One Size Does NOT Fit All – Resume Writing Tips
“I don’t understand… I already have a perfect resume… I have used it in all of my job searches… I don’t need to make any changes… I really don’t need help with this.” This was from Carina, a prospective Master in Environmental Engineering student. I had told Carina that she needed to improve her resume, and was somewhat surprised by her response since she had welcomed my assistance on her graduate essays for the master’s program as well as my interview coaching and letter of reference guidance. And yet I was faced with almost a brick wall of resistance as it related to her resume.
When I asked her why she was so certain that her current resume was appropriate for her graduate application, she responded with silence. I told her that I could help her to create a resume designed specifically for the graduate program in environmental engineering.
Why you should view your resume with the eye of a marketer
I calmly shared with her that compiling all of the application materials is very similar to what corporate marketing professionals do when they are preparing sales literature, making package design decisions, and launching an advertising campaign to introduce a new product to the market. In this case, however, the new product that you are launching is you.
Your resume is an integral piece of sales literature that, if done well, can help market you to the graduate program of your choice. How it looks, what you include, what you exclude, how well you highlight your strengths, and the order and labels ascribed to the various categories will all impact their perception of who you are and what you have to offer.
Why one size does NOT fit all
When it comes to resumes, one size does NOT fit all – one resume will not be appropriate for every job and/or educational opportunity. In fact, over the years, I have helped prospective graduate students to prepare multiple versions of what they thought was the same resume.
These three marketing strategies helped Carina understand the art of resume writing, and I think they will help you too.
3 strategies for creating the best application resume
STRATEGY #1: Consider the target audience.
Just as the marketing professional does, you need to consider carefully who will be reading your resume.
STRATEGY #2: Assess your strengths in relation to all of the resume categories.
To accomplish this, you want to:
STRATEGY #3: Format your resume strategically.
Take into account these formatting tips:
If it worked for Carina…
After reviewing all of the strategies, Carina looked me right in the eyes and said, “OMG, I had no idea. You could teach a class on this.” I smiled and said, “I have taught workshops and seminars on this very topic and, from time to time, have included a unit on job interviewing/resume writing in my interpersonal communications classes.” No further resistance from Carina. She went right to work on a new and improved resume and shared that she would always remember how the phrase “one size does not fit all” helped her get accepted.
Work with an admissions expert to create a personalized resume strategy that will help you get accepted! Check out our Admissions Resume Services for more information.
As a Dean of Graduate Admissions for over 10 years, Carol Drummer, signed off on over 4,500 graduate applications annually. She is a communication professor and author of "College Is Not 13th Grade-- An Easy to Read Guide for Parents of College Bound Students." Carol has helped clients get accepted to Ph.D. Psy.D, DOT, DPT, PA, MHA, MSW, and masters in Speech Language Pathology, Business Analytics, Accounting, Global Affairs, Counseling, Architecture, Design Engineering , Nutrition, Exercise Physiology to name a few. Want Carol to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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