Resumés

Overview

A resume is a 1-2 page document that lists relevant experience and other qualifications for a specific job. It is different from an academic CV in that it focuses on whatever is most important for that industry or company and tends to focus on your ability to perform job duties rather than research or academic accomplishments.

Essential Components:
  • Contact information
  • Objective
  • Education – list your highest degree first
  • Work experience – list the positions you have held beginning with the most recent
  • Academic projects – include a brief description of any thesis projects or any published independent research that you have performed as well as any professors you have assisted in a substantial way (collecting data, writing lit review sections, etc.)
  • Leadership experience – relevant experience in student organizations counts (fund-raising, organizing, club leadership, etc.)
  • Honors/Awards
  • Additional information – military service, languages, special computer skills (MS Word doesn’t count), licenses or certifications
An effective resume is…
  • Relevant: the information you provide should communicate transferable skills and experience.
  • Compelling and concise: it gives a snapshot of you and the kind of worker you are in a way that makes the reader want to know more. Like a good movie trailer, it doesn’t tell you every single thing, but it motivates you to buy a ticket/offer an interview.
  • Audience-centered: it should be easy for the reader to read and understand. Most resumes are scanned for less than 10 seconds, so make sure that the important stuff is easy to find.
  • Persuasive: convinces them that you are the best person for the position. 
  • Active and quantitative: you should use active verbs to describe your job responsibilities and quantify your achievements wherever possible.
  • Tailored to each job: don’t submit the exact same resume for a job at a non-profit as you would for a job at an investment bank.
  • Clean and consistent: you should use the same formatting throughout. Avoid ornate graphics or headers, and make effective use of white space
Resume Mistakes
  • Underselling yourself:Your job application is not a place for modesty. While you don’t want to exaggerate and claim skills and experience that you don’t actually have, you also don’t want to gloss over achievements that are truly impressive, as some candidates frustratingly tend to do. If you were responsible for raising a large amount of money for a student organization or had your original work published, say so in the clearest possible terms.
  • Failing to quantify achievements: Try to put your achievements in any job or student organization into concrete terms. “Raised 1 million rubles for X charitable organization” is much more effective than “Participated in non-profit organization.” Likewise: “Led a group of 5 interns in the completion of 3 special projects for the Vice President of X department.” If you can’t quantify, at least give specifics: “Delivered presentation on X, Y, and Z for the heads of the company.”
  • Ornate design elements: In addition to taking up valuable real estate on the page and serving as distractions for the reader, graphics and splashy headers often do not translate well across digital platforms.
  • Too much personal information: Some resume advice givers will recommend including personal interests to make you seem well-rounded. Don’t do this. Hiring managers don’t care, and it might even annoy them.
  • Grammatical errors and typos: Make sure your resume is impeccably edited before you send it out. Give yourself enough time to visit the Writing Center or have a trusted friend or advisor look it over.
  • More in-depth chapters about resume and cover letters: How to Write It by Sandra E. Lamb
  • Job skills checklist from the OWL at Purdue: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/626/01/
  • Action verbs: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/543/01/
  • Tone/style in business writing: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/652/1/

*While general guidelines and examples are helpful, it is recommended that you talk to people in your field search for samples of resumes for the specific job that interests you, as there can be some variation from industry to industry.

Other Resources: