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I'm trying to finalize my resume and was hoping you all might know the answers to a couple of questions about what to include.


First, is it a good idea to include a Travel section and, if so, what form should it take (i.e., should I list just the country? how many times visited? for how long?)? I've seen this type of section recommended elsewhere, I think, but I'm just not sure where and would really like to double-check before including it.


Second, and this may be a stupid question, but should I list my GPA on my resume? I'm also applying to law schools and have been told to leave my GPA off of that resume (for redundancy reasons), but I'm not sure the same advice applies to IR resumes. Are you all including yours?



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I think it comes down to what else you have on your resume.  Remember that your resume is another tool to make your case to the admissions committee, it's not just a random listing of all of your accomplishments.  What you put on there should fit with the narrative you're trying to build through your application.  If your travel experiences aren't relevant to that story (i.e. you want to study Asia policy, but most of your travel involves studying abroad in Italy or vacations to Chile), don't waste space listing travel for it's own sake.  


Do however pay attention to the instructions in the application.  If they specifically request a travel section, then you should include it.  If they only suggest listing travel (I think SIPA and SFS and Tufts do suggest it), consider how much space you have on your resume and whether the travel is relevant, and then decide if you want to include.  Also be aware that some applications will have a separate section for you to list travel experiences, so you may not need to do so on your resume.  


I've traveled a lot both for work and personal travel, but I opted not to include a travel section on my resume.  I noted in my job descriptions when travel was a part of my professional responsibilities, but it seemed redundant to list every single country I'd ever visited for work.  And most of my personal travel was not relevant to my application, as it wasn't in the region I was planning to focus on in my studies. That gave me more space to highlight more relevant extra curricular activities and/or to go into more detail about my professional work. 


As for including GPA, I think it's up to you. There's no standard rule about it that I'm aware of, I included my GPA on my resume because it's high, and having a good GPA contributes to the story I want to tell about myself.  If it were lower, I might consider leaving it off, as there's no need to remind people about it and distract them from my other accomplishments.  

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Thanks, that really helps a lot. My travel experience should be relevant since much of it is in Asia, which is the region I want to focus on. I've just never seen a travel section on a resume before and wasn't sure if one was standard, even though I understand what you mean about trying to create (or continue) a narrative through one's resume.


I'm more on the fence about the GPA. I have a very strong graduate GPA and weaker (3.4ish) undergraduate GPA, and the latter is something I don't think I should emphasize. Both degrees were in non-related areas and I don't have much space left on my resume, if I want to keep it to two pages, but there was an international bent to my graduate studies and I'd like to emphasize that I performed well there.


In any case, I appreciate you pointing out what you did about resumes and for taking the time to offer advice on this board in general. I'll keep what you've said in mind going forward. Thanks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi OutofSpace!


Gov2School has already given you lots of great advice. My contribution is that you shouldn't necessarily have a Travel section on your resume (unless requested) but that you could include some of the key countries you've visited if traveling is a big hobby for you. I encourage people to not just say that they enjoy traveling. That is very vague and everyone loves traveling.


I suggest you get very specific within the "Personal" or "Interests" section of your resume about what kind of travel you enjoy like this:


enjoy shoestring culinary travel to South Asian and West African nations




enjoy long-term service-based travels to countries such as x, x, and x


I hope that's helpful!

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That is quite helpful. I submitted a resume with a specific travel section for Columbia (since it was requested) but will try to mix it up a bit for other schools, as you've suggested. Thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

You are welcome! I have been absolutely delighted by some of the "personal" sections I've seen. It's a really nice opportunity to add some "flair" to an otherwise boring-ish document.

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So for the resume for graduate school purposes, if you have no professional experience in a job that you desire after graduate school (teaching, for example), should you mention it in the resume?


I work at an English Department as an office worker and a hotel. However, neither of those will be beneficial towards my career aspirations. Should I even mention them then?

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