7 Common Resume Mistakes on Grad School Applications

When you are applying to graduate school, you usually get to submit a resume or CV as part of the packet. This is something many students overlook when preparing, yet it is a great way to show off things the make you unique.

If you don’t have a resume, first check out these posts:

If you already have a resume put together, check out these common mistakes below to make sure your resume is in good shape!

1. Not knowing the difference between a CV and a Resume

In this post I use the term “resume” but a resume and a CV are really quite different. Even if your school is asking for a resume, they probably want you to submit a CV. A CV is generally longer because it includes research, publications, presentations at conferences, and other things that matter in academia. For more on this, check out this post: A Resume vs a CV

2. Leaving things off

Some people think that certain things don’t matter or aren’t “good enough” to go on their graduate school application. Many things can be relevant. If you put it on there, the faculty reader will be able to decide. If it is relevant, they’ll read it and learn something about you. If it isn’t, they’ll probably skip over it and you’ve lost nothing. When in doubt, include it.

3. Poor formatting

Formatting is like the presentation of food. It doesn’t really affect the flavor, but if it looks bad no one is going to try it. You’ll need to spend some time making sure things are easy to read, well spaced out so they don’t look cramped. Look at example resumes to get ideas. Ideally, you want something the presents the information logically and in a visually appealing way.

4. Not Saving it as a PDF

Once you have your resume formatted beautifully, you’ll want to make sure you save a copy as a PDF. Keep the original in word or pages, but when you upload it, use the PDF. Why? It retains the formatting perfectly. Have you ever opened a document and the font is a weird size, the paragraphs are spaced wrong, and everything is a mess? If that happens with your resume, the reader is not going to take much time to fix it. Use a PDF and avoid the issue all together!

5. Not proofreading

Spelling and grammatical mistakes are terrible things to have in your CV or resume. Proofread it and ask someone else to do the same before sending it off!

6. Forgetting the Context

You understand your job perfectly because you did it, but someone else picking up your resume might have no point of reference. Be sure to use jargon-free language when you can, and if necessary include descriptions.

7. Not Quantifying Your Experiences

People enjoy numbers because they make it a little easier to put something in perspective and compare it to other things. For example say you had a job where you managed a research budget. “Managing $50 research budget” is different than “Managing $20,000 of research funding.” Or say you were a team supervisor. Was your team 5 people or 50? The number doesn’t have to be huge to be worth including; it simply helps put things into context for the reader.

In the comments below, feel free to share more resume tips or things that helped you when preparing your resume for SLP grad school.

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