Advice from Nick: your resume

Nick chimes in today in our application advice series with some guidance on preparing your resume:

Happy application season! It’s safe to assume that at least a portion of you reading this are planning to apply this year, so we’re here with some application tips to help ease that process. Specifically, I’m going to be writing on your resume, which we ask for in the application, and some pet-peeves and tips for creating a successful resume within the context of a Fletcher application.

First, it’s important to know that we use the resume for two things. One, of course, is to get a sense of your employment history. We look for professional experience in all our applicants, it’s an extremely important part of our application review process. Having some level of professional experience, regardless of sector, is beneficial for all our students. That professional experience lends clarity to our students’ path through our flexible curriculum – giving you a better sense of what knowledge gaps need to be filled, what strengths reinforced, allowing you to contribute to classroom discussions from a standpoint not exclusively academic, and so on.

But – we also ask for your employment history in an earlier part of your application. So, why this redundancy? Your resume tells us much more than just your professional background because it is a free forum for you to present yourself. The choices you make, what experiences to include, what to highlight, what you opt to exclude, is almost as valuable for us as what those experiences are.

So, what makes a good resume? I’m not going to tell you. I’ll offer that applicants should use a professional resume rather than an academic-style C.V., but these distinctions blur in various parts of the world and it’s really not that important. As I said above, a reason for asking for your professional background in multiple ways is so that we can get a better sense of you through your self-presentation, and to those ends, we don’t want to define any aspect of this too finely; we want to see you present yourself authentically rather than on a document specifically designed to meet our requirements. I would err on the shorter side (1 – 2 pages) and not include everything you’ve ever done back to secondary school. Think professionally, create a document you would be comfortable showing your dream employer.

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