested software patches before roll-out

Sales Associate and Tech Help Desk Attendant
Best Bet Computer Repair, Denver, CO
2012-2017 summers

  • Served an average of 40 customers each day, aiding in selection of electronic goods

  • Won employee of the month in June 2015

  • Received an an average customer review rating of 4.89/5 at tech help desk

Scholarships

2016-2020
Outstanding Student Scholarship

  • Awarded for academic accomplishment and community involvement

  • The amount of $40,000 over four years of undergraduate education

Relevant Skills

  • Java

  • HTML

  • MS Office Suites

  • Windows

  • Mac OS X

  • Communication

  • Problem-solving

  • Dependability

  • Creativity

  • Resourcefulness

Certifications

2018
HTML Fluency Course, HTML programming language

  • A 12-week course outlining the basics of HTML language

  • Accompanied by assignments, six tests, and a final exam

  • HTML basic fluency achieved

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Author

Sky Ariella

Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

Expert

Don Pippin, MHRM, CPRW, CDCS

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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