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9 Don’ts for Your Grad School Application Resume

Last month we provided you with 9 Do’s to help you create a resume that will pass the 15-second look that it will receive from the adcom readers. Here are 9 Don’ts of equal importance. Don’t commit any of these resume no-no’s!

1. DON’T make things up or exaggerate your abilities, successes or degree of accountability. This lesson goes way back to preschool – telling lies is never recommended!

2. DON’T turn your resume into your life story. There is a lot of information that your resume needs to include. However, its main function is to focus on the parts of your professional and personal life that will appeal to your target program. There are plenty of other places in your application to feature the significant narrative of your life.

3. DON’T use pronouns (like “I”) or articles (like “the,” ‘a” or “an”). These words are superfluous. They take up valuable space, slow down the reader and take away from your achievements.

4. DON’T include personal information. Non-work-related information such as marital status, birthdate, height or weight seldom adds anything important to your resume. In the worst case these items can be used to illegally discriminate against an applicant.

5. DON’T use the same verbs all through your resume. Use a thesaurus to change up the verbiage in your resume. In place of “developed” or “led,” you can say “changed,” “advanced,” “directed,” or “managed.”

6. DON’T omit dates. You may choose to employ the functional resume format if you have had frequent job changes or little experience. However you still need to show your dates of employment someplace on your resume.

7. DON’T put in more details than necessary to communicate your achievements. It’s difficult to read jam-packed paragraph-sized bullet points. You want to make it as easy as possible for the adcom reader to comprehend what you’re attempting to get across. It is generally a good idea to limit each bullet to one or two lines of copy with three to five achievements for each situation.

8. DON’T use buzz words like dynamic or self-starting. The adcom reader should be able to see for themselves that you possess these traits through the details you include in your resume.

9. DON’T turn your resume into a list of your work responsibilities. Make it a record of your triumphs! Make your duties a part of your depiction of your accomplishments.

Wait, you haven’t read our Do’s yet? Check them out now!

Looking for more fabulous advice on constructing a slam-dunk application resume? Get your free copy of The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes today!

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

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