Why Include a Good Resume
You can never really underestimate the importance of a good resume. Whether it is to bag a great job or market yourself in front of the College Board, a resume lets you play yourself up. With a strong resume by your side, you can be sure that whoever is reading it can get a real picture of who you are and what you can do.
In particular, concerning college applications, a resume allows you to showcase your skills, interests, qualities, background, and accomplishments in a way that you may not be able to include in any other section of your application. Forming a bridge between your skills and the admission officer’s perspective, it can be the thing that decides your fate; acceptance or rejection. Therefore, you must never be casual about creating your resume when submitting a college application.
And now that you know its criticality, you must also be aware of the various essential sections that should be a part of your resume. We understand that it can be a bit of a challenge if you’re creating such a document for the first time, there could be too much you may want to put in there, or even too little. That’s why, in this guide, we’ve tried to cover some of the most vital aspects of drafting a resume for a college application. Have a look, and we’re sure that by the end, you’ll be much more confident about creating your resume.
Probably the most challenging section – Awards and Achievements
Often, students fret about the section that seeks information on awards. It’s natural to hesitate a bit about playing up your accomplishments, especially if you think they aren’t significant enough. Well, you should stop worrying about how huge an achievement is and try to present it in such a way that it highlights your role in its completion. If you focus on this, both you and the College Board will be able to view the award from a different perspective.
Now, while awards are great and you should include them in your application, if you have some, you should remember that they are not a necessity. Your college acceptance will not get affected by the awards section of your resume since the board knows that participation is essential, and there can be several uncontrollable reasons why someone was not able to win an award. So maybe, instead of including an awards section per se, you could add a section where you can highlight all activities or events you’ve participated in. Describe the event in such a way that it becomes clear how challenging it was. When you do this, the board will surely see that you made a reasonable effort despite the difficulty level, and it will cast a positive impression.
Remember, the things that you really can control are your grades, extracurricular activities, essays, test scores, and skills. Things like awards do matter and should always be considered while writing a resume, but they are not an absolute necessity.
Note: Although very few colleges ask for a specific ‘awards and achievements’ section within the application itself, there’s a possibility that it may be a requirement when applying to some. There could be a separate section in the application where they could ask you to put the top 10 most worthy activities that you’re involved in. Even if not asked to be explicitly included, you can still include the information in your application. You can also opt to bring one-page ‘resume highlights’ when called for the interview. This document will help you in case something went haywire, and you’re looking for direction. You may not know, but this piece of paper can affect the recruiter’s decision and turn the things in your favor.
Now for the fun part – Cool Resume Writing Tips
Although you may have extraordinary things to showcase in your resume, you won’t be able to make the impression you want unless you know how to present them accurately. Composing a great resume is critical, and it takes skill and time to come up with a resume that shows you in a light that you want and that the College Board will love.
Here are some tips that you can follow when drafting your resume:
- Don’t exaggerate much. You need not include details like colors, languages, fancy format, and templates; the gimmicks you might have seen in most resume samples online. It should be simple, minimal, and professional.
- Use easy to read font style and size. Something in the likes of ‘Times New Roman.’
- Include all the relevant and useful information first, like achievements, education, skills, etc.
- In the heading, enlist your name, school ID, address, email, and phone number.
- In the education section, first put high school name and passing year and then your GPA.
- Further, add other headings like extracurricular activities, work experience, internship experience, awards and accomplishments, skills, and interests. You can even include your work experience descriptions in this section briefly.
- Always use the active voice when writing without using any superfluous words like ‘achieved,’ ‘completed,’ ‘awarded,’ etc.
- Proofreading and editing are essential before sending your resume. It shouldn’t contain any spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- It should not extend beyond one or two pages, but some schools demand extended resumes longer than 1 or 2 pages.
Extended resumes – What are these?
An extended resume is nothing but an extended form of your general resume. It is a list of the work experiences you have gained through part-time or freelance jobs as a student. In an extended resume, you don’t have to be concise; you can elaborate as much as you can and add new things that you couldn’t define in your actual resume due to word limits. You can write about your experience, research, teacher’s experiences, projects, etc., and how they impacted you and helped you gain knowledge. But don’t submit an extended resume if it’s not asked by the colleges.
To wrap it up
A resume adds a significant element to your college applications as it helps highlight essential details about you. But it’s not to be included unless a college specifically asks for it or recommends it. If you’re required to add one, make sure it is concise and easy to read. You would want to put your best in there with absolute clarity.