How to Write a Resume for a Master's Degree Application

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A master's degree application and the documents it includes differ from a job application. While a regular resume focuses more on employment history, one for a master's application considers primarily your academic history and achievements. Understanding how to craft an effective resume for a master's application can increase your chances of being accepted to a program. In this article, we explain how to write a resume for admission to a master's degree program, and offer some tips to consider when crafting your resume.

How to write a resume for a master's degree application

Listed below are some steps you can follow when making your resume for a master's degree application:

1. Put your contact information at the beginning

Make sure to have your contact information at the top of your resume. This makes it easier to find and access for anyone who wants to contact you. You may want to include information like your name, the city and province or territory you live in, your phone number, and your e-mail address. If possible, you can include a hyperlink to a professional or academic social media page. Only include the social media page if you're certain it's appropriate and if it's a reliable way to contact you.

2. List your formal education

The focus of a master's degree is to expand on your academic expertise, so the purpose of this type of resume is predominately on your education. Discuss what degree or other qualifications you have, list where you got them, and note the date you earned them. You can also include a short description or bullet points highlighting the relevant courses you took and how you performed.

3. List relevant work experience

Make sure the experience you're listing is directly relevant to the master's degree you're pursuing. This section can also include unpaid work experience, such as volunteerism and internships. Many master's programs place a lot of value in a candidate who has taken part in volunteer programs and worked in internships that are relevant to the subject. Volunteerism can show many great traits, like empathy and engaging in a community.

When listing your work experience, you can include your job title, where you worked, and for how long you worked there. You can also include a few sentences about the duties you performed while on the job. Make sure to start with your most recent employment and work backward so the information appears in reverse-chronological order.

4. Fill out any academic awards or commendations

Academic awards and other commendations can help to improve your master's degree application and increase your chances of being accepted into your program. Make sure to list any relevant awards you may have received. It's advisable to ensure that the awards you list in this section are recent and relevant to the master's degree. For example, you can reserve this section for your most recent achievements, like undergraduate scholarships, that can demonstrate your current knowledge and abilities.

Related: 14 of the Best Master's Degrees to Consider (With Tips)

5. Consider discussing teaching experience

Admissions teams may value master's candidates with teaching experience. It shows that you're able to communicate what you've learned to others, and that you're involved in academia. It can also demonstrate your continuing interest in the field and professional development. If you have any teaching experience, you can mention what you taught and for how long. Having relevant teaching experience can help differentiate your resume, make it more memorable, and increase your chance of a successful application.

Related: 16 Common Careers in Education (With Salary Details)

6. List any published papers or journals

When listing the published papers or journals, make sure to list the full title of work, the journal or site it was published on, and when it was first published. It's important to keep this section current and relevant. You can make sure that the works you're referencing on your resume are recent and easy for the interviewer to find.

If you're submitting the resume digitally, you can include hyperlinks to each of the articles you have referenced so that they're easy to find. You may also have these works in your online portfolio and can encourage the person reading your resume to visit your site to see a list of all your published works. This leaves more room on your resume for other important information.

7. Write any additional skills or certifications

There are plenty of additional skills that can be an asset to your resume that may not fit in the other categories. You can list any additional languages you know, any relevant skills, or if you're a member of a related organization or group. It's important to make sure this list is specific and avoid listing all of your skills, as this can help the admissions team focus on the most important information. While they may all be helpful, the ones that you list work best if they're relevant to the master's degree.

Tips for writing a master's degree resume

Below are some useful tips you can follow that can help you write an effective master's degree resume:

Focus on education

Since this resume is for a master's degree application, it's important to make your educational background the focus. Try to include as much about your education as you can in your resume. Try to put most of this information towards the top of the resume. This helps to highlight it and show that you understand its importance to the process.

While it's beneficial to include as much about your educational background as possible, it's still important to make sure that all you're including is relevant. For example, you may not be required to discuss your experience from high school, as your performance during your undergraduate degree is more directly relevant to the postgraduate degree you're pursuing.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

Talk about your achievements

This resume is your chance to talk about what you have accomplished and how it can make you an asset to their master's program. Make sure to talk about your proudest accomplishment or biggest achievement. These achievements may be what makes you a better candidate than some of the other applicants, so it's essential that you demonstrate them. While listing the achievements, it's essential to practise humility and remain objective. Make sure that you present the accomplishments on your resume in a way that's humble, but so that the resume reviewers can still understand their significance.

Make sure to proofread

Proofreading can help you make sure that your resume is completely free of errors. Reading your resume out loud can help you find phrasing issues and make it easier to spot misspelled words. You can also have a friend review your resume for other errors. If you have a friend who has also been through the master's application process, they may be able to offer helpful insight on how to further improve your resume. Proofreading your resume can help you deliver a resume that is more professional.

Include multiple relevant sections

You want to demonstrate the full scope of your abilities with this resume. Master's programs can be very competitive, so making sure that your resume presents all your skills and experience is important. Adding as many sections as you feel is necessary to present the relevant experience is crucial. An effective and concise resume for a master's degree application is typically one to two pages. If you want to include the relevant sections and stay within the page guidelines, make sure that each section is simple and includes only the necessary facts.

Include information that shows your character

While these programs want educated and motivated individuals, they also want people with good character. They want to make sure that the candidates can represent the school and the program well. Try to include topics on your resume that show your good character. Including volunteering shows you care about your community and that you're dedicated to giving back to it. This can help to make you more competitive with those who may have similar academic qualifications.

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