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  • Writer's pictureLTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.

A Résumé for the U.S. Service Academies

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Formats do not really matter, but the substance is critical and very useful

Your curriculum vitae, or résumé, will be an important and useful document to have in hand as you apply to the U.S. service academies: USAFA, USNA, USMA, USCGA and USMMA. You will be able to use it throughout the different steps and 'stages' of applying to the service academies and ROTC scholarships.

Let's talk about format. I highly recommend keeping the résumé to one page. This format will allow an interviewer to glance at the document comfortably during your discussions without having to flip pages. The document should be clean and easy to read. Use a simple font with a sufficient size (i.e., 10 point or larger). As shown in the adjacent example, it should include:

  • Your name and contact information

  • Education

  • Activities, Honors, Awards

  • Community Service

  • Work Experience

  • Hobbies, Interests, Skills

Provide concise details for each entry: what, when and your role. If you do not have any work experience, for example, then do not include that particular section. Note that the last section of hobbies, interests and skills is often 'dropped' when a résumé approaches the one-page limit.

Keep your résumé up to date with your latest information. I recommend using a Google document or similar format. When you are ready to send it to someone, then 'print' it to a PDF file format for easy transmission.

You will use your résumé extensively. It will be a key component the 'process' as your pursue your appointments and ROTC scholarships:

  • Requesting your letters of recommendation (LORs)

  • Introducing yourself to your Academy Admissions officers

  • During each of your interviews

When a teacher or another recommender commit to writing an LOR, then you should give them a copy of your résumé. The document will give the recommender a greater perspective around your qualifications for an appointment or a scholarship, allowing the author to write with more authority and insight.

In the spring of your junior year, you should reach out to your AF Liaison Officer, your Naval Blue and Gold Officer and your Army Field Force Representative. Introduce yourself to the officer and be sure to attach your résumé to the email. In a single page, the admissions officer will see your qualifications. New awards, events, promotions, test scores, etc., should be added to your résumé and reported to your admissions officers in routine updates throughout your summer and your senior year .

Students will have interviews for nominations, appointments and ROTC scholarships. In each case, bring printed copies of your résumé with you. Hand them to members of the nomination interview committee, have a copy for your Academy Admissions officer, and bring the same to your ROTC interview. If any of the interviews are conducted through a video link, then be sure to email a current copy to the interviewer(s) and refer to your résumé during your interview. Often, your interviewer will use the document to jot notes and make annotations -- the ideal use of a résumé!

Having a well-formatted résumé is an important tool to use during your quest to earn a U.S. service academy appointment or an ROTC scholarship. However, building your résumé through a strong academic record, a variety of activities and sports, and engaged leadership in all of these areas will be the key to your success. Good luck with all of your endeavors to build your résumé!

[I would welcome a chance to discuss details with you. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process, including building and creating your résumé. Contact me at chris@cbbrechin.com, 503.515.7406 or complete my contact form on the home page.]


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