As a senior you might think that your resume and graduate school application are already in their final stages. You’ve worked hard to be selected for that competitive internship you completed this past summer; you’re learning about and using cutting edge software in your current Information Systems class, and you now even possess intermediate language fluency in Spanish (because you finished Spanish 201 last spring ). Yet, how much of this recent or current activity has made it to your resume, cover letters or graduate school applications? Updating, editing and refining these important documents are critical as you enter the final phases of your academic career at UMBC. Ideal candidates always make sure their resumes and overall portfolio materials are cutting edge current!
Make Sure your Graduate School Application is Complete
Where are you in the application cycle?
• If you have already applied –
Have you contacted each of the schools to confirm that your application has been received and considered complete? A friendly and polite call (just one) to an admissions representative to confirm the status of your application eliminates ambiguity and demonstrates your capacity to follow-through on important projects.
• If you are about to apply –
Are you highly confident that all of your written materials have been proofread multiple times by a “series” of trusted individuals? Pulling an all-nighter and submitting applications hours before official deadlines is a recipe for disaster. A structured, conservative timeline with realistic goals for output is the most advisable strategy.
• If you are still just “thinking” about graduate school options –
Perhaps your delay or hesitation is an important sign to consider. Ideally, graduate school should be pursued at a thoroughly researched and carefully chosen institution based on a genuine passion for specific research and/or professional training. Graduate school is not recommended for individuals who are still unsure about their futures. If you are hesitating with respect to grad school, a year or two in the work force may help you focus your plans.
Revisit that Resume
While your resume will always be a “work in progress,” many students wait until the last minute to update them and often overlook important items such as:
• team projects they have led;
• minors, second majors or certificates they will be earning;
• all relevant transferable skills clearly described using “active verbs” (looking for examples – consider these offered from Quintessential Careers.
(Many students underestimate the value of skills they have developed through part-time and summer jobs and extra-curricular leadership roles such as customer service, handling money, following safety &security protocols)
Many UMBC staff and faculty members are ready to help you revise and enhance your entire UMBC portfolio for maximum visibility and impact. Consider taking advantage of “Walk-in Resume Critiques” sponsored by Career Services (every day from 2:00pm to 4:00pm) – Room 212 in the Math & Psychology Building.
We encourage you to take advantage now of the resources and strategies that can make a difference in where you will be going and what you will be doing after graduation. And there is no more valuable resource than the investment of your own time in preparation. Consider this point from Oprah Winfrey:
“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.”
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What things are you most proud of on your resume? What are the most unique things on your resume?