Archive for cv

What's Up with the Second Résumé?

One thing SIPA requires as a part of the admission process might seem a bit odd when your first hear it – we require two résumé documents.  While this might seem a bit burdensome or odd, I assure you it is in the best interests of both applicants and Committee members who review applications.

Both résumés are required – the second résumé is not optional.  The point of this entry is twofold:  to both explain the reasoning and provide advice on meeting this requirement.

Traditional Résumé

The first résumé is no surprise.  You could refer to this as your “traditional” résumé and everyone applying probably has had a working résumé for some time.  A traditional résumé includes, but is not limited to, information such as:

  • Positions held (employment and internships)
  • Academic degrees and other academic achievements
  • Volunteer, public service, political work completed
  • Memberships in honorary societies and awards for service or leadership
  • Extracurricular activities and particularly if an MIA applicant – foreign travel undertaken, including purpose and length of stay.

As has always been the case, with this traditional résumé we do not recommend trying to keep it to a single page in length.  A one page résumé is more aligned with applying for a job.  This résumé is for graduate school consideration and the Committee encourages applicants to list all relevant information and to not use a small font or extended margins in an attempt to cram a great deal of information into a very small space.  A typical résumé in this format submitted to SIPA is three to four pages in length.

Put another way – we like white space.  Committee members have to read several hundred applications and small fonts and cramped formats are very difficult on the eyes.  When it doubt, use 12 point font and normal margins – the Committee will thank you for it.

Quantitative/Language Résumé

The second résumé will focus exclusively on an applicant’s background with quantitative methods and language learning/ability.

Quantitative Methods

The core curriculum at SIPA includes required coursework in economics, statistics, and financial management.  The Committee is therefore quite interested in the quantitative aptitude of applicants to our program.  This most typically includes coursework and/or professional experience related to mathematics, statistics, and economics.  Also of note  can be quantitative experience as it pertains to areas such as science or engineering.

Unfortunately, academic transcripts rarely provide in depth descriptions of the actual content of coursework completed.  For example, a class labeled as “Principles of Economics” on a transcript provides little detail on how much focus was placed on the use of quantitative methods.  And with the large number of international applicants to SIPA, often times transcripts translated into English will just list a class as “Mathematics” thus giving the Committee little information on the actual content/level of math studied.

Providing the opportunity for applicants to list detailed information pertaining to quantitative preparation/experience will allow for better explanations of past academic and professional experience.  The goal is to be able to allow applicants to list full descriptions of courses included in a course catalog or in the syllabus used in a class.

Language Learning/Ability

Proficiency in a second language is a graduation requirement of the MIA program but is not a requirement of the MPA program.  Proficiency is defined as the ability to use a second language at an intermediate level.  Academically this is defined as the ability to achieve a grade of “B” or better in an intermediate level 2 language course.

Incoming  MIA students who speak English as a native language will be tested in a second language of their choice upon entering into the program.  Due to the intensity of the MIA program at SIPA, it would be quite difficult for an applicant with no previous language study to achieve intermediate level proficiency in two years of study.  The Committee therefore wishes to see at least elementary level proficiency in a second language when evaluating an MIA applicant for admission.

If an incoming native English speaker passes the proficiency exam administered shortly after beginning the program, no additional language study is required.  If the grade achieved on the exam is not sufficient, to prove proficiency a grade of “B” or better must be achieved in an intermediate level 2 language course during the time at SIPA in order to graduate.

For MPA students that speak English as a native language, second language learning is optional so it is not required to include language learning information in the second résumé.  However, if an MPA applicant does have experience in a second language we encourage them to provide this information because it provides us with additional information on your background. 

Please do note that there is one exception to the language requirement for the MPA program.  If an MPA applicant chooses the Economic and Political Development concentration, second language proficiency is a requirement just like in the MIA program.

For applicants that do not speak English as a native language, the second résumé will provide an opportunity to elaborate further on time spent studying English and other languages.  This can of course include academic study but can also include additional information not included in transcripts or test scores such as time spent living in English speaking environments.

