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Writing An Effective Resume - an application component

Did you know resumes are also an important part of the U.S. college/university application? Yes, it is a place where you are going to let the admissions officer have a peek into your accomplishments, projects, internships, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and research/work history. Not only that, resumes are great tools for helping students prepare for a college/university interview or to provide as a written-aid to the recommenders who are writing the Letters of Recommendation. To help you with crafting a stand-out application resume, here are some tips:

Key contents of a U.S. style resume:

Six important parts of a basic resume

  • Contact information

  • Education

  • Work experience

  • Activities

  • Technical skills

  • Awards

  • The additional parts are Objective and References – specified only for internship/Co-op/Assistantships

Format specifications for a resume:

  • Content should not exceed a page and a half. The most preferred format is one page

  • Use 1.15 line spacing

  • Use fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman with size 12

Language specifications for a resume:

  • Easy to read and understand – Not too formal and not too colloquial

  • Consistent writing style

  • Avoid passive voice

  • Use appropriate tenses

  • Use a variety of action verbs to describe situations and actions

Style of a resume: Changes according to the purpose such as admission, internship, co-op etc.


Undergraduate admissions resume

  • Detail activities you were engaged in high school on

  1. community engagement

  2. sports

  3. other extra-curricular activities

  • Highlight association with any social organization outside your of your school activities

Graduate admissions resume

  • Focus on work experience in the related field

  1. internships

  2. projects

  3. paper presentations

  • Highlight any

  1. international internship experience

  2. exchange/study-abroad program

  • The "objective" part of an admission resume is optional

  • Internship/Co-op/Assistantships

  1. Specify your objective

  2. Elaborate work experience related to the job you are applying to

  3. Project technical skills that stand out and relevant to the work

  • Mention duration of work, accolades/special recognition award

  • Undergraduates applying for internships can highlight related experience at their high school level

  • Furnish references upon request

Some other important points to note:

  • Organize information in a logical fashion

  • Tailor your information to the purpose of the resume

  • Maintain consistency in style and use simple sentences

  • Use simple fonts and do not clutter with multiple styles

  • Pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation

  • Proofread your resume carefully and get it reviewed by your peers, counsellors, and teachers

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