How to write a winning resume for MS that get accepted by universities

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Resume writing is an art and when it comes down to writing a resume for your MS application, you must give a lot of weightage on how you would write your resume. Unlike the letters of recommendation, resume writing is your craft and you don’t need to depend on anyone for writing it, though you can take guidance from your parents, teachers, professors or friends who have already applied for MS before. But basically, it’s your job. Thus the better you are, more would be your chances of selection.

This guide is different. It would not only tell you how to write your resume, but it will highlight the most critical part of the resume which most students overlook. You may have a lot of academic projects and research publications, and you may have managed to get great letters of recommendation, but until the script about you (your resume) is attractive, they would not add any value to your candidature.

Follow these simple rules (not exactly rules, but principles) to make your resume stand out in the heap of other applications while applying for your MS in foreign universities.

Notes in the beginning

Before going into the principles, first few things should be discussed.
  • First of all, always remember that the admission managers would have maximum 5-10 seconds to peruse your profile, sometimes more, sometimes even less. Thus, within those 5-10 seconds you need to create an impact. If you are unable to create a good first impression within these “blink-of-an-eye” moments, you won’t be able to crack the code of good universities for your MS dream.
  • Second thing you need to remember is your resume is a brief of who you are and what you have done. Be brief, concise and to the point. Do not exaggerate any part of the resume because that will only create bad impression.
  • Third thing you should keep in mind is that your job via resume writing is to facilitate the admission manager in accepting your candidature. Thus, include only those details which resonate with the course and subject. Cut back all the unnecessary information.

Now, let’s see how to write the resume for MS using few principles.

What not to include

Writing resume for MS is quite different than writing a resume for job application. There are things you should include and there are sections you cannot mention. While writing resume for MS, first thing you need to cut off is an objective section where you generally mention your career objective in brief, concise form.

You should also not include a reference section in your resume which seems to be valid in job resume as you are already providing letters of recommendation along with your resume. Another section which most students include is gender, marital status. While applying for MS, you should not include gender and marital status. Read along to find out what to include in your resume.

What to highlight

Unlike resume for job application, your resume for MS would be different. You need to highlight things that will focus on the key factors within few lines. For MS application, you should highlight your education first. And in educational section, mention your most cherished achievements. Don’t use any adjectives like “brilliant”, “astounding”, “perfect”, “outstanding” etc. Rather let CGPAs and your achievements speak for yourself.

After education you need to highlight any relevant work experience you have (if any). Because in foreign universities, relevant work experience is given more weightage than having only theoretical knowledge. After work experience, if you have any paper/ research publications, mention it briefly. After that you need to mention related coursework, skills you have in brief.

Finally, emphasize on the extra-curricular activities where you can mention anything from sport to music. Don’t take the extra-curricular lightly because a lot of universities give equal weightage to extra-curricular as they give to academics.

Language used

The language is one of the most important factors in resume writing. Most students get busy with the sections and actually neglect to see the importance of the use of language. If you have ever tried to write your resume in passive voice, that is a big mistake. Because passive voice always puts the activity before you which is not a good sign for creating a great first impression.

Admission managers may guess that you are not confident enough to talk about your achievements in first person. So avoid passive voice and talk directly in first person. The second thing about language is how to write about your education, work experiences and other highlighted areas.

Most students make the mistakes of using full sentences while writing them, but you need to use to impress the admission managers is phrases, not sentences. Phrases are easy to read, need less time to glide through and the time of the admission managers are also being saved.

Length of your resume

Now, most students would enquire what would be the ideal size of their resume would be. Here we will answer the query. As you already know that the admission managers have very less time to browse through your resume (most precisely 6 seconds), if your resume if too long, they will bypass it. Among the heap of resumes, only those resumes will get prominences which are short, brief, to the point and attractive.

The ideal length of a resume for MS is 1.5 pages long. But you may increase it up to 2 pages if you have more research papers, projects and publications. Don’t go beyond 2 pages. We can understand that it is always not possible to jot down everything you have done within those 2 pages. We would suggest a way which will help you curb the length in proper manner.

Here’s the way. When you begin to write your resume, write everything by maintaining sections. At this stage don’t think about anything, length, sentence, passive, active, first person. Just put down everything you know. Then once you are done, go to each section, follow the advice we’ve given and then edit the section accordingly.

Do not stop editing until the length of your resume comes down to maximum 2 pages. Be careful about grammar, phrases, sentence construction and brevity of information you are providing.

Here’s a sample of resume (only the sections) for your perusal.


Contact Details

Education (Only mention the latest and also the name of the school, CGPA, your achievement)

Relevant Work Experience (Start from the latest)

Academic Projects (Start with the earliest)

Related Coursework


Extra-curricular Activities

If you follow this guide, resume writing for MS would be pretty easy. Just take time to write a great resume. Don’t rush and don’t try to finish off within few hours. Give it the time the resume requires to look and be great. Finally, just see a professor who can guide you in your application process and show your resume to him/her for guidance or correction.

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