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Admissions Resume: What to Include

Some very helpful information from our friends at Enjoy! 🙂

I suggest that applicants for Fall 2014 entry begin assembling materials for their applications now –  five months in advance of the first fall deadlines. One of the ideal documents to begin now is a resume, something that any professional should always have updated and at the ready. Here are some tips on starting the ideal admissions-worthy resume.

First, you need to know how far back in time to detail in this document. As a general rule, if you are applying to graduate school and have at least two years of work experience, your high school activities should not be included in your resume. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you won a prestigious national award in high school, you may certainly consider including this important recognition.

Other general rules for the resume:

• There should be no more than four bullet points beneath each position.
• Each bullet point should ideally be no more than two lines long.
• To ease the reader’s eye strain, the font should not be smaller than 10 pt.
• Margins should be as close to one inch all around as possible – I, personally, will not reduce them lower than 0.7 inches.

With these rules in mind, how should applicants to the top international programs focus the resume on their most relevant and compelling experiences? Limit the number of bullet points describing your early entry-level roles and instead expand the space dedicated to those in which you made the most impact.

For instance, if you were promoted from an entry-level programming position with your company, then you don’t even need to dedicate a separate line to describe that first role. Instead, you can simply impress the reader by describing the fast pace of promotion in a line of the job description, like this:

Team Lead, IT Consulting Company                    2010-Present

Twice promoted from Analyst (2010-2011) to Senior Analyst (2011) and then Team Lead in record 12 months, a full 4 times faster than the average rate of promotion.

What if one position has allowed you significant leadership opportunities and impact? Or what if you have been in your current role for several years? How can you detail all that you have accomplished in just four bullet points? The trick is to break that down into sections, like this for example:

Private Equity Associate, PE Firm                         2011-Present

Lines of job description here…

Leadership Accomplishments Include:

• First point
• Second point
• Third point
• Fourth point

Financial Impacts Include:

• First point
• Second point
• Third point
• Fourth point

Keep in mind that the majority – if not all – of those bullet points should include quantifiable impact that you had on the organization. Breaking up a bulk of text with numbers and section headings makes the entire document more compelling.

Finally, to ensure that your document is easy to read and keeps the admissions officer’s attention, you need to include ample white space. To add some white space above each position in Microsoft Word, highlight the title line of each row (hold the Ctrl button down as you click to keep them all highlighted), then click on Format, Paragraph, then in the Spacing Before box try at least 4 pt. (if you have more space left on the page at the end you can go to 6 pt.). Do the same Ctrl highlighting for the bullet points throughout the document and try 2 pt. or 3 pt. spacing before each of those lines.

Check out this pdf file (viewable in Adobe Reader) to see the difference this little formatting trick can make.

By Jennifer Bloom, senior editor at and Certified Professional Resume Writer.

This article was originally published on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog.


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