Crafting the perfect resume or CV for graduate school can be difficult to accomplish if you don’t have a graduate school resume sample to refer to. To help you construct your own high-quality resume for graduate school, we’re offering you four original resume and CV samples to use as examples.
First, we’ll explore what features make a great graduate school resume. Then, we’ll provide you with our own graduate school resume examples, giving you tips on what to include on your resume and how to showcase your strengths. Finally, we’ll leave you with our picks for the best online resources for graduate school resume and CV samples.
What Characteristics Make a Great Graduate School Resume or CV?
One easy way to make your graduate school application stand out is to create a compelling, eye-catching resume. But in order to ensure your resume will be memorable, it must be:
Graduate school resumes should highlight all of your major academic and professional experiences and accomplishments — particularly those most relevant to your field of study. This means you should tailor your resume to your field of study and avoid padding it with too many irrelevant experiences. (That said, some programs may ask you to include your entire professional history, irrelevant positions and all. In this case, don’t leave anything out!)
In addition, don’t go overboard with your descriptions. Each entry (even those that are highly relevant to your field) should only contain as much detail as is necessary without devolving into verbosity. Generally, anywhere from two to four bullet points per entry should suffice.
Clear and Easy to Follow
Structure is also an important feature of a graduate school resume. All resumes should include a header with your name and contact info; clearly defined sections with headings; descriptions (usually as bullet points); and page numbers if your resume exceeds one page.
I also recommend arranging your entries in reverse chronological order (most recent to earliest). This way admissions committees will know right away what you’re currently working on as well as what your most recent experiences and accomplishments are.
The resume is a professional document and isn’t an opportunity to get overly creative. It’s perfectly OK to customize your resume, just as long as you’re adhering to the basic rules of professionalism: use an easily readable font (such as Calibri, Tahoma, or Times New Roman), stick primarily to black and white, and avoid inserting clip art or any other extraneous shapes and images.
Free of Errors
Finally, a great graduate school resume is completely free of errors. This means there are no errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or formatting. (You can eliminate the potential for formatting errors by saving your resume as a PDF. Most graduate schools prefer PDFs anyway!)
Moreover, your resume should abide by all of your program’s rules, including page limits, header and footer requirements, etc.
Graduate School Resume and CV Samples
Now that we know what makes for an excellent graduate school resume and CV, let’s look at a few high-quality samples. Graduate school resume examples are helpful resources because they give us ideas as to how to organize our resumes and what to include on them.
Below, we give you four original graduate school resume and CV samples. Each sample is unique and offers a variety of features you may incorporate into your own resume, if desired.
We’re also giving you one annotated graduate school resume sample and one annotated sample CV for graduate school. These annotated samples each contain notes explaining what features make them strong contenders for graduate school.
Graduate School Resume Samples
Graduate School CV Samples
Additional Resources for Graduate School Resume and CV Samples
In addition to the four graduate school resume and CV samples above, there are a ton of resume samples you can access for free online. To find high-quality samples, we recommend going to university websites, specifically university career center webpages, as these are most likely to offer you direct guidance on resume and CV writing.
Before we proceed to the resources, however, note that a majority of the following resume and CV samples are actually job oriented. The major differences between job-oriented resumes and graduate school resumes are the focus and the use of references. Graduate school resumes and CVs typically emphasize education and do not contain any references (since you’re already supplying letters of recommendation).
In spite of these differences, though, you should still be able to use some of the samples below as inspiration for your own graduate school resume or CV.
The Best Resources for Additional Grad School Resume Samples
Here are our picks for the best online resources for graduate school resume examples.
Through its Career Services department, UPenn offers a wide array of resume samples for both those who’ve completed undergrad and those who’ve completed additional graduate education (master’s degrees, Ph.D.s, etc.). Each of the graduate-level resume samples contains detailed commentary on key features and areas that could be improved.
This PDF focuses on how to write resumes if you’re a current master’s student (but can certainly be used for those applying to graduate school, too). The four samples are on pages 5-8. Each resume contains helpful introductory information explaining the purpose of the resume and how it’s organized.
This university offers several high-quality resume samples for various career paths, including the arts and humanities, the sciences, education, and business. It also offers a generic graduate school resume sample, which you can use to get a feel for the kinds of sections or topics you might want to incorporate into your own resume.
