Consider the point you are trying to make with your résumé. When I say point, I mean that you should keep in mind what you are trying to communicate to the reader. This is super important. Every piece of information you share in your résumé should be relevant to the goal you are trying to achieve with your résumé. You may be thinking: “What do you mean ‘achieve’? I thought a résumé was just a list of jobs and activities I’ve done over my life…” Yes and no. When it comes to getting into your dream school, you should treat the résumé as an opportunity to provide an argument for why you should be accepted and that means your résumé should focus on results. Think of it this way: You need to cross a bridge and it is guarded by a dragon. The dragon is allowed to let a select few cross unharmed, and will only let you pass if you can explain why you are worthy of crossing. A fact-based, results-oriented list that shows you have concrete objectives and goals can do just that. Fear not. Plan out your argument. The dragon likes planning.
Treat yourself like a human being in your résumé and the reader will as well. Keep in mind, that the human being reading your résumé will want to know your story. So do just that: Use your résumé to tell a story—but with bullet points.
There are two parts to this. A) Be descriptive. B) Clearly explain everything that you possibly can. Be as descriptive as you can about your responsibilities and accopmlishments—but keep each bullet point to 1-2 lines. Anything longer than 2 lines risks having the reader not finish reading the bullet point. While being descriptive, try to be concise. Don’t use five words when one will do. Don’t talk about irrelevant details. Lastly, when writing, think cause and effect.
Needless to say, punctuation, grammar, and spelling mistakes are frowned upon and will work against you. The dragon will not let you pass. Do not anger the dragon!
Have a consistent format.
To put it frankly, formatting a résumé is a hassle and a headache for everyone. Regardless of the difficulty of formatting your résumé, bullet points must line up, and the headings must be the same size and the same distance from the text. Make the résumé look pretty and neat. It shows professionalism and attention to detail. The dragon loves information organized in a pretty way.
Have fun! Ultimately, whoever reads your résumé needs to get a sense of a) who you are, b) what you are good at and c) why you would be a good addition to their school, company, or organization. Be confident when writing your résumé! Everyone will have their own special combination of skills and experiences, so don’t worry about whether your résumé is unique enough or not. Let your best side show!