Worth including optional material in applications?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
goatman2743
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:29 pm

Worth including optional material in applications?

Postby goatman2743 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:28 pm

Some schools give applicants the option of adding certain materials such as a resume. I have basically nothing to include on a resume that both 1) would be important/impressive in any way and 2) does not appear anywhere else on my application, so I don't see much value in including a resume, at least contentwise. That said, I suppose just taking the effort to create a resume could show some degree of initiative or interest in the program (or worse, not attaching a resume could show a lack of interest) so maybe it's worth it to include one anyway. Thoughts?

boo78
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Re: Worth including optional material in applications?

Postby boo78 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:16 am

I'm in a similar situation. The application I'm working on does not ask for a resume or CV, but it does allow for the upload of supplemental materials. The wording on the application makes it sound like you should only upload something if the department specifically asks for it, but there is a lot of stuff on my CV that cannot be included in what is asked on the application, given my non-traditional situation. Another issue is that the application only allows for the required 3 letters of recommendation, but the department I'm applying to does state a fourth can be submitted. In general, departments specifically say they are not interested in non-academic/non-research-related recommenders, but since I haven't been in school for years two of my letters are from profs I haven't worked with for 11 years, and the third I haven't worked with in 7. I'm wondering if a letter from my current employer, the headmistress of my school, might be helpful in that it's current, even though it is not research-related. I am currently waiting for a response to an inquiry email I sent to a prof in the department I'm applying to, and assuming the response is favorable I'll follow up with both these questions. I'll let you know how this goes, but my advice would be to do the same. Establish good contact with someone in the department and then ask them if the resume would be helpful. If it doesn't add anything to your application and it isn't asked for, the response will probably be no.

boo78
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Re: Worth including optional material in applications?

Postby boo78 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:45 pm

Ok, professor I contacted said more info is always better, so if you think there's something that your resume contributes to your candidacy not mentioned anywhere else in your application materials, I would go for it. But you still should do what I did and contact someone in the program to which you're applying, just to be sure.

goatman2743
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: Worth including optional material in applications?

Postby goatman2743 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:36 pm

Great, thank you for following up! Another issue I'm having with creating a resume/cv is that I just don't have that much stuff to put on it. I'm coming out of undergrad so no work experience. I did do one REU but don't really have any teaching experience or awards to mention, so my resume is pretty short in length. I feel like this can't be too uncommon/bad as someone coming straight out of undergrad? Still, it feels bad to submit a 2/3 page resume, but I guess it's not a huge part of the application since only like half of the schools I'm applying to even ask for a resume or cv.

boo78
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Re: Worth including optional material in applications?

Postby boo78 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:51 pm

In that case I would only include it where it is requested. More info is better, but if it won't provide anything more then you're just flooding them with redundant info. Your situation is not uncommon. When I first applied to grad school (many moons ago), all the programs asked for a cv, and I felt it was so ridiculous because everything on there was either answered in the application or mentioned in my essay. It was so annoying having to fill in info on the application that was already on my cv. This time around my situation is very different, of course. So don't dispair. I'm actually very happy to see that schools are starting to just ask for the info they want on their applications and not require a cv in addition. But a word of advice: no matter how your life proceeds, keep that resume updated. You never know when you'll need that info, and it's so nice to have it all organized in one document. I've been pretty good at keeping mine up-to-date, but not perfect, and now I'm struggling to remember dates and names, and I've had to use a university online library catalog to search for my own publications :P




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