Whether you're a student in a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program or you are thinking of applying, you'll most likely be asked to a resume. The MPA degree differs from an MBA because the emphasis is on administration in the nonprofit sector, but the format and guidelines for good resume is essentially the same. Knowing how to craft a good resume is a skill that you will use time and again, and might be the key to career advancement.

Keep your resume short. One to two pages is adequate. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, anything more than probably will cause potential employers to lose interest.

Begin with a short summary of your skills, accomplishments, and goals. (See References 1) This gives hiring committees a clear picture of your profile before they get into the details of your education, experience and accomplishments. Include a separate list of transferable skills. (See References 2)

List your professional experience first. Unless you are applying for an academic position, in which case your resume would take a different format, your work experience will have the most direct impact on the impression you make on potential employers. List your educational experience last, in as few lines as possible.

Be succinct. Except for your summary at the beginning of the resume, don't include any prose. Instead, use bullet points to outline major accomplishments and positions as concisely as possible. Include dates, locations and responsibilities for each occupation held.

Pay attention to formatting. The less confusing the format, the better. Use bold, italics and underlined letters to distinguish between sections, subsections and bullet points. Use tabs to align the document.


As noted, the primary difference in how you write your MPA resume is not in the format, but rather the nature of your work experience and education. Therefore, how you write your resume can be very similar to how an MBA graduate or other professional would write a resume. Search online to find hundreds of resume templates.

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