Your resume is your biggest and most important marketing tool. This piece of the document will help the admissions committee to gain insight into your skills and expertise. Essentially, a resume is a synopsis of your qualifications, accomplishments and skills. Make sure that you prepare your resume very carefully because it is a critical element of the admission process.
There are three types of resumes—chronological, functional and combination. You could select the format based on your employment history and skills. Alternatively, check out the admission requirements of the university you’re applying to for specific details on the format. The chronological format is the most common type of resume that is preferred by most admissions officers. In this type of resume, work experience is displayed in the reverse chronological order. On the other hand, a functional resume highlights your skills and experience without focusing on work history. This type of resume is ideal for freshers. Finally, a combination resume combines the best features of a chronological resume as well as a functional resume to create a resume that portrays relevant skills and experience while displaying work experience in the format preferred by most employers.
While preparing your resume, keep in mind that it should not exceed 2 pages. Here, less is more. The admissions officers will use your resume as a guide to help them get a sneak peek into your unique skills and experience. Use bullet points beginning with action verbs for each job description. Furthermore, ensure that your summary section is filled with brief achievement oriented descriptions. Also, follow the specific instructions provided by the university. Some universities, specifically those in Europe and Asia require students to attach their photo to their resumes. However, universities in the UK and USA dissuade students from doing so.
As a general rule, make sure that your resume comprises the following sections:
1. Heading: At the top of your resume, include your full name, address, personal email address and telephone number. As your resume is a formal piece of document, avoid using email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org as these might create the wrong impression. You might also consider opening a new email account with a relevant username usually comprising your first and last name.
2. Objective: This section is optional and may be included if you have a specific objective statement that is clear and precise. You could also include the objective statement under your “Summary” section if you have significant experience in the field.
3. Summary: This section is also optional. If you have significant experience in the industry, you could highlight your skills and accomplishments in the section. Use this section to capture the interest of the admissions officer.
4. Work experience: Your experience section is the most important part of your resume as it helps the admissions officers to understand if your work experience is in line with the requirements of the course and if it adds value to the course. While drafting this section, be sure to:
· List the various positions in the reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent position.
· For each job, add job title, name of the company, location, dates and bullet points for responsibilities and achievements.
· Use the present tense for the current job responsibilities and past tense for previous jobs.
5. Volunteer experience: Include information about volunteering experiences as these experiences are valuable and teach you important soft skills such as cooperation, event management, financial planning and fundraising. Make sure that you highlight these skills in this section.
6. Education: Mention your highest degree on top followed by the others. If you have recently graduated, you could include this section above your work experience. If you have significant work experience, add your education section below the work experience section. Be sure to write the name of the school/college, degree and date of passing.
7. Certifications: In this section, mention details of certificate courses.
8. Awards and accolades: If you’ve earned awards and accolades relevant to your field of study, be sure to mention these in your resume. However, avoid including irrelevant achievements such as “acquiring the first position in the lemon and spoon race.”
9. Skills: List relevant skills and areas of expertise including fluency in a foreign language, technical acumen, etc.
10. Personal interests: You could mention specific personal interests that are aligned to your field.
Now that you’ve got a fair idea of what to include in your resume, let’s quickly move on to other details related to your resume design:
1. Select a suitable font: While choosing the font for your resume, be sure to include simple fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri or Verdana and use the same font throughout. Avoid using fancy fonts as the main aim is to ensure that your resume is easy to read.
2. Font size: You could use bold font and a larger size for section headings. You may also use bold and italics to draw attention to your education and work experience section.
3. Bulleted lists: Use bullet points to highlight your achievements and responsibilities instead of long paragraphs to improve readability.