<![CDATA[If you're applying to business schools, you should aim to have your resume be one page—two pages is okay sometimes, but I usually recommend you get it down to one. However, policy schools are way different and you can submit a CV that is up to four pages sometimes! So many of us are so used to cutting down our resumes that we don't even know what to do when we get so much room to brag about ourselves and what we've accomplished. That's why I want to introduce you to the idea of the master resume. The master resume is a document for your own internal records that includes anything and everything you've ever accomplished (well, you can leave out your blockbuster lemonade-stand from middle school). You use your master resume as a menu from which you select experiences and accomplishments to go on versions of your resume for different purposes (i.e. jobs vs. business school vs. policy school vs. fellowships). Since your master resume is for your own uses, it doesn't have to look fancy or even be that well-formatted. It should just have the information you need in order to add that accomplishment to a more curated resume when you need it. Since our memories can often fail us, I recommend that you constantly keep your master resume updated. Just got a promotion at work and a bevy of new responsibilities? Go ahead and add them to your master resume. Were you awarded that small fellowship you applied for on a whim? Add it! Be as specific and detailed as possible when adding new content to your master resume, so that you don't have to go digging in your email inbox—or worse, googling in desperation—to recall the name of that fellowship or the amount of that budget that you managed.
- all degrees earned with your GPA and class rank (if available)
- any fellowships, scholarships, or awards you won: the amount of the award, how many other people were competing for the award, and why you received it (i.e. academic excellence, outstanding job performance, etc.)
- supplemental coursework you took at other institutions, community colleges, and sites like Coursera
- any relevant publications (your blog counts!)
- your hobbies and passions (be as specific as possible)
- countries you’ve traveled to (where you went and under what context)
- all work experiences (where you worked, what your job title was, major accomplishments, etc.) Use lots of numbers to quantify everything!
- volunteer work, community service, and leadership experiences
- names and contact information for people who can serve as references for you
- anything else you think could one day come in handy!
Take action now:
Whip out and dust off your most updated resume and duplicate it so that you can use this as your starting point for your master resume. Set aside an hour to go through the checklist above and add whatever’s missing to your master resume. You will be very happy that you did when it comes time to put together different versions of your resume for your goals—whether it’s getting into your dream joint degree program or that dream job.
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