Details on Quantitative/Language Learning

The second résumé is meant to provide applicants with the ability to provide detailed information which can include:

  • Name/level/grade/institution pertaining to classroom courses.
  • For classroom courses, a description of the course and specific learning objectives (best done by providing a description from a course catalog or a syllabus that was used for the class).
  • Examples of working knowledge of the subject matter as demonstrated in academic or professional settings.
  • Tests taken and grades/scores achieved.
  • Specific certificates earned.
  • In the case of second language learning, the following information is useful:
  1. Information on time spent in a foreign country where the language is spoken.  Or, if the second language was spoken in your home country please provide the context (i.e. did you grow up in a home where a second language was spoken but your academic training was in another language?).
  2. Details regarding professional/volunteer/personal use of the language.
  3. Specific details/examples regarding writing, reading, speaking, and listening ability.

One question you might have is, “If the course is listed on my transcripts or noted in another part of my application, is it necessary to include it in the Quantitative/Language  résumé?”

The answer is yes.  It is okay to be redundant or to include the same information that might be listed in another part of the application in this section.  Seeing the information twice, but in more detailed format in the  résumé portion, is what the Committee is seeking to achieve.

You can view samples of this résumé by clicking here.  Do note that the sample is only a guide.  The level of detail you wish to include is entirely up to you.

If you have been out of school for a while, do not feel compelled to spend hours and hours trying to search for old syllabus or text book titles/authors.  The point of the résumé is not to put you through some sort of time trial, it is meant to provide information on the core learning from the course/experience.  The example résumé was borrowed from an applicant that applied to SIPA while still in college, and it meant to only be a sample.  Simply provide as much information as you can and you will be fine.

Can I Send Supporting Documents to be Included with my Application?

Some applicants have contacted our office and asked how they may submit supplementary materials with their application.  At SIPA we only include the materials we ask for on the application site when we forward a file to the Admissions Committee.  We therefore do not accept supplementary materials such as writing samples from applicants.  There are two main reasons for this.

First, we wish to be fair to all applicants.  To use a common expression, the Committee wishes to “compare apples to apples.”  If we allowed one applicant to include supplemental materials it would not be fair to the rest of the applicant pool.  In evaluating applicants it is important that each applicant be judged upon the same criteria.

Second, the Committee must read several thousand applications in approximately a six week period and we are confident that we can do so based upon the current materials we require from applicants.  Although an applicant may wish to include a writing sample or a copy of a thesis completed at the undergraduate level, perhaps copies of certificates earned, or achievements noted in publications of some sort, the Committee simply would not have the time to read and/or review such materials.

While the Committee does not allow for the submission of supplementary materials, there is a way for applicants to inform the Committee of personal achievements.  Instead of sending in full copies of supplemental materials to note personal achievements, applicants may include such information in the résumé/CV.

At SIPA we are not concerned with the length of your résumé/CV.  This document may be as long as you believe is necessary to summarize your qualifications for our program.  Applicants should also not feel pressure to conform to typical résumé/CV standards that might be associated with applying for a job.  When applying for a job it is common to limit your résumé to a page or two – but when applying for graduate school the process is different and the typical résumé we review is three to four pages in length.

The résumé/CV may include whatever information you feel is important to informing the Committee of your qualifications as well as circumstances that may have impacted your academic or professional record.  For example, let us say that an applicant suffered a serious illness while completing their undergraduate degree and dealing with the illness impacted academic performance.  This is something that could be noted in the résumé/CV in a section labeled “Miscellaneous Academic Information.”

Or perhaps an applicant is particularly proud of their undergraduate thesis – maybe the applicant won an award or was invited to a conference to present their thesis.  While we will not accept a thesis to forward to the Committee for evaluation, an applicant would be welcome to briefly summarize their thesis and any associated awards or recognition in the résumé/CV.

So while the application process at SIPA does not allow applicants to submit supplemental materials, you may exercise discretion by including information that you feel is pertinent for the Committee to be aware of in the required résumé/CV.

Application Status Update

We have been working hard over the past month or so to get the admission application ready to go for the coming year.  Each year we try to modify to the application in an effort to make the process more streamlined and I am pretty pleased with the changes we are implementing for this year.

If you have been following the blog recently you are probably well informed of the changes we are making.  I thought I would put all the recent entries in one place for ease of reference.  Below are links to the entries where I have documented the changes we are making.

We have already received a few questions regarding our new quantitative/language résumé and we now have a document available with examples/instructions.  You can view the document by clicking here.

We are doing everything we can try to meet our deadline of August 15th to make the application available.  There have been a few bumps in the road so there might be a slight delay, however please remember that you can review all of the instructions needed to get started by visiting our Application Checklist Page.

The checklist page is meant to provide you with the specific information we need while the entries below provide further insight into what you should pay particular attention to in preparing your application.

Stay tuned and as soon as the application goes live I will post an entry to this site with the announcement.

Post #1:  Changes in Process for 2010

Post #2:  Résumé /CV Changes

Post #3:  Transcript Submission Changes

Post #4:  Personal Statement Changes

Post #5:  Test Score Submission

2010 Application Information Post #2: Résumé/CV Changes

In a recent post I mentioned that the Admissions Committee has decided to make some changes to the application process in the coming year.  As the title of this post suggests, I will be laying out the changes in a series of entries in the coming weeks.

One of the changes may at first seem a bit burdensome, but I assure you it is in the best interests of both applicants and Committee members who review applications.  In the past we have asked for the submission of one résumé.  Starting with the spring 2010 cycle we will be asking for two résumés (note that we consider CV and résumé to be interchangeable terms).

Traditional Résumé

The first résumé will be the “traditional” résumé we have always asked for as a part of the application process.  A traditional résumé includes, but is not limited to, information such as:

  • Positions held (employment and internships)
  • Academic degrees and other academic achievements
  • Volunteer, public service, political work completed
  • Memberships in honorary societies and awards for service or leadership
  • Extracurricular activities and particularly if an MIA applicant – foreign travel undertaken, including purpose and length of stay.

As has always been the case, with this traditional résumé we do not recommend trying to keep it to a single page in length.  A one page résumé is more aligned with applying for a job.  This résumé is for graduate school consideration and the Committee encourages applicants to list all relevant information and to not use a small font or extended margins in an attempt to cram a great deal of information into a very small space.  A typical résumé in this format submitted to SIPA is three to four pages in length.

Quantitative/Language Résumé

The second résumé will focus exclusively on an applicant’s background with quantitative methods and language learning/ability.

Quantitative Methods

The core curriculum at SIPA includes required coursework in economics, statistics, and financial management.  The Committee is therefore quite interested in the quantitative aptitude of applicants to our program.  This most typically includes coursework and/or professional experience related to mathematics, statistics, and economics.  Also of note  can be quantitative experience as it pertains to areas such as science or engineering.

Unfortunately, academic transcripts rarely provide in depth descriptions of the actual content of coursework completed.  For example, a class labeled as “Principles of Economics” on a transcript provides little detail on how much focus was placed on the use of quantitative methods.  And with the large number of international applicants to SIPA, often times transcripts translated into English will just list a class as “Mathematics” thus giving the Committee little information on the actual content/level of math studied.

Providing the opportunity for applicants to list detailed information pertaining to quantitative preparation/experience will allow for better explanations of past academic and professional experience.  The goal is to be able to allow applicants to list full descriptions of courses included in a course catalog or in the syllabus used in a class.

Language Learning/Ability

Proficiency in a second language is a graduation requirement of the MIA program but is not a requirement of the MPA program.  Proficiency is defined as the ability to use a second language at an intermediate level.  Academically this is defined as the ability to achieve a grade of “B” or better in an intermediate level 2 language course.

Incoming  MIA students who speak English as a native language will be tested in a second language of their choice upon entering into the program.  Due to the intensity of the MIA program at SIPA, it would be quite difficult for an applicant with no previous language study to achieve intermediate level proficiency in two years of study.  The Committee therefore wishes to see at least elementary level proficiency in a second language when evaluating an MIA applicant for admission.

If an incoming native English speaker passes the proficiency exam administered shortly after beginning the program, no additional language study is required.  If the grade achieved on the exam is not sufficient, to prove proficiency a grade of “B” or better must be achieved in an intermediate level 2 language course during the time at SIPA in order to graduate.

For MPA students that speak English as a native language, second language learning is optional so it is not required to include language learning information in the second résumé.  However, if an MPA applicant does have experience in a second language we encourage them to provide this information because it provides us with additional information on your background. 

Please do note that there is one exception to the language requirement for the MPA program.  If an MPA applicant chooses the Economic and Political Development concentration, second language proficiency is a requirement just like in the MIA program.

For applicants that do not speak English as a native language, the second résumé will provide an opportunity to elaborate further on time spent studying English and other languages.  This can of course include academic study but can also include additional information not included in transcripts or test scores such as time spent living in English speaking environments.

Details on Quantitative/Language Learning

The second résumé is meant to provide applicants with the ability to provide detailed information which can include:

  • Name/level/grade/institution pertaining to classroom courses.
  • For classroom courses, a description of the course and specific learning objectives (best done by providing a description from a course catalog or a syllabus that was used for the class).
  • Examples of working knowledge of the subject matter as demonstrated in academic or professional settings.
  • Tests taken and grades/scores achieved.
  • Specific certificates earned.
  • In the case of second language learning, the following information is useful:
  1. Information on time spent in a foreign country where the language is spoken.  Or, if the second language was spoken in your home country please provide the context (i.e. did you grow up in a home where a second language was spoken but your academic training was in another language?).
  2. Details regarding professional/volunteer/personal use of the language.
  3. Specific details/examples regarding writing, reading, speaking, and listening ability.

One question you might have is, “If the course is listed on my transcripts or noted in another part of my application, is it necessary to include it in the Quantitative/Language  résumé?”

The answer is yes.  It is okay to be redundant or to include the same information that might be listed in another part of the application in this section.  Seeing the information twice, but in more detailed format in the  résumé portion, is what the Committee is seeking to achieve.

You can view samples of this résumé by clicking here.  Do note that the sample is only a guide.  The level of detail you wish to include is entirely up to you.

Résumé/CV for SIPA

When application files are assembled at SIPA we only include required documents in the admission file. This means that we do not accept writing samples, addendums, or any other information that is not listed as a required document. However, applicants can include pertinent information that demonstrates aptitude for our program or is important to providing information about your background in the résumé/CV that is submitted.

There is no need to stick to a purely professional format when submitting a résumé to SIPA. Most of all this means that you should not concern yourself with submitting a one page résumé. A one page résumé may be standard when applying for a job, but the Admissions Committee at SIPA has no problem with longer résumés. The average résumé submitted to SIPA is about three pages. It is okay to include special sections in your résumé to expound on your aptitude or explain special circumstances.

For example, it is always a good idea when applying to SIPA to include special sections highlighting your quantitative and language preparation. The language preparation is particularly important for MIA applicants because of the requirement to be proficient in a second language to graduate. If your transcripts clearly show that you enrolled in language classes, it is not a bad idea to include this information again in your résumé. Other pertinent information may include time spent living in a foreign country, private study of languages (i.e. Rosetta Stone), or involvement in language groups.

In addition, it is wise to have a special section in your résumé that highlights your quantitative preparation for our program. This can include a list of coursework in quantitative methods as well as research or work projects that incorporate quantitative analysis. Many applicants also choose a recommender that can highlight successful application of quantitative methods in the classroom or in the workplace.

Applicants can also include miscellaneous sections in the résumé describing unique circumstances or projects. For example, if an applicant’s overall grades were strong at the undergraduate level but suffered one semester due to personal circumstances of some sort (i.e. sickness or family emergency) this information could be included in a special section on your résumé. And while we do not want students to submit a copy of their thesis or substantial academic or work projects, applicants can include special sections that summarize work done on special academic or professional projects.

Do not worry about packing a lot of information into a small number of pages by using small fonts or margins. Include information that you believe is relevant and realize that we are not concerned with keeping your résumé to a single page.

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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