How to Write a Resume for Graduate School: Part 1/2 – Blank Page to First Draft

Your resume (or curriculum vitae i.e. CV) is a powerful tool when applying to grad school in Speech Language Pathology for many reasons, but that doesn’t mean you know how to write one.

In this post (Part I), I’m going to walk you through the process from blank page to full CV. In Part II, I’ll give you my tips for polishing the document.

NOTE: For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use CV and resume interchangeably, but I’m really talking about a CV – the longer, more academic document.  If you’re not sure about how they’re different or would like to know more, check out this short post.

Where to Start on your Resume for Graduate School

Hopefully you’ve written a resume before. If not, don’t worry! I have written a lot of them. In fact, when I was an undergrad I worked as a peer adviser helping my classmates (and even a professor one time!) write their resumes.

The first thing you need to do is make a list of sections that you’re going to include in your CV. I suggest the following if they’re applicable to you:

  • Education (Always first)
  • Professional Experience
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Awards & Honors
  • Interests & Added Qualifications

Once you’ve done this, you’re going to start filling in the corresponding information. Don’t worry too much about format yet; that is something to deal with at the end.

Lastly, I want you to know that there is no right way to right a CV and your CV may look different than someone else’s. However, there are some important things that can make your resume easier to read, look more professional, and be more useful for reviewers.

  • List undergraduate studies and up
  • Most recent studies go at the top
  • Each school will be a separate entry and will include: the name of the school, the name of your degree, your GPA (if its above 3.0), and thesis/dissertation titles

If you took dual-credit courses or something like that in high school, I would not include those here. However, if you spent a semester abroad I would include that as a separate entry.

Also fellowships would be included here as their own entry.

Professional Experience
  • This includes anything you were paid to do or extensive, regular, volunteer work.
  • Only include items relevant to your academic field
  • Details for each entry will include things like, your title, employer name, time of employment, specific accomplishments from your time in the position

I’ll go into more detail later on how to polish this section later; for now, we’re just working on getting a draft done

Research Experience
  • List the most current first
  • Unless you truly ran the project/lab, be sure to list who you worked under
  • Include any grants or funding you received
  • Include a brief description and note if it resulted in publication

In this section, you’ll want to include anything you’ve published. This can be especially important when applying for PhD programs because it shows that you have got what it takes.

Also, you don’t have to be the sole author to list something here. Maybe you contributed to a professor’s research project and he/she included you in the publication. Or in my case, I edited an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) textbook here in Mexico; I definitely put that on my CV! Your role should be included in bold so that it stands out.

As for format, there’s no set standard. I suggest starting with an APA style citation (since that is what is generally used in the field), and adapting it as necessary to make it easy to understand how you are related to the publication – because that’s what they want to see.


You probably won’t have a lot here, but you may include any presentations which you’d feel comfortable discussing with an admissions committee. For example, if you presented a poster or even a paper at a research conference, that’s a great thing to do include.

I was invited several years in a row to present on various topics and lead round tables at the Fulbright Orientation and Mid-Year Conferences in Mexico City. I included these small but meaningful presentations on my CV.

Awards & Honors:

This section is probably not incredibly relevant at this point in your career, but it is worth including! Basically, it is a simple list of any “extra” stuff that is significant enough to mention.

  • Start with the most recent and work you way backwards.
  • No description just the name of the honor / award and the approximate dates received (month, year).

Examples of things to include are:

  • Scholarships
  • Honor Societies
  • Community Service Awards
  • Departmental Awards
Interests & Added Qualifications
  • Interests:
    • Things like hobbies
    • List 3 or 4 (creativity counts!)
    • Creativity counts / be original
    • Don’t make stuff up!
    • Get something active, something individual, and something group
  • Added Qualifications
    • Things that are verifiable
    • Language fluency & level
    • Cultural knowledge may be relevant (especially if hands on!)
    • Anything else that is special

What’s Next?

By now, hopefully you have a solid draft of the CV.

I recommend checking out my Part Two of Writing a Resume post.

It will help you work on refining and polishing your CV. Your best bet is to have a professor from the field look at it and give you feedback. Also, keep in mind you’ll want to customize the resume depending on what type of program you’re applying to: research, clinical masters, PhD, etc.

Good luck, and look out for my next post of polishing the resume!


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