The Best Resources for Additional Grad School CV Samples
Here, we give you two top-notch resources for CV samples.
UPenn’s Career Services department offers a large variety of CV samples in addition to the resume samples listed above. Although all of the CV samples are geared toward employment purposes (they were all submitted by Ph.D. holders), they’re still solid resources you can use as models while crafting your own graduate school CV — especially if you’re entering the science, engineering, or math sectors.
University of Illinois
This PDF offers two full-length CV samples and instructions detailing how to write a CV and what to include on it. Note that both CV samples are employment oriented (they both contain references and Ph.D. work); however, you can still use the general layouts of the samples to help you come up with ideas for your own CV.
Summary: Graduate School Resume and CV Samples
Most graduate school applicants will need to submit either a resume or a CV along with their graduate school applications. This is the only opportunity you’ll have to summarize all of your academic and professional achievements in a single document.
But how can you ensure your resume or CV will impress admissions committees? Generally speaking, a memorable graduate school resume will be one that’s:
- Focused without straying too far into irrelevant territory
- Clear and easy to follow, with a header, headings, and bullet points
- Professional, with easy-to-read fonts and a basic color scheme
- Free of errors in regard to grammar and formatting
Resume and CV samples can help you figure out how to structure your own resume or CV and give you tips on what kinds of sections and topics to include. We’ve provided you with four original resume and CV samples you can use as references while drafting your own resume or CV for graduate school. For additional samples, try browsing university websites and career center webpages.
Remember, if you can produce a compelling graduate school resume, you’re bound to leave a positive impression on admissions committees! So don’t be tempted to slack off with the resume portion of your application — it could very well be what ultimately entices a school to accept you.
In addition to samples, we’ve got a quality collection of graduate school resume and CV templates — and they’re entirely free for you to use!
Need tips on what to include on your resume or CV? Read our expert guides on how to write a graduate school CV and how to write a graduate school resume!
When should you apply to graduate school? What do you need to apply? We answer all of these questions and more in our articles on graduate school requirements and graduate school deadlines.
Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?
We've written a eBook about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your GRE score. Download it for free now:
FREE GRE eBook: 5 Tips for 7+ Points
Author: Hannah Muniz
Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel. View all posts by Hannah Muniz
Overview: Process and Materials
The resources in this section will help you prepare your graduate school application(s). This section includes an application-planning timeline, advice on researching and choosing a program, a summary of needed materials and how to develop them, rhetorical principles for building a statement of purpose, and suggestions for how to handle competing offers.
Last Edited: 2014-10-10 07:50:45
There are many parts to a graduate school application. This resource lists possible materials, how to procure or develop those materials, and general tips to follow during the application process.
The Application Process
Every school will have different requirements and expectations during the application process—it is important to deliver exactly what they ask for. A complete, correct, and on-time application packet is expected. If you don’t deliver, you could be out of the running because of a simple technicality. Pore over the school and department website for each program you are applying for, paying special attention to due dates. Develop a simple and effective filing system, such as labeling folders with the name of each individual university you are applying to and the program’s application due date. For example, "Purdue 1_30." Build a corresponding electronic folder, saving all electronic correspondences and downloadable forms and applications. Don’t count on remembering dates, and don’t keep important documents in a big heap on your desk.
If you are unsure of what is expected or how an element needs to be turned in, call or email the admissions office. However, before asking questions, make sure that the needed information can’t be found on the department website. No one likes to be bothered with questions that have already been answered.
Have someone—preferably a number of people—proofread all of your material. This includes your application as well as your personal statement and writing sample. You don’t want to be the applicant who spells the university’s name wrong.
Keep copies of all the materials you turn in. It’s always possible that your materials will get lost and you’ll want to replace them quickly. Save each customized personal statement and not just your template. You’ll want to know exactly what you said on each letter. Call the departmental office a week prior to the deadline to make sure that all your material have been received. This gives you time to submit your copies if your first application went astray.
Be professional, polite, and courteous throughout the application process. You might be frustrated by the demands made on you, but don’t take your anger out on the department secretary. One rash word could sabotage your application.
The Graduate Record Exam, or GRE, is required by the majority of North American graduate schools. The GRE is a timed test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. This test is highly stylized. Knowing how the test is set up and what kind of thinking is expected of you is almost as important to your score as your actual knowledge and analytical skills. It is highly advisable to buy a GRE study guide. Follow all the directions and take all the sample tests. GRE prep classes are available, but be aware they are quite expensive.
