Career Wisdom*

Whether you are interested in moving up into a higher grade or staying in your current position while continuing to grow, many staff ask this question: how do I manage and cultivate my career at such a large, decentralized organization?

This page will provide “Career Wisdom” in the form of advice, resources, and best practices and let you learn from Harvard staff members who are successfully managing their careers. The page will be populated with new ideas monthly, so plan to check in regularly.

5 Reasons to Love LinkedIn (Feb. 2018)

Still not actively using LinkedIn for professional networking? Harvard recruiters say you should, and share top reasons to “love” LinkedIn:

  • Connecting to professionals in your field, both new connections and people from past jobs, schools, conferences, professional development, etc., including making it easy to congratulate them on new accomplishments
  • Using your connections as an introductory path to people in organizations of future interest (e.g., at an employer you’re considering applying to)
  • Creating and promoting your professional “brand” through links, videos and recommendations (it’s more flexible than a resume and is always available for viewing)
  • Reading articles that are quick and informative about current workforce trends.
  • Recruiters use it to identify highly qualified candidates who might not be looking (they really do!)

Need a little guidance with LinkedIn?
LinkedIn Module on
How to Use your Linked In Profile to Power a Career Transition, Harvard Business

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a great idea – it’s always good to have an up-to-date resume, but it can also feel challenging, especially if yours is out of date!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 103 thing not to do on a resume – don't miss #103!).

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.

Networking for Introverts (Dec. 2017)

You’ve just received the annual department holiday party invite. What is your reaction?

A. Eager to go to the party to meet people who are new in your department!
B. Excited to connect with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while.
C. Exhausted at the thought of mingling and making small talk.

If you answered C, it could be that you are one of the estimated 48% of people with a preference for introversion. You find it challenging to get up the energy to put yourself out there. Here are tips and resources to help you with networking – at the holiday party and beyond.

  1. Go for quality over quantity. Find the one or two people you really want to talk to and engage in a comfortable conversation with them.
  2. Rely on your listening skills. Typically introverts have exceptional listening skills, so be an active listener.
  3. Some favorite articles recommended by Harvard recruiters and CWD staff
  4. Career Wisdom - Self Promotion for IntrovertsFor a slightly longer read, check out Self-promotion For Introverts - assigned reading for the CWD Networking class.

VPHR Marilyn Hausamann: Find what's motivating and makes you happy (Oct. 2017)

Career Development InsightsMarilyn Hausammann, Vice President for Human Resources at Harvard, shares her insights on the "three legged stool" of career development, where employees, managers and the University all have a role.  

Harvard Heroes on their best career advice (Sept. 2017)

The annual Harvard Heroes program recognizes top-performing staff for their outstanding work and for their ability to inspire those around them. Hear what the 2017 Harvard Heroes have to say about their best career advice:

Career Wisdom - Networking
Get out and enjoy what the campus has to offer. 
Career Wisdom - Cultivate Your Reputation
Cultivate Your Reputation and Relationships
Surround yourself with people you respect.
Career Wisdom - Seizing Opportunity
Seizing Opportunity
Be your own advocate as you move through your career. 

Your Career Questions!

Who sees my resume and cover letter first when I apply for a job at Harvard? What is the initial screening process?

This first review depends on the hiring process the individual school or unit follows, but Harvard does not use keyword or other automated screening. In some cases, a dedicated HR recruiter is the first step for applications, reviewing resumes for evidence that an applicant meets the basic qualifications and preferred additional qualifications. In other areas, all applications may go to a designated person with hiring privileges (such as a hiring manager or department/lab administrator) for review.  Regardless of who reads your application first, resumes are screened for specific evidence of the basic qualifications and preferred additional qualifications. Cover letters are read to understand more fully the candidate’s skills and interests for the specific job.

Do you have a career question? Email!

*Career Wisdom is a collection of tips, suggestions, experiences and knowledge from Harvard staff, who share what they’ve learned during their career journeys.