By Kristin Roth Associate Director of Admissions, Evaluation
Your resume is a concise and compelling representation of your work impact, skills, interests, and community involvement. A well-crafted resume highlights specific meaningful aspects of your experience. Our goal with this guide is to help you translate your experience for others, using the resume as a vehicle.
Experience. This should take up the bulk of your resume. Approach this section as an opportunity to showcase results and accomplishments from your career to-date.
List employer(s’) name(s), position(s) held, including job title, and dates of employment.
Use reverse chronological order, i.e., your most recent position first. If you held several positions with the same employer, break out those positions and accomplishments in reverse chronological order.
For every position held, organize your bullets from most important to least. Think carefully about what makes an accomplishment significant and focus on the outcomes that had the greatest impact rather than the ones that took the longest to achieve.
Write about your achievements. You do not need to repeat your job description.
Describe the context in which your work was done (i.e., resource constraints, deadlines, declining market share, etc.).
Composing effective bullet points for the experience section of a resume is the most challenging part of the resume writing process. A way to approach this is to structure the bullets as a verb + result + action/skills. Formatting bullets according to this structure will show the reader what problem you addressed, what actions you took, what results you achieved, and possibly what skills you developed in the process. Here are two examples of well-structured bullet points:
Developed audience expansion strategy for gaming products by assessing consumer adoption trends, competitive offerings, and emerging technologies.
Grew revenue by 20% year over year by leading a team of five members located in Canada and Germany through strategic planning and execution to optimize client’s return on investment.
Education. This section of your resume is just as important as the experience section and is used for the same purpose—to showcase your achievements and transferable skills. This is your opportunity to show more than just the school(s) you attended.
Unless you are currently pursuing your degree, position the Education section below the Experience section.
Include all relevant education in this section: undergraduate, master’s degree, and study abroad programs.
Specify your major(s) and minor(s), dates of attendance, degree(s) received, and academic distinctions (Dean’s List, cum laude, etc.).
Include merit-based awards, positions, athletic involvement, and significant activities, especially if you held/hold leadership roles.
Personal/Other. This section rounds you out as an individual beyond your professional and academic accomplishments. It provides a glimpse into a more “informal” side of your profile, and our interviewers will often ask interview questions about statements in this section.
This is a good place to include language abilities, community service, professional memberships or societies, professional designations (CFA, CPA, etc.), extracurricular activities, and unique interests.
Whenever possible, list specific interests. For example, instead of “baking and reading,” write “mastering sourdough bread baking and reading about Baroque composers.”
Format and Appearance. Below are some general tips to help organize and structure your resume’s appearance. Your final goal should be a resume that is one page long and easy to read.
Position locations flush right
Position employment period(s) flush right, underneath the locations
Use reverse chronological order within each section, listing most recent position(s) and/or activities first
Organize information into easily digestible bullet points
Keep your bullet points to one or two lines
In the experience section, start each bullet point with an action verb in past tense (e.g., Executed, Headed, etc.)
Use concise, focused language
Emphasize results (quantitative or qualitative) when possible; results give your reader a better understanding of the scope of your work and how it contributed to an organization