The GRE is available at roughly 700 test centers in more than 160 countries. The computer-based test is available at almost any time. The paper exam is available three times a year in areas where the computer test is not available. You must take the GRE at a test center, under the supervision of a proctor. You can take the GRE up to five times a year, but be aware that all your scores, not just the best one, will be sent to your prospective schools (About the GRE).
A small number of schools require the GRE Subject test, which measures knowledge in your area of specialty. Subject test are given at paper-based test centers three times a year in October, November, and April.
Researching Graduate Programs
When considering going graduate school, you must think about the experience on a personal and professional level. Personally, you need to consider location, community, campus culture, and other non-academic issues that will affect your happiness. Professionally, you need to figure out your research interest, map the field, research the faculty you’ll be working with, understand your funding package, calculate work requirements, and analyze research resources.
For more detailed information or researching and profilling graduate programs, please see the Researching Graduate Programs resource on the Purdue OWL.
You need to request official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning you have attended. This is done through the schools' registrar’s offices or, if you’re lucky, through an automated online request system. Your transcripts will either be sent directly to the departments you are applying to, or you will be given paper copies in sealed envelopes which you will forward to the correct locations. Most universities need a couple of days’, or even weeks’, notice of your intentions and most will charge a fee for this service. You will definitely want to follow up with the programs you are applying to, making sure your transcripts have arrived.
Letters of Recommendation
Most departments require three letters of recommendation, preferably from an academic source, such a professor or a department head. These letters are extremely important. Make sure to only ask people that you know well and who will be willing to “sing your praises.” If you have taken a substantial amount of time off between earning your undergraduate degree and applying to a graduate program, it may be possible to submit letters from business associates, community involvement associates, and/or your current employer. It is best, however, to have at least one academic recommendation. You might consider taking classes at a local college as a graduate, non-degree seeking student, which will give you a pool of professors to request letters from. It’s important to follow up with your recommenders. Confirm that they have submitted their letters, and then call each department and make sure the letters have been received. For advice on how to request a letter of recommendation see the a sample letter see Model for Writing a Reference Request Letter on the Purdue OWL. See also, The Purdue OWL's Graduate Schools Application: Letters of Recommendation resource.
The Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose is perhaps the most important, and most challenging, element of your application packet. This letter needs to reflect who you are and why you would be an asset to the program you are applying to. It needs to make you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants; and, yet you must stay within the genre-based expectations for a statement of purpose. It’s a delicate balancing act. You need to start drafting your personal statement months before it is due, customizing it for each program you are applying to. For more information see the Tailoring Employment Documents resources on the Purdue OWL. Also see the Personal Statement Vidcast on the OWL @ Purdue YouTube Channel.
Some programs will want a sample of your academic writing. Depending on the program you’re applying for, your writing sample could include: a work of fiction, a poem, a screenplay, a newspaper article, an analytical paper, or a portion of your thesis. It’s essential that you submit your very best work. It’s also important to turn in exactly what is requested. If they want a ten-page writing sample and your best paper is fifteen pages, you’ll need to cut five pages. Don’t turn it in "as-is" and hope for the best.
Curriculum Vitae or CV
Acurriculum vita, or CV, is much like a resume that tells the story of your academic life. A CV should include: contact information, education, publications, professional presentations, honors and awards, teaching experience, research skills and experience, pertinent work experience, and references--typically in that order.
Unlike a resume your CV should be longer than one page and only include information that pertains to your academic career. Worked at McDonalds while an undergraduate? Unless you’re applying for a restaurant management program, you shouldn’t include this on your CV. However, if you served as a research assistant at your university library, you can almost certainly turn this experience into a solid line on your CV.
At this stage in your academic career you probably don’t have a stellar CV. Don’t worry! Graduate school is where you’ll earn the important lines, such as teaching experience and publications. Don’t pad your CV with experiences not connected to academia and never include high school awards or experiences. It’s better to have a short, honest, and professional document than one cluttered with long-ago achievements and off-topic diversions that will only make you look desperate.
For information on how to write a CV see Writing the Curriculum Vitae.
About the GRE. Educational Testing Service, 2012. Web. 2 July 2012.