Sample Resumes for Graduate Students and Postdocs

Many former Penn graduate student and postdoc job-seekers, who have successfully used their resumes to get jobs, have allowed us to post their work as samples. As you begin assembling your materials, it can be useful to see what others have done. These are examples only, and should not be copied, but can offer perspectives of how you might highlight and illustrate your own skills and experiences. We make no claims that they are perfect, but we offer them as useful examples. Click on the thumbnail images below to view the samples. Additionally, we recommend the various resume samples within the "Premium Content" areas of Versatile PhD for additional samples. You can access the VPhD resources here - scroll down to the bottom of the list of online subscriptions to set up your free VPhD account.

Master's student samples
MS, MPA, MLA, MES

Resume guide

PhD & Postdoc samples
Humanities/Social Sciences

Cover letter resources

PhD/postdoc samples
STEM

 Academic CVs

Master's student resumes

MESGS.png

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Key features:

  • Master of Environmental Studies
  • Candidate interested in sustainability consulting
  • Dates placed on the right-hand side to keep the reader's focus on the position title and experience - not when it was done
  • Clear descriptions within the bullets, including quantifiable elements that help to make the experiences more tangible
  • One page with good, consistent formatting

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the professional experience section to highlight key coursework or student projects, and the specific skills used to do them
  • Make the descriptions under each of the professional experience positions into a bullet point, as they describe similar skills. It is not clear how these descriptions differ from the bullet points

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Key features:

  • Master of Environmental Studies
  • Candidate interested in environmental consulting
  • Two page format with an objective
  • A broad range of active doing verbs are used to describe the candidate's skills

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the professional experience section to highlight key coursework or student projects, and the specific skills used to do them
  • Tailor the coursework listed within the education section so that it is more focused on relevant courses (from the reader's perspective). Decrease emphasis on undergraduate courses
  • Be clearer what the "additional experience" represents, and what the reader should take away from this (e.g., is this leadership experience, community service, or something else?)

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Key features:

  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Candidate interested in actuarial jobs
  • One-page format, with a profile that combines an objective statement and a skills summary
  • Actuarial exams clearly listed - as these are essential

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • If relevant, add a "graduate student" entry to the "employment history" section and convert this to a "professional experience" section to highlight key coursework or student projects, as the listings in the education section are a little vague
  • Provide more illustrations of the "special skills" in action within the "experience" section to demonstrate these skills

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Key features:

  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Candidate seeking government consulting position
  • One-page version that puts a lot of emphasis on international experiences and language skills that would be helpful for international consulting roles
  • Many quantifiable elements included within experience sections
  • A broad range of skills are highlighted, including project management and collaboration - both valuable to consulting

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Translate title of honors thesis

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Key features:

  • Master of Public Administration
  • Candidate interested in finance related positions
  • A two-page version with a brief profile section at the start
  • Included professional affiliations that can help to illustrate engagement with professional community

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the professional experience section to highlight key coursework or student projects, and the specific skills used to do them
  • Education section should more clearly highlight degrees received, and should draw attention to Penn
  • Degrees should be formatted so that they are sub-headings rather than listed as bullet points

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Key features:

  • Master of Public Administration
  • Candidate likely interested in public sector opportunities
  • One-page version that clearly highlights both professional and leaderships experiences
  • Highlights key software skills in experience (e.g., ArcGIS)

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the professional experience section to highlight key coursework or student projects, and the specific skills used to do them
  • Include a "skills" section to summarize any software and language skills

MPAPPPC.png

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Key features:

  • Master of Public Administration
  • One-page format, with clear design and formatting
  • Relevant courses and skills clearly articulated
  • Good use of active doing verbs to describe a broad range of skills

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the experience section to highlight key coursework or student projects, and the specific skills used to do them

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Key features:

  • Master of Public Administration
  • Two-page format that begins with a clear summary of qualifications that represent broad themes highlighted throughout the resume
  • Effective breakdown of skills into sub-fields
  • Experience listed with key topics and/or outcomes at the start of each bullet point

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the professional experience section to highlight key coursework or student projects, and the specific skills used to do them
  • Be more focused on what is relevant to the reader - for example, including the "Arizona State Secondary Social Studies Teaching Certification" only on resumes where this is relevant for the position

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Key features:

  • Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics
  • Two-page format beginning with a summary statement
  • Effective use of active doing verbs to describe experiences gained, including quantifiable elements
  • Detailed list of certifications and accreditations

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Ensure Word setting are set up to check spelling for words in ALL CAPS - the word Accreditations is not spelled correctly
  • Reorganize resume to move education section to first page, given the benefit of highlighting the University of Pennsylvania educational background

Master's student samples
MS, MPA, MLA, MES

Resume guide

PhD & Postdoc samples
Humanities/Social Sciences

Cover letter resources

PhD/postdoc samples
STEM

Academic CVs

PhD student and Postdoc resumes (Humanities & Social Sciences)

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in consulting roles
  • Two-page resume format with effective summary of publications and presentations that does not focus on the topic of the research
  • Clear overview of software skills
  • Activities and interests sections highlight experience beyond PhD research to showcase personality and characteristics sought by consulting firms

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Move dates to the right-hand side of the page to put more emphasis on what was done, and how, rather then when it was done

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Key features:

  • Two-page format with experience listed as the first section
  • Broad range of professional memberships listed to demonstrate wide-ranging interests

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Add a "graduate student" entry to the professional experience section to highlight skills used in research projects
  • Ensure formatting is consistent (e.g., spacing of sections)
  • Combine Degree and institution on same line to save three lines
  • Ensure bullets are detailed enough to illustrate relevant skills (e.g., "Developed research design")
  • Consider integrating "other relevant experience" section into "professional experience" where these experiences are relevant to the position

PhDHSSUPCS.png

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in writing and editing opportunities
  • Uses a skills-based approach with one section focusing on writing and editing and one focusing on client-focused experiences
  • Effectively summarizes dissertation research in a way that focuses attention on skills not on the context

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Consider not having words hyphenated at the end of the line, as this can make the document harder to read
  • Consider having a separate "Skills" section relevant to the position being applied for

Master's student samples
MS, MPA, MLA, MES

Resume guide

PhD & Postdoc samples
Humanities/Social Sciences

Cover letter resources

PhD/postdoc samples
STEM

Academic CVs

PhD student and Postdoc resumes (STEM)

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in writing and editing opportunities (e.g., Science Writer; Medical Writer)
  • Two-page format with an emphasis on three skill areas: writing and editing, research, and teaching/organization
  • Clear focus on writing and editing skills and the main priority

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Resume might fit on one page with more efficient use of space and elimination of some experience not relevant to the position being applied for

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in consulting opportunities
  • Two-page approach that highlights previous consulting experiences, leadership, and academic successes from research
  • Detailed descriptions of skills together with quantifiable elements
  • Clear focus on skills sought by consulting firms: leadership, communication, high energy, research, team-work and collaboration, and problem-solving

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Next to the "Selected Papers" consider adding "out of X" where the X = total number of papers

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in consulting opportunities
  • One-page format with emphasis on non-research experiences gained outside of the lab
  • Focus on consulting experiences gained on campus along with leadership and community experiences
  • Appropriate (and minimal) focus on specifics of research, with emphasis on research communication skills

Advice we might give for this resume:


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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in industry opportunities (possibly consumable goods industry)
  • Three-page format that emphasizes research experiences, and begins with a detailed profile statement
  • Lists of publications and presentations highlights scientific productivity

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Profile section may seem overwhelming, and could be shortened or listed as bullets representing relevant themes
  • Where possible, sections should not be split over two pages (e.g., Knox College section in Education)
  • A specific "skills" section could be added to summarize technical and scientific skills

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in consulting opportunities
  • Two-page format with clear "summary of qualification" section
  • Professional experience included an appropriate mix of research, consulting, and industry-relevant experiences
  • A "business training" section highlights courses taken at Penn that are relevant to consulting, and that demonstrate an interest in business

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • "Extracurricular Activities" could be renamed "Leadership and Community Service Experiences"

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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in consulting opportunities
  • Two-page format with a specific focus on consulting and leadership/teamwork experiences
  • Many of the experiences shared in the resume also focus on effective communication skills
  • The "interests" section also highlights accomplishments - which is appropriate for consulting applications

Advice we might give for this resume:


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Key features:

  • Candidate interested in medical writing and regulatory affairs opportunities
  • Resume clearly articulates biomedical knowledge areas, as a broad knowledge of biomedical topics is often more valuable than a very detailed knowledge of only one field
  • Relevant coursework identifies industry-specific knowledge
  • Experiences are very focused on transferable skills important for industry settings - especially communication skills

Advice we might give for this resume:

  • Remove objective if resume is being used to apply for a specific position
  • List degrees and academic institutions as main headers rather than as bullets

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Key features:

  • Candidate looking for medical writing opportunities (please note, this resume is from the same candidate who wrote this one after they gained some industry experience)
  • Two-page version that focuses specifically on medical writing experiences (that than general experiences), with a clear summary statement
  • Professional certification, development, and training are clearly stated

Advice we might give for this resume:


Master's student samples
MS, MPA, MLA, MES

Resume guide

PhD & Postdoc samples
Humanities/Social Sciences

Cover letter resources

PhD/postdoc samples
STEM

Academic CVs