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Compose a Succinct Resume

Several scholarships and fellowships require applicants to include a one to two page resume highlighting their academic, professional, extracurricular, and service experiences.  The most challenging aspect of the resume is that you have limited space to convince a committee of your varied virtues. 

You should think of your resume as more than a list of accomplishments and activities.  It is an advertisement, and like any good advertisement, it is selling a product – you.  After inspecting your resume, the reader should consider you the obvious choice for the fellowship or award.  Highlight only those experiences that will bring you closer to this goal, omitting others that, although important, don’t speak to the specific strengths you are trying convey. 

When applying for prestigious scholarships and fellowships, potential resume sections include:

"(The Truman Scholarship) means so much to me.  It means that this prestigious organization recognizes that I'm more than a hippy, leftist, tie-dye wearing, bleeding heart liberal - although maybe I'm that, too - and that I really have the experiences, intellect, and ability to translate my beliefs into actions."

Claire Kendig, 2008 Truman Scholar and 2007 Goldwater Scholar 

  • Education – Any colleges or universities attended (including dates and majors); GPA; College or university honors (e.g. Summa Cum Laude, College Honors); Honors Thesis topic

  • Scholarship – Undergraduate scholarships; Academic awards; Honorary academic societies

  • Conferences and Presentations – Academic conferences attended; Academic papers and posters presented; Special testimony presented before government bodies

  • Leadership – Leadership positions held in student and professional organizations

  • Service – Briefly describe your specific role in service activities undertaken

Your resume should include your name and contact information at the top; include only one address.  Unless otherwise instructed, references should not be included on the resume.  Furthermore, “References available upon request” is understood and should not take up valuable space.

Avoid excessive formatting and use a standard font.  Remember that a little white space is always better than incomprehensible clutter. 

Before submitting your application, you should have a professor or advisor critically read your resume to insure you highlighted those activities and accomplishments pertinent to the specific goal of the scholarship or fellowship for which you are applying.  When in doubt, make an appointment with a fellowship adviser to browse the resumes of past fellowship recipients and receive individual assistance.