Creating a Harvard Resume
Written by Sarah Edwards, Author • Last updated on June 7, 2024

Harvard Resume — Tips and Templates for Success

The Harvard resume template is one of the most structured and professional template formats. It showcases your qualifications — and particularly your academic achievements — in a concise and digestible format. Below, you’ll learn how to use the Harvard resume template to structure your resume and stand out in the hiring process.

What is a Harvard resume?

A Harvard resume is a type of resume that stands out for its clean, professional layout with clearly defined sections. The Harvard resume format was created by Harvard University in order to help graduates of prestigious higher learning institutions showcase their skills and academic achievements. Typically, a Harvard resume template Word document includes the following features:

  • Header: Your name and contact information 
  • Summary: A brief professional summary highlighting key qualifications 
  • Education: Details of academic background, including degrees and institutions
  • Experience: A chronological list of work history, focusing on achievements 
  • Skills: A section dedicated to relevant skills 
  • Additional Sections: Certifications, awards, and volunteer work

There are two major differences between a Harvard resume template and a standard resume. Most notably, a Harvard resume prioritizes accomplishment statements (one-line statements that outline specific achievements). Under the Harvard resume model, each statement should be backed up with quantifiable results. 

For instance, if you say you helped your last employer improve operational efficiency, back up the statement by describing efficiency gains as a percentage or detailing the cost savings they enjoyed as a result of your efforts. 

Additionally, the Harvard resume usually puts the education section before your work experience. This is a direct contradiction to the traditional resume format. However, it demonstrates that the Harvard resume template has slightly different priorities, which include highlighting prestigious educational accomplishments. 

The education section typically includes a bulleted list under each achievement. For instance, if you list your bachelor’s degree, you may include your GPA, minor studies, and any awards/recognition you received (e.g., the dean’s list). 

Benefits of using the Harvard resume format

The Harvard resume format provides several advantages over traditional options, especially if you have significant academic achievements. Some of the key benefits include:


The format’s clean design exudes professionalism, which helps you make a strong first impression. By pairing the Harvard resume template with a crisp, clean cover letter, you can further elevate your odds of landing an interview. 


The Harvard resume template also features clearly defined sections and a logical flow to make the resume easy to read. Hiring managers can quickly scan the document to find out more about you and your credentials. 

That’s not all. The bulleted list format also helps you draw attention to the right areas of your professional and academic experience. You can use hard data to position yourself as a top candidate. 


By organizing content into distinct sections, the Harvard resume ensures that important details are not overlooked. This clarity plays an essential role in effectively communicating your qualifications. 

On that note, it’s important to not be too wordy. The Harvard format relies heavily on bulleted lists, which can promote scannability. However, if your bullet points are too long, it may make the document cumbersome and bloated. Therefore, you must be concise. 

How to structure your Harvard resume

If you want to transform your existing resume to align with the Harvard format, you’ll need to include the following sections: 

The header section is a staple of every resume format. Place your full name at the top of the resume, followed by your phone number, email address, and, if applicable, a personal website or LinkedIn profile. Carefully review your information to ensure there aren’t any typos or errors in your contact details. 


Write a concise summary that highlights your most significant qualifications and career goals. Tailor the messaging and tone to the specific job you’re applying for. Don’t get too wordy, but instead, treat the summary as a sneak peek of the information included in the subsequent sections. 


List your degrees in reverse chronological order, including the name of the institution, degree earned, and dates of attendance. As mentioned above, the Harvard resume template typically includes bullet points for each degree, such as your GPA, honors, awards, or notable coursework you completed. 


Organize your work experience in reverse chronological order. For each position, include your title, company name, location, and dates of employment. Focus on achievements and responsibilities, using bullet points to enhance readability. 


Here is your chance to add in any relevant abilities that make you a strong candidate. You can include technical skills, languages, or soft skills like communication and leadership. 

Additional Sections 

These sections are optional. If desired, include additional information that positions you as a great candidate, such as certifications, awards, volunteer experiences, or professional memberships. 

Tips for writing a Harvard resume

Simply adopting the Harvard resume template can help your application stand out. However, if you truly want to differentiate yourself, it’s important that you:

  • Use Action Verbs: Start each point with a word like “developed,” “led,” or “achieved”
  • Quantify Achievements: Use numbers to support your stated achievements 
  • Use Bullet Points: Use bullet points to make your content easy to skim 
  • Choose the Correct Formatting: Ensure consistent formatting throughout your resume 
  • Tailor Each Resume: Customize your document for each job application

Also, make sure that your Harvard resume compliments your cover letter. A common mistake involves including lots of overlapping information in these two documents. In reality, your resume should be a concise rundown of what you’ve achieved. Conversely, your cover letter gives hiring teams a glimpse into who you are as a person and employee. 

For more tips on writing a great resume, explore our resume articles. You’ll find everything from what not to do in a job application to how you can identify the best content structