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Levett Career Center

Questions to Ask your Résumé

Greetings, all!


Recently, I read an interview with a person in his final year of his MBA program at Harvard Business School, who said that of all the tasks he had done at Harvard, the hardest was perfecting his résumé. While the whole purpose of your résumé is short-term: to land you good interviews, it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of this document in a successful job search. To help you assess the strength of your résumé, ask yourself the questions below. To help you make distinctions between great and poor answers to these questions, see my résumé rubric (PDF).  It also provides lots of information about résumés and some examples.  I'd be glad to critique yours when it's ready!


All the best,
Margaret Krantz
Career Center Director


Questions to Ask your Résumé


Résumé Content


* Does your résumé make your career goal clear, highlighting specific related skills, experience, and traits?
* Does it use related key words frequently and effectively?
* Are your verbs strong, active, and related to your goal?
* Does your résumé emphasize 1-2 key related skills, restating them 2-3 times with varied language in order to pound home the most important points?
* Does your résumé include 3 or more strong accomplishments from past experience to show that you make a positive impact no matter what the setting?


 Résumé Format


* Do your headings showcase your strengths while also matching the job requirements?
* Does your résumé's organization clearly convey the relative importance of items, prominently featuring the most important items near top and left?
* Do your verb tenses match your ending dates, putting tasks with an end date in past tense, and those you date as  " - present" in present tense?
* Does your résumé effectively highlight key ideas with bold and bullets?
* Does it use well-chosen, clear, and easy-to-read fonts?


Résumé Mechanics


* Does your résumé fill the page effectively, conforming to the length standard in industry?
* Do you avoid all errors, using consistent punctuation and explaining acronyms?
* Do you avoid unnecessary articles and pronouns and omit personal information?
* Do you use reverse chronological order to your advantage in order to push the most relevant items into prominent locations?
* Do you provide clear contact information?