How to Build a Good Resume for Graduate School

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

Building a resume for graduate school can be challenging for students as they prepare to continue their academic careers. When crafting your resume for graduate school, you’ll want to draw attention to your academic projects, coursework, publications, and any college organizations where you were a member. Internships and volunteer experience are also very valuable to include. These additional insights often make the difference in separating yourself from other applicants. Below, you’ll find helpful tips and examples to help build your resume for graduate school.

Align Your Resume With the Academic Program

Tailoring your resume to the program you’re applying for is essential for painting a clear picture of how your academic expertise and professional background align with the university’s program requirements. You can accomplish this by drawing attention to specific academic projects you worked on, creating a skill section, and featuring some of the college associations you took part in. For example, suppose you’re pursuing a master’s program in psychology that has a heavy emphasis on emotionally-focused therapy. In that case, you should showcase the knowledge you’ve gained in this area during your college career in both your coursework and research papers.

Feature Your Internships and Volunteerism Experience

Another way to showcase your qualifications for an academic program, despite a lack of industry experience, is by highlighting your internships and volunteerism. If you’re pursuing a career in social services or the nonprofit sector, your volunteer experience will be something employers are highly interested in. Even if you aren’t pursuing a program within this field, examples of your volunteer work can help paint a compelling picture of who you are as a professional and may help you stand out from the applicant pool.

Use a Professional Summary Instead of an Objective

Career objectives are often seen as outdated in the modern hiring era because they focus on explaining the candidate’s long-term goals and interests rather than describing why they’re qualified for the position they’re applying for. If you’re pursuing a specific academic program, the university will already understand that you’re seeking to grow within this particular field. You should craft a professional profile that highlights key areas of your expertise that align with the program requirements.

Graduate School Resume Samples

Although you can use many different strategies to build a strong graduate school resume, it can be challenging to put them all together to create a compelling document. The important thing to consider when crafting your resume is whether or not your content impacts the reader and how it helps to establish continuity between your education background and the academic program you’re applying to. Below, you’ll find examples from our graduate school resume page to help you push your academic career forward.

Graduate School Resume Sample 1

In this sample, the job seeker is applying to a graduate school program in economics. They’ve chosen to feature an internship program they completed with a financial firm. This example is compelling because it highlights tangible examples of the applicant using financial analysis skills in a professional setting, especially with regard to investment strategy and risk management. It also shows that the candidate has been proactive in expanding their industry knowledge beyond their bachelor’s degree program.

Professional Experience

Internship, Anderson Financial Firm, San Francisco, CA

April 2020 – April 2021

  • Performed statistical analysis on economic and financial trends for a financial investment firm, which included evaluating the potential ROI of startup businesses
  • Supported a team of financial analysts and economists in evaluating business models, analyzing risk, and forecasting financial outlook to inform investment decisions
  • Attended meetings with the finance team and assisted with the preparation of financial presentations and reports

Graduate School Resume Sample 2

In the following example, you’ll find the professional profile section of an applicant pursuing a graduate program in speech pathology. This summary is effective because it’s concise, focused, and draws attention to their knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) and autism spectrum disorders, which is essential for this type of program. The professional profile also highlights the candidate’s ability to work with ESL students, which adds a new dimension to their professional experience that other applicants may be lacking.

Profile

A Speech Pathology Graduate specializing in speech-language therapy, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), American Sign Language (ASL), and team leadership. A proven track record of mentoring students within the Speech-Language program and providing ESL tutoring services.

Graduate School Resume Sample 3

In this example, you’ll find an applicant who is pursuing a graduate program in the psychology field. Although the candidate lacks substantial industry experience, they’ve created an academic project section to provide insights into their areas of focus within mental health. The capstone paper is an innovative project that showcases the candidate’s interest in diversity and inclusion and also aligns with the university’s mission statement. The second project details the applicant’s focus on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, which provides detail into how the individual might hope to approach the clinical treatment of patients as a psychologist.

Academic Projects

Psychology Research Projects, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

September 2017 – May 2021

  • Wrote a 25-page research paper for the Psychology capstone course analyzing the cultural experience of Chinese American immigrants in urban and rural areas and the relationship between institutionalized racism and anxiety
  • Developed a 10-page research paper evaluating the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to treat depression symptoms

When submitting your resume for a graduate school application, you should carefully proofread your document for any grammatical issues or spelling errors. Although this is a rule of thumb when building any type of resume, proofreading is even more critical when applying to an academic program. Any errors will reflect negatively on your application. You should also submit your resume as a PDF rather than a Word document to ensure that your formatting remains intact across operating systems and mobile devices.