Yale Undegraduate Career Services

Resumes

Review the accompanying guidelines and examples to get started. UCS Career Advisers and Peer Advisers are available to assist you with developing and polishing your resume during walk-in or regular appointments. Resume resources for alumni are available below.

Student and Recent Graduate Overview

Your resume is one of many tools to help you express your interest in specific job and internship opportunities. The purpose is to provide a snapshot of your education and experiences, giving the reader a concise picture of what you have to offer. Your resume is, in a sense, an advertisement of yourself.

Review the Student and Recent Graduate Resume Samples and the General Guidelines below to assist you in developing your resume. Have your resume reviewed by a UCS Career Adviser prior to submitting it.

Prepare

Effective Resumes and Cover Letters Workshop

Effective Resumes and Cover Letters Workshop

Your resume and cover letter will be your first opportunity to make a positive impression. This presentation will provide information on writing impressive and impactful resumes and cover letters. Watch the presentation.

General Guidelines

Heading

  • Your heading should include your name, campus and/or home address, phone number, and Yale email address. The font size on your name may be larger than the rest of the text.

Education

  • Begin your resume with an education section, listing your Yale degree first and your high school education second. If you have studied abroad you may also list that in this section.
  • Include the degree you are pursuing, your major, and anticipated graduation date. If unsure of your major, you may simply state your degree and anticipated graduation date (i.e., Bachelor of Arts, expected May 2014)
  • In addition, you may choose to include related coursework, senior thesis or project, GPA. Honors and awards can also be included in this section or may be their own section.

Experience and Activities

  • You may include general experience and activity headings, or targeted headings, such as Journalism Experience, Leadership, Research, or Community Involvement. Choose headings that will best group and highlight your experiences.
  • Within each section, list your experiences and activities in reverse chronological order with the most recent first.
  • With each experience or activity, include the organization or employer name, your title or role, location, and dates affiliated.
    Example: President, Sustainability Club, Yale University, Fall 2010-Present
  • Provide concise explanations of your experiences and activities, focusing on accomplishments and results. Begin these descriptive statements with strong action verbs and avoid using personal pronouns. Resume Action Verbs (PDF)

Additional Sections

Below are some common additional sections that you may choose to include.

  • Skills (such as Computer, Language, or Laboratory skills)
  • Honors and Awards
  • Performances
  • Publications
  • Interests

Formatting

  • Font size should be between 10-12 points; choose professional and easy to read fonts. Margins typically range between .5 and 1 inch.
  • In most cases, your resume will be one page. Consult with a UCS Career Adviser if you feel yours needs to be longer.
  • Bold, italics, and bullets can be used in moderation to accentuate and break up content.
  • Resume should be visually appealing and easy to read quickly.
  • Consistency is essential; for example, if you choose to italicize your title and bold the employer name for one experience, make sure you do the same for all experiences.
  • Group your information in a way that places your most relevant and substantial experiences higher on the page to assure they are seen.
  • Avoid spelling and grammatical errors, and do not use abbreviations or slang.

Alumni Overview

Think of your resume as your one-page marketing brochure. Remember that, unlike many marketing brochures which readers leisurely peruse, the average reader of a resume spends about 20 seconds looking it over. To catch a prospective employer’s attention, your resume must be easy-to-read, easy-to-download, succinct, and targeted.

A resume generally has three sections: Education, Experience, and Additional Information. In certain circumstances, a fourth Summary or Objective section may be included. Below are suggestions for writing each section.

  1. Summary / Objective
  2. Education
  3. Experience 
  4. Additional Information

General Resume Tips

  • Keep your resume on one page, if possible (without using microscopic print). Two-page resumes are typically created by professionals with advanced degrees and a great deal of experience.
  • Use reverse chronological order. (Your current status as club president should be listed before last year’s junior day of service project.)
  • Keep the presentation (font, margins) simple and clean. A visually appealing resume makes a stronger impression than a dense, text-heavy one.
  • Send as either a PDF attachment (preferable because can’t be altered) or a Word document (if sending a Word attachment be careful because many organizations might have older versions of Microsoft Word)
  • Be sure your resume reads well on small screens (i-phones and blackberries). 
  • Be sure to proof read several times (read backwards from bottom to top) and ask others to proof read as well.
  • Be consistent – if you spell out January in one section, don’t use Jan. in another.  If you spell out Bachelors of Arts don’t use JD.
  • Do not use pronouns. (i.e., I, my, me, our, we, etc.)
  • U.S. resumes should NOT include personal information such as age, marital status, children, religion, etc.
  • Do not include “References Available Upon Request” as this is understood

I. Summary/Objective

The purpose of the summary is to highlight your accomplishments, the depth of your skills relating to the position, and key factors from your experiences. The purpose of the objective is to express your intentions for submitting your resume and is typically used to clarify which of the positions you are applying for within a company. A summary/objective should be placed immediately following the resume header.

Tip

  • Your summary should be two to four sentences in length

Summary example:

Senior real estate investment manager with seven years of success growing revenue by developing and maintaining key investor relationships. Strong network of high net-worth individuals, family offices, and institutional investors. Solid, broad-based results in marketing commercial assets for sale or lease.

Objective example: 

To obtain a nursing position with the oncology department at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

II. Education

The purpose of the education section is to state your level of education and the institutions you have attended. For recent graduates and current students, this section of your resume will be first on the page (unless you choose to write an objective). After the completion of your first job, your experience will typically be listed first on the page.

Tips

  • If applicable, include an Honors and Awards subheading
  • As a rule, don’t include your GPA unless it is 3.5 or higher
  • If applicable, include an Activities or Leadership subheading
  • If you studied abroad, list name of school, location, year, and subject studied

III. Experience

The purpose of the experience section is to show past and present experience, developed skills, and accomplishments. For recent graduates and current students, this section will typically follow your education section.

Tips

  • Experience does not have to be paid experience
  • Start each description with an action verb
  • Be sure to use the past tense for previous experience
  • Highlight the aspects of your experience that would be most valued by a prospective employer. For example, if 10% of your finance job is marketing, and you are looking to move into a marketing role, highlight your marketing--not your finance--experience first. 
  • Put yourself in your ideal prospective employers shoes: think about what they are looking for as you review your experience and then describe it in a way that most closely fits their needs (use the job description as a guide, and be sure to include key words/terms from the job description to make it past any software screens)
  • Focus on Results and Accomplishments – quantify as much as possible (e.g., created marketing campaign that improved sales 20%). If you can’t quantify results in numbers, explain results qualitatively (i.e., revamped in-patient process which resulted in enhanced experience for clientele).
  • Avoid excessive industry jargon, and only use abbreviations if they are widely recognized.  If you are looking to change careers, be sure your description of your past experience is in language that will be understood by those in the field into which you wish to move. 

IV. Additional Information

The purpose of the additional information sections is to show additional aspects of candidacy outside of academics and experience. This section typically will be listed last on your resume.

Additional Sections May Include the Following:

  • Licenses or certifications
  • Language proficiency (if you state, “Fluent in French,” you must be able to conduct an interview in French; otherwise state, “Advanced French”)
  • Meaningful extra-curricular activities – especially ones that require a significant time commitment or are especially meaningful to you (i.e., compete in triathlons, treasurer of children’s not-for-profit group, etc.)
  • Interests – if you elect to include personal interests, make them as specific as possible (i.e., not enjoy movies, reading, and travel)