What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Do write in sound bites Make sure your name is in a large font List your life's accomplishments in addition to academic performance Mention travel & summers List your interests Be sure to list your numbers Mention anything unusual in your family, such as 1 of 11 kids or 8th generation Floridian Language fluency can be a plus Under Misc you could say something like, I have the respect of my peers. That's actually on MY resume. Don't write in sentences Don't use other than white paper The more you say, the better Mention superior accomplishments in middle school, if possible No need to mention address, em, phone number; ss# should suffice Extensive work history is not important - community service hrs are Whatever you say, don't make things up!

Scott Herrmann-Keeling
College Counselor

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Do be specific about what you have done. But more important than what you have done ("I was elected president of the Spanish club") include what you ACCOMPLISHED ("under my leadership the club doubled in size and raised $1500"). Don't simply rehash what you have already included on the Common Application. It's not necessary to include test scores or information about your GPA on a resume. Admissions officers will already have access to that elsewhere in your file. Be simple and straightforward. Use bullets to set off your accomplishments. Make it clear to the people reading your application what you are capable of.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Do: Keep it current. Don't include cub scouts or little league. Do: Include not only the activity, but your role as well. Do: Keep it clear but concise. Don't: MAKE STUFF UP Don't: Be too wordy. Your resume will be one of many. Don't: Fail to proofread.

Lin Johnson III

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

DO tailor a story that illustrates your unique leadership. For example, if you want to college to be a journalist, it makes sense to showcase that you were the school newspaper editor, participated in Princeton summer journalism program, or won several writing awards. DO highlight your passion, contributions, and achievements. Your resume should express how you have made an impact to a person, a team, organization, or a community. A list of things tells very little about the importance of what you have done. DON'T send your resume without proofreading it! It goes without saying that you want to give the best first impression. Basic grammatical and writing errors could bring up questions about your writing ability. DON'T list everything on resume, but instead highlight relevant activities that fits your application story. You should provide the admission team with a focused, consistent story of your leadership.

Steph Hart
Owner, Principle Consultant Essential Elements: Comprehensive College Planning

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

DON'T... **Do not submit a first draft of your resume. Take time to edit and revise, just as you will do for your essay. Get your resume to a perfect state now, so that you have it ready to submit with each application for admission and scholarship. Just make updates as they occur senior year. **Don't let information get away! Keep a block of text for a particular activity on the same page. This may require moving margins, deleting extra words, etc. You don't want the reader to forget what the activity was when they have to flip the page to continue reading. **Inconsistency can make your resume difficult to read. Don't bold one heading and not the next. Don't put a period at the end of one description and not at the end of others. Don’t use multiple fonts. Etc. **Don't turn your resume into a novel. Remember, this is your resume, not your essay. **Skip the abbreviations. Opt to spell out National Honor Society (NHS), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and similarly named student organizations. **Don't include your school's contact information on your resume. That information is included in other places within your application for admission. Save the space to highlight your own personal achievements. **There is no need to double up on your academic record. Your official transcript is where the admission office will refer for course selection, test scores, and grades earned...not your student resume. **Eighth grade does not count. Your resume should be based upon your accomplishments in high school, not what you did in grade school or junior high. Exceptions might be (as an example) a particular activity that you started in seventh grade and continue to do consistently now. **Th does not belong. Simply use (9,10,11,12) to indicate the grade level during which a particular activity was performed instead of (9th,10th,11th,12th). Those th notations can become difficult to read when the admission representative has reviewed 50+ other files that same day. **"Who's Who Among American High School Students" and other similar "awards" are not considered by colleges/universities to be legitimate and should not be listed on your resume. DO... ** Make sure to list your name, mailing address, home phone number, and email address at the top of the first page of your resume. On subsequent pages, including just your name (usually top right hand corner) is sufficient. **Brag about how you spend your time outside of the classroom! Include everything in your first draft. Revision may allow you to delete less important items, but don't edit yourself at the start. **Create categories for your high school activities and accomplishments. Typical groupings may include honors and awards, athletics, community service, extra-curricular activities, and employment. **Use numbers (9,10,11,12) to specify which grades each activity was performed. Freshman year, sophomore, junior year, and senior year is quite wordy when you have a several page resume. **On that same note, stick to grades (9,10,11,12) years versus calendar years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). No reader wants to calculate what grade you were in during which year. **Longevity (9-12) and most recent (12) should be listed first within each category, then work backward to (9) items. This more clearly demonstrates where your heart lies and establishes a more uniform approach for easy reading. **Pick a format that works best for you. Some will have a grid/table; others will opt for a bullet point list. There is no right or wrong format, only the layout that best emphasizes what you have pulled off in high school and what you will be bringing to the college campus community. **Indicate your time commitment for each endeavor. Let the admission representative know how many hours you put into an activity. Be consistent with how that time is reported (hours per week, weeks per month, etc.). **Include BRIEF descriptions of your participation in an activity or of an award received. Were you elected to a leadership position? Did you co-found the club? What is the goal of the organization?

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Certainly resume writing is new for many students and seeking guidance is always a good idea. When working with kids the first thing I give them is a template to organize their thoughts and activities to ensure a clean, professional looking document. Specific Do's are: Keep it accurate and specific, have more than one copy for use with different situations (i.e., a scholarship application, a job interview or for a conference opportunity), have it updated every semester and use a specific template that any reviewer could easily find relevant experience that they are looking for. Specific Don't's are: Do not include things are that are not true, do not have your parents write it for you as you need to be able to explain it yourself, do not use funky fonts or weird layouts, and do not start using it without several adults looking at it first.

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Don't just repeat the same information you have stated on the common app. Give some depth or context for your activities, i.e., you might mention that you have been pursuing a particular activity since you were 5 and that you have spent several summers attending programs related to that activity. Try not to exceed 1 page unless you have some major accomplishments-admissions officers have limited time and no one wants to read 5 pages relating every participation award you ever received. Make sure you place the most important activities in the beginning of the resume, check for typos and keep the format consistent. And make sure that whatever you write does not conflict with your common app extracurricular descriptions and that you don't lie or overly exaggerate about your accomplishments.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Do's: Spell out acronyms, don't leave it to the reader's imagination. Be consistent when formatting the document Stick to one page Don't: List every little event in your life, be selective Forget to proof, proof, proof, you want to make a good impression Include a resume if they have asked you to just fill in the activities section on the application

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

What are some do's and don'ts for an applicant's resume?

Don't buy it. Colleges can smell fabricated or inauthentic resumes. You need to follow your passions. Don't feel you have to go overseas or attend expensive programs. Following your passions is key. Please spend time on crafting a real resume that is filled with your development through several activities during the school year and summers.