The most common thing we get asked for is resume help. We are happy to check (and recheck) your resume for free. However, please read through this first so it’s in the best shape it can be. If we see these errors, we are just going to redirect you here. If you don’t have these errors, send it to us in a Google doc, so we can redline it and add comments for you.
We will help you edit your resumes until they’re perfect, but we’re trying to teach you how to do this yourself, not just do it for you. We don’t think you should have someone else write your resume for you because a resume is just an extension of your personality and should highlight the experiences you value. A great place to start is Microsoft Word, which has some pretty good templates. We’ve also included some templates on this page to help you out.
For what skills to highlight in your resume, see here.
- Do have your name at the top with one email address, one phone number, and address (if you must) in the header.
- Do include your LinkedIn link. Tips on profiles here.
- Describe the current position you’re in with bullet points starting with present tense verbs like “Identify,” “Research,” “Write,” etc.
- Describe older positions with bullet points starting with past tense verbs like “Identified,” “Researched,” “Wrote,” etc.
- Capitalize the first word and nothing else that isn’t a proper noun. Here are capitalization tips if English is not your first language: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/
- Do make sure you include certifications, internships, clubs you were a part of, awards you received in college, etc.
- Do put everything on there. The advice to not do this is BAD ADVICE. I once spent an entire law firm interview talking about my figure-skating experience. Employers like to see that you are unique, multifaceted, and knowledgeable.
- Do make it reverse chronological.
- Do show your soft skills in your bullet point descriptions of your duties at previous jobs.
- Do use keywords in your resume, based on what people in your job want to see.
- Do put your experience first and your education second, unless you just graduated.
- Save it as a .pdf named First Name Last Name Resume.pdf.
- Use Times New Roman or another font like this.
- Expand any abbreviations in school names people won’t know. (UC Berkeley and IIT Bombay are fine; other three/four-letter school acronyms are not.) When in doubt, expand.
- Do not have your birth-date, marital status, parents’ names, social security or passport or other identification numbers, sexuality, or anything else. It’s no one’s business.
- Do not have an “Objective” section at the top of your resume. It’s outdated and not helpful. If a job requires it, make sure your objectives are extremely specific and tailored to the job you’re applying for.
- Do not have a “Skills” section that includes a summary of everything + soft skills. You can have “Relevant Background” if you have a lot of relevant skills, or list languages/programming languages you speak at the bottom. Skills do NOT include “kindness,” “teamwork,” “willing to work long hours,” or anything else like that. That has to shine through your descriptions of your positions, your coverletter, and your interview.
- Do not include anything before college unless it’s professional experience (for example, I include my research experience, but not that I graduated valedictorian). It doesn’t matter how impressive it is. No one cares. Only include high school if you haven’t gone to college.
- Do not use words like “detail-oriented,” “team player,” “hard worker,” etc.
- Do not put political experience unless you have to (you are in political science/campaigns, etc.)
- Do not put your references, a statement testifying that the resume is accurate, or say “references available upon request.”
- Do not put your photo on your resume. Or, if you must, make sure it’s professionally shot and on a one-color background.
- Do not go below a 10 point font (and 10 point should just be for dates or locations or other very secondary information).
- Do not have more than four bullet points for each experience.
How long should your resume be?
If you’re just out of school or have been working for <10 years, one page.
If there are no requirements and you have a lot of experience or extraordinary circumstances, up to two pages. That’s it. My resume is only two pages and you’ll be surprised how much you can fit in this length.
If you are sure your industry accepts more pages (such as when you apply for an academic position at a university), then it can be longer.
This should be obvious, but fill the page. You can talk about relevant clubs you were a part of at university or you can add more bullet points to what you did at your jobs. But do not have half the page blank.
Should your resume be creative?
This depends on how much is in your resume and the industry. There is so much in my resume that I can’t make it that creative and keep it within two pages. Prioritize information not creativity. However, if you have the space to make it creative, a resume that has some color can really help you stand out.
Do not copy any of these. Your resume is an extension of your personality and your accomplishments. You should use these for inspiration, perhaps choose a Word template, and then spend a day creating something you like that you’re proud of.
A sample resume we created based on the model used at the UC Berkeley Haas Business School
More creative resume! But don’t have a Profile section. (This resume is from KickResume.com)
Clean and simple! (From cultivatedculture.com)
Here are some awesome resume templates. (They’re Word documents you can edit!) We hope this helps. They get more creative to the right – you can add graphics/colors if you want!