Undergraduate Resource Series
Office of Career Services | 54 Dunster Street
Harvard University | Faculty of Arts and Sciences | 617.495.2595 www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu © 2012 President and Fellows of Harvard College
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Office of Career Services
Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 495-2595 www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu R ESUMES A ND COVER LE TTE R S
Create a Strong Resume
resume is a brief, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although it alone will not get you a job or internship, a good resume is an important element towards obtaining an interview.
Tailor your resume to the type of position you are seeking. This does not mean that all of your work history must relate directly, but your resume should reflect the kind of skills the employer would value. Find additional guidance on resumes and cover letters , as well as resume samples, on the OCS website.
RESUME LANGUAGE SHOULD BE:
• Specific rather than general
• Active rather than passive
• Written to express not impress
• Articulate rather than “flowery”
• Fact-based (quantify and qualify)
• Written for people who scan quickly
• Use personal pronouns (such as I)
• Use a narrative style
• Number or letter categories
• Use slang or colloquialisms
• Include a picture
• Include age or sex
• List references on resume
• Lead each line with a date
Attend a Power ½-Hour Resume Workshop. Learn the nuts and bolts of getting started. See the OCS website for dates.
Come to drop-ins. Every day from 1:00-4:00pm—get any career question answered and have someone look at your resume.
Look for industry specific resume review clinics. Listed on the
On-Campus Interviewing Calendar.
TOP 5 RESUME MISTAKES:
1. Spelling and grammar errors
2. Missing email and phone information
3. Using passive language instead of “action” words
4. Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim
5. Too long
• Be consistent in format and content
• Make it easy to read and follow
• Use spacing, underlining, italics, bold, and capitalization for emphasis
• List headings (such as Professional Experience) in order of importance
• Within headings, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
• Avoid information gaps such as a missing summer
• Be sure that your formatting translated properly if converted to a .pdf
PLAN TO WORK INTERNATIONALLY?
Resume guidelines can vary from country to country. Check out
Going Global at www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu.
RE SU ME S A N D C OV ER L ETTERS
Action Verbs for your Resume