Resume resolutions! (Jan. 2018)

Many people set a goal to update their resume in the new year. This is a great idea – it’s always good to have an up-to-date resume, but it can also feel challenging, especially if yours is out of date! Here are tips from experienced Harvard recruiters as well as additional resources and classes (plus this article on 49 resume tips and tricks).  

Angelica Ferri, recruiter at T. H. Chan School of Public Health - General resume tips

  • Use a short summary at the top that is descriptive of your experience, such as:
    • 5+ years working within an academic environment, with expertise in meeting coordination, complex calendar management, and timely and effective programmatic support to top executives
  • Organize headings and experience/bullet points so that the most important points are first.
    • Bold or CAPITALIZE sections on your resume for easier scanning.
  • Be honest with dates – include the month and year for each position and verify with past employers if necessary.
  • Choose a professional, easily eligible font - at least 11-12 points. (Do not use Comic Sans!)
  • Use ½ to 1-inch margins for plenty of white space. Don’t add your photo or any graphics.

Angie Boudreau, recruiter for Harvard Information Technology and Financial Administration - resume tips for internal applicants

  • Update your resume with your most recent Harvard experience, regardless of how long you have been in the role.
  • Make sure that it’s very clear at which school, business unit, and department you are working.
  • Be sure to highlight any Harvard system experience - PeopleSoft, Concur, Aspire, etc.
  • Do not use too many Harvard acronyms – acronyms can be very specific to departments
  • Your internal application should be treated just as you would an external application. Take the time and care to make sure your resume is up-to-date, and always include a targeted cover letter for each job application.

A class may provide you with a more structured opportunity to review
Business Skills Tutorial on Resume Writing ( – online, anytime
Resume Writing – in person at CWD, May 1, noon– 3 p.m. Sign up via the Training Portal – get it on your calendar now!

Finally, a couple of frequently asked questions about resumes:

What should I put first on my resume – education or professional experience?
Put your most marketable items first. Typically, if your most recent degree is less than five years old, put that first. After five year, your professional experience should come first.

Is it a resume or a c.v.?
People may use the terms resume and c.v. interchangeably, however, in the United States these are two different documents. A resume is snapshot of relevant skills, usually not more than two pages and used to apply for administrative positions. C.V. stands for curriculum vitae (Latin for “course of life”). A c.v. may be long, with a comprehensive list of achievements and publications for use in applying for academic positions.