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How to Make Your Résumé a Powerful Application Tool (Part 2): 5 Helpful Tips

Amber Gilsdorf September 17, 2019

Happy student using her laptop outside at the universityAhhhh yes…the résumé. An often times optional part of a college application submission process. Incredibly, this unassuming word, with its two accented ‘e’s, can cause accented stress on an applicant (see what I did there, eh?). This article - Part 2 of a 2 part series on résumés - provides five helpful tips for crafting your résumé.

5 Helpful Résumé Tips

1)   Keep the formatting clean & consistent

  • Don’t use a bunch of different fonts and sizes. At most, pick two fonts and two text sizes. 
  • It’s okay to use bold and italicized text to distinguish activities from one another.
  • Use similar punctuation for every resume item.
    • EXAMPLE: If you were involved in Activity A from 2017 - PRESENT and Activity B from 2018 - PRESENT, be sure you list the dates of involvement identically.
  • Check for spelling errors!

2) Show impact and selectivity

  • Whenever you write about activities and involvements, showcase your impact on the experience through as many specifics as possible!
  • Quantify! Quantify! Quantify!
    Instead of: 
    • Camp Counselor-in-Training, (June 2018)
      • Staffed cabin and helped campers adjust to camp. Worked with campers on sports activities. 
    Try this:
    • Counselor-in-Training, Camp Asbury (June 2018) - 120 hours
      • Spent 3 weeks supervising 2-3 cabins with 7-8 campers each from ages 12-14.
      • Facilitated group activities including: tennis, ceramics, and crafts. 
  • If you have acquired a position of leadership by application, election, interview, or being appointed by a teacher or coach, include that information as well!

3) Don’t be redundant!

  • Since this résumé is affiliated with your college application, you do not need to include your school, course history, test scores, or GPA since all of your academic information would be included elsewhere in your application.  
  • Instead, use your precious space to elaborate or include more of your awesome activities (but also, see #4)
  • *NOTE* If you need your résumé for a scholarship application or reason independent of your college application, you can add in your academic information.

4.) Be judicious in listing activities.

  • Choose the activities and involvements that are the most representative of who you are as a person and student!
    • For instance, if you complete one activity, for one hour, one time in ninth grade and you didn’t feel changed or significantly impact someone in any powerful way...well, it’s probably not worth putting on your résumé. 
  • Your passions, commitments, and personality should be evident. Even your résumé can tell your story.

5.) Limit it at two pages!

  • Two pages at the most! It’s okay to even just have one page. 
  • If you have more than two pages, then you are probably listing too many inconsequential activities or awards.

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Tagged: college admission, college applications, resume, Résumé

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