What not to include in your résumé

In previous posts, we have covered résumé formatting and strategy. In this post, I touch on some things you may want to reconsider.

Firstly, headshots. Colleges don’t care what you look like with exceptions limited to theater or dance departments. In some professions, headshots are expected and ought to be included. Headshots are one area where college and professional résumés differ.

Sometimes, applicants list their pedigree of Longhorns in their extended family. UT doesn’t care if you are a fourth-generation Longhorn with 27 members in your immediate family who received degrees.

You don’t need to include your course schedule or history of AP credits. Admissions reviewers already have access to your transcript and scores.

For transfer students, you should only include information from the previous five years. If you are a non-traditional student, who has been working for a while, your experiences from high school may not be relevant or worth including.

Many students take paid-for volunteering or mission trips for a week or two during their school breaks. I have heard different opinions on this.

Some admissions professionals see paid-for volunteering as an activity exclusive for the privilege and may look down on some applicants. Others reward students taking themselves out of their comfort zone. You should probably never list family vacations, cruises, or holiday trips. The most effective instances of volunteering abroad accompany their experiences with thoughtful essays.

One of my favorite essays and applications came from a student in East Texas. He went on a mission trip to Guatemala for a few weeks. He worked with local youth and helped coach baseball. They had few supplies. When he returned to Texas, he organized a fundraiser drive and collection. He eventually gathered enough equipment to fill a shipping container. He and his dad drove the container down to Galveston, put it on a ship, and delivered it to the port of Livingston in Guatemala. He returned the next summer and helped distribute the supplies.

His experiences go above and beyond the typical spring break service trip. In my next post, I discuss how the most effective applications combine the essays and the résumé.

Kevin MartinResume