The first step to applying for student exchange program is preparing the required documents, including your resume. Your resume is the first impression the selection committee will get of you, thus presentation is key. However, while seemingly easy, writing a resume that not only properly represents oneself but also fulfills the student exchange program requirements often becomes a challenge for many. Here are some tips that will help you in crafting the right resume for your program:
Know Your Goal
Depending on the kind of student exchange program you are applying for, the aspects highlighted in the resume may vary. For example, undergraduate programs will focus on academic and extracurricular activities whereas graduate programs will put more emphasis on research experiences. When applying to study abroad, be sure to include qualifications that you think would suit the hosting program in the resume. Always bear in mind that a resume is not identical to autobiography, thus you should keep it short, concise, and straightforward.
This is an often overlooked aspect of resume writing. In an attempt to stand out, many applicants make the mistake of experimenting with their formatting. Truth is, when selecting candidates, the board know exactly what to look for and jump straight to the content. A good format is one that is compact and easy to read. To achieve such objective, here is a few things to keep in mind:
- Try to keep your resume as short as possible. Best not exceeding two pages
- Use easy to read fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri
- Separate your resume into relevant headings such as education, working experience, etc
- Do not clutter information; use bullets
- Include contacts through different platforms (email, phone, LinkedIn)
Student exchange programs normally require that their applicants present their resume in English. However admittedly, English is not everyone’s strong point. In that case, the following is important:
- Proofread or have someone go over your resume to be sure that there is no grammatical or typing error
- Keep in mind that certain things might be presented differently in English instead of being literal translation of your native language
- Do not use hyperboles or exaggerate your words. As mentioned above, keep it short and concise
- Appropriate use of capital letters and punctuation is key
- As much as possible, refrain from using abbreviations
Memorize Your Resume
A resume is a preview of who you are as an individual; portraying your ethics, qualifications, and compatibility with the study abroad program. Never include anything in the resume that you don’t fully have a grasp on, should it come up in the interview later on. Always be prepared to elaborate the points mentioned in the resume.
Study Pre-existing Resumes
If you are not yet familiar with writing resumes, it is always a good idea to look up how other people write their resumes to get an idea on how you should present yourself. Sometimes, the institution holding the student exchange program will even have example of resumes in addition to resume guideline that you could study. You could even use free resume templates that are widely available on the internet to save time and effort while achieving an easy to read look.