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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

May 04, 2008

Guest Blogger Steve Green on Resumes & CVs

UPDATE: You can find Adam's suggested resume template for graduate school admissions here.

Introducing Guest Blogger: H. Steven Green

I am happy to announce that as of this blog post, my good friend and colleague, Steve Green will be contributing to my site. Steve and I have worked together since 2001 and, like me, he is now an independent graduate admissions consultant. You can learn more about Steve by visiting his website and LinkedIn profile. In his very first post, Steve discusses an important subject that I have to this point largely avoided, resumes and CVs.
-Adam Markus, アダム マーカス
Whether you are applying for an academic (Ph.D. for example) or professional (MBA, LL.M., or MPA for example) graduate degree, I recommend preparing a professional-quality resume or CV. Based on my own experience as well as that of successful clients with whom I’ve worked, a professional resume/CV is invaluable.
Here I will discuss the benefits to your graduate application of preparing a professional-quality resume/CV. For some applicants, it will be clear whether you need a resume or a CV. For example, those applying for MBA programs need a resume (Please note that in some cases, European B-schools refer to resume as a CV, but they really want a resume, not a CV). I will also explain the differences between a resume and a CV so that you may decide which is best for you because for some applicants, especially those applying for academic masters programs, either a CV or resume would be appropriate.
Benefits of a resume/CV to your graduate application include:
  1. The resume/CV provides you the means to make an excellent first impression on the selection committee. It neatly presents key information about your relevant background and it demonstrates your professionalism. Think of it as a marketing device designed to highlight your past experience and demonstrate your potential.
  2. Not only should you include your resume/CV with your application package but also you should send it to any faculty you contact prior to submitting the application in order to provide them with an easy-to-read summary of your accomplishments and background.
  3. The process of creating a professional resume/CV will focus your mind. Making a resume/CV is an excellent way to inventory your past experiences, which will help you with the rest of the application process. When Adam and I work with clients, we always suggest they make a resume or CV first in order to help the client get a sense of what parts of their past experience should be emphasized not only in the resume, but also in the essays.
  4. Provides you with an accessible source for content for your graduate application statement of purpose, personal statement or MBA essays. The application itself will also require information about your professional and academic background. So, you will have an easy time transferring the information from your resume/CV to the application, and your information will be in professional language.
  5. For applicants who have to do interviews, the resume is really an important agenda setting device. As you can see from reviewing Adam’s guides to various MBA interviews, the resume often plays a key role in determining what you maybe asked by an interviewer.
  6. Finally, the resume/CV you prepare now will last beyond your graduate studies. When the time comes to prepare to reenter the workforce, you can easily modify the content of your resume/CV to reflect your new academic credentials and any achievements during the period of your studies. Of course, if you attend a program with a strong career services center, they will help you further modify your resume/CV to best suit your professional objectives.
Prepare a CV (Curriculum Vitae) if you have:
  • Published any of the following; books, articles in professional journals or in mass-market newspapers, or magazines
  • Presented research/ papers at an academic/professional association conference
  • Appeared as a guest expert on a radio and/or TV show
In general, a CV is appropriate for professionals active in the development of knowledge of their field, and academics (including graduate students who have been presenting and publishing)
A CV is 2 or more pages in length.
Prepare a RESUME if:
  • You are a working professional OR current student and
  • None of the above criteria for the CV apply to you
A resume is typically one page in length but can be longer depending on the length of your career and the nature and number of your accomplishments.
Unlike a CV, a resume may include information about your personal interests, but only if they highlight a unique strength about you, and are actively pursued by you (i.e. a one-time scuba trip does not demonstrate a passion for scuba diving). These should be carefully considered and only those that illustrate an important, relevant quality about you should be listed.
Even current college students or recent grads can produce professional-quality resumes. Instead of organizing it around your work experience, you can include accomplishments to highlight particular strengths relevant to the target of your resume (e.g. winning a Fulbright.)

Both a resume and CV should include:
  • Educational background: degrees, academic honors earned, relevant (see below) extra-curricular activities
  • Professional background: job titles, level of authority, key accomplishments
  • Professional and academic certifications
  • Advanced language skills (For non-native English speakers, include languages other than English)
  • Advanced, unique computer skills, but not routine skills like using MS Office
  • Hobbies or interests that reveal an important part about who you are that will be viewed positively by an admissions committee
What’s relevant? Anything that showcases those traits you wish the reader to know about you, such as leadership-, time management-, or organizational skills, to name a few.
Neither a resume nor a CV should include:
  • Date of birth, height, weight, or a picture of yourself
  • Common “hobbies” such as reading, listening to music, watching TV
  • GMAT, GRE, TOEIC, or TOEFL test scores
  • Any information before you were either 18 or a university student (unless you were working before you entered university). Except for indicating unusual accomplishments (e.g., won an Olympic Medal) or extended periods of living in other countries, facts about your high school time, or earlier, do not belong on either document.


If you have never made one, a graduate admissions consultant, such as myself, and Adam Markus, (we have produced hundreds of resumes and CVs between us), knows which questions to ask you in order to generate the most appropriate content for your resume or CV. We know how produce attractive, professional-standard resumes and CVs. You can also consult with a variety of guides to making resumes. Finally, for a humorous analysis of how to read a resume, see one of Adam’s earliest posts from his other blog.
In my next post, I will discuss applying for the Fulbright.
For questions regarding this post, please contact me at h.steven.green@gmail.com.
- H. Steven ("Steve") Green, グリーン・ハロルド・スティーブン
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