In the digital age, you resume can easily be lost in translation. Here are some stats from Forbes to give you an idea of how your resume works in compliance with the job market:
1. There were 3.6 million job openings at the end of 2012. About 80% of available jobs are never advertised.
2. The average number of people who apply for any given job: 118. Twenty-percent of those applicants get an interview.
3. Many companies use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50% of applications before anyone ever looks at a resume or cover letter.
4. On average, interviews last 40 minutes. After that, it usually takes 24 hours to two weeks to hear from the company with their decision.
5. What do employees look for before making an offer? About 36% look for multitasking skills; 31% look for initiative; 21% look for creative thinking; and 12% look for something else in the candidate.
6. In the U.S., 42% of professionals are uncomfortable negotiating salary. By not negotiating, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by the time they reach 60.
7. More than half (56%) of all employers reported that a candidate rejected their job offer in 2012.
A basic resume can be submitted for any position but we recommend you arrange your information so it is targeted to a particular job or industry.
General Resume Guidelines
- Your resume should be truthful and error-free. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation are critical.
- Your resume should be no more than two pages in length, but one full page is preferable for young professionals.
- Your resume font size should be between 10 pt and 12 pt. The use of bold, italics, etc. should be consistent throughout your document.
- Run a spell check AND proofread carefully. Have at least two additional people review your resume.
- Your resume is a marketing tool, not a complete job history. Include only the items that will help you get the job you want.
getting started with your resume
Use this resume planner to get started.
Use these Harvard Science and Tech resume templates to get started.
When your resume is ready, schedule a meeting with Dr. Letha Woods at email@example.com.
Create a LinkedIn page.
Create a virtual resume using your LinkedIn information.
Do I include my picture or any other personal information such as my birthday?
No, photos and personal information are not required and may even be considered unprofessional when applying for jobs in the United States.
Do I need an objective?
No, objectives are typically not needed for entry-level candidates. However, if you wish to convey to an employer your specific interest, then you may want to list an objective. Be sure to keep it concise by simply stating the industry or job title and company name.
Do I modify my objective for each position to which I apply?
Yes, an objective should be tailored to each position.
Should I put my GPA on my resume?
Yes, it is recommended if it’s 3.0 or higher, or in any case in which a GPA requirement is stated in the job description and your GPA is at or above the requirement.
Do I include my school address, home address or both?
If seeking full-time employment, it is best to only list the address of the city where you currently live.
Should I list my coursework?
You may list course work that is applicable (skills you want to convey to an employer). List the course title, but not the number. If the course title does not showcase a skill set, you can list your accomplishments with each course. Another option is to add a separate section for your projects in lieu of coursework.
How do I list my research or teaching assistant position?
You may have a separate category for “Research” and “Teaching.” Another option is to list teaching assistant experience in your “Experience” category.
Is it appropriate to have hyperlinks on my resume?
Include the URL of your personal website if you have one, but only if the content is professional and appropriate for employer viewing. Remove any automatic hyperlinks. It is not necessary to include company websites.
How do I direct employers to my digital portfolio?
For some industries, a digital portfolio is required. You should include the URL of your e-portfolio in your resume. You should also include the link to your e-portfolio in your email signature, especially when you connect with industry professionals.
Should I use bullet points or paragraphs when describing work and internship experience?
There are different opinions on this but generally, you will want to use bullet points on your resume. Depending on the style of resume, you may consider using a combination of paragraph and bullets to highlight experience. Check with a Center coach if you have questions.
I completed an internship in one field but have completely different interests now. Should I still list that experience even if it’s unrelated to the new field?
Maybe, if the experience is valuable and you gained transferable skills during the internship that would be relevant to another position.
Can I include experiences that were unpaid?
Yes, list unpaid opportunities same as paid opportunities and be clear about your job title as a volunteer or an intern.
Should I include volunteer experience on my resume?
Yes, you may include volunteer experience on your resume. This may be listed in the “Experience” category or you may have a separate category for “Volunteer Experience” or “Community Involvement.”
What types of activities are appropriate to include on my resume such as intramural sports, Greek membership, cultural organizations?
It’s fine to include all of these types of organizations under “Activities” or “Leadership” if you have held an office. List each in reverse chronological order within the section it appears. If you have many activities that extend your resume beyond one page, then only list the activities where you have developed skills transferrable to the internship or job to which you are applying.
Do I include my leadership roles under the “Activities” section or should I create a “Leadership” section?
Including a “Leadership” section is a good idea to highlight your leadership skills to employers, but either section is acceptable. According to a 2012 employer survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top three attributes 75 percent of employers sought on a resume are: teamwork, leadership, and written communication skills (Job Outlook 2012).
Do I need to list computer skills including social media?
Yes, for general computer skills such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Be sure to include industry specific programs as well. If the internship/job you are applying to involves a communications type role, then you may want to list specific social media platforms. Be mindful to always list those that appear in the job description, if you have those skills.
Do I have to be fluent or proficient in order to list a foreign language?
Only list a language if you feel you are able to communicate with a client in that language. You can distinguish between limited working proficiency, proficient (working knowledge) and fluency (expert). You may also want to distinguish speaking versus writing skills. Consider the verbiage used in the job posting if language skills are included. It is important to be clear about your level of skill as it can easily be determined later in the recruitment process.
Should I list references on my resume?
No, these should be listed on a separate page and sent when requested or brought to the interview.
Should I have different versions of my resume for different industries?
Yes, consider the skills that are important for each industry, then structure your section headings and change your experience descriptions to highlight those relevant skills.
Why is brevity important in your resume writing style?
Employers spend 10 seconds on average scanning resumes, so you want their eyes to focus on your most relevant skills. Starting with strong action verbs helps recruiters envision you “in action” in your past roles.
Why can’t I use personal pronouns (I/me/my/their)?
The resume is supposed to be concise and describe your duties/accomplishments starting with strong action verbs. Flowery language is not suggested since employers only spend 10 seconds on average scanning resumes and will not take the time to review lengthy paragraphs.
What’s the difference between a resume and a CV?
Resumes are for applying to internships and full-time employment. Curricula Vitae are typically longer than two pages and are frequently used to apply for academic or international positions. CVs in foreign countries often contain personal details (birthdate, marital status) that employers are not legally permitted to request in the application process in the United States.
Is it appropriate to have a two-page resume?
It depends on the industry and your experience. Most current undergraduates and recent grads (within two years) should keep their experience on one page. Employers spend 10 seconds scanning these resumes, so you should be as concise as possible. The education sector is one example of an industry where you will find candidates using two- to three-page resumes.
What are the main differences between an entry-level resume and one for an experienced worker?
Entry-level resumes are typically limited to one page and list “Education” at the top of the resume rather than the bottom. Research and teaching resumes may require a Curriculum Vita.
Should I include experiences with religious, Greek or political organizations?
That depends. Your political and religious affiliations are personal and information you may not want to provide to an employer, however, if you gained extensive relevant experience with these organizations, it could be beneficial to include your involvement. When listing accomplishments, be sure to list the terminology of the reader’s industry. (congregation = members, audience; rush = orientation selection; brother = member; party = group).