Home Blog Writing Your Resume for Graduate School: Tips and Strategies

Writing Your Resume for Graduate School: Tips and Strategies

Nov 30, 2021
Hands holding a resume and a red pen while resting on a desk with a laptop

Each resume should speak to a specific opportunity, and a resume for graduate school poses a particular challenge. Your Medill application requires a resume that highlights your career accomplishments and the skills that make you a strong candidate for the Medill graduate program.

When you are applying to a focused master’s program such as the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications Professional program at Medill, you will want to craft a resume that portrays you positively in both professional and academic contexts. Follow these resume tips to craft a clear, concise, and compelling document that highlights your accomplishments and leaves no doubt about your qualifications.

1. Pay attention to formatting.

The first impression your resume will make on the admissions officer will be a visual one. The best way to ensure that your resume is easy to follow is through consistent, creative formatting and strong attention to detail.

Use clean, modern fonts and consistent spacing to delineate clearly between sections and draw your reader’s attention to the important information. Don’t crowd your document with unnecessary details. Be sure to leave sufficient white space to keep your resume easy on the eyes. The work you put into formatting your resume will help the graduate school admissions officer review the content and form an impression of you as a capable, detail-oriented professional.

2. Keep it up to date.

Your application will be evaluated on the basis of the candidate you are today. It only makes sense, then, to put your best foot forward by ensuring that all of your latest experience and accomplishments are detailed on your resume. Be sure to update your resume regularly with your most recent responsibilities at work to demonstrate growth and positive momentum.

3. Don’t hide gaps, but be ready to speak about them.

It’s totally acceptable, and not at all uncommon, for there to be gaps in your resume. Life happens, and your admissions officer will certainly be cognizant of this fact. However, you should be open to addressing any such gaps in your other application materials. In the Medill graduate school application, the Additional Information section is your space to do so.

4. Include your professional development credentials.

Medill’s admissions officer is interested to know how you have furthered your education since completing your undergraduate degree. Industry training and professional development experience speak well for your motivation and drive to excel. Be sure to note courses you have completed and any licenses, certificates, and other credentials you have earned. If you are involved in professional associations and hold or have held a leadership role, this information is of value for your application.

5. Highlight your skills and interests.

To help the Medill admissions officer form the most positive impression possible, you will want to provide a holistic picture of yourself as an individual. Include a section on your graduate school resume that briefly highlights any volunteering or community service that may be relevant to your educational and professional future. Emphasizing your character will not only give your officer a preview of your future positive contributions in the professional world, but it will help you stand out as a potential asset to your future classmates.

6. Keep the length appropriate.

This rule is simple: Your graduate school resume should be no less than one page in length, and no more than two. Within these parameters, you should be able to go into the appropriate level of depth about your accomplishments without getting bogged down in unnecessary details. To adhere to this length guideline, be clear, honest and matter-of-fact in your prose.

7. Proofread twice (alone and with a friend).

In this case, four eyes are better than two. Proofread your work for any typos or grammatical errors. When you’re done, have a trusted friend or colleague do the same. It can be very difficult to evaluate your own writing, and fresh eyes should help you catch any errors that could cause your admissions officer to question your attention to detail. Your reader may also be able to provide helpful insight into places where more—or less—detail will strengthen your resume.

With your resume ready, apply to Northwestern’s MS in IMC Professional program.

With your accomplishments clearly highlighted and your experience undeniable, you’re ready to apply to the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications Professional program. Take a look at the unmatched career support you’ll find at Medill, and check out our tips for crafting a professional statement and requesting letters of recommendation for your graduate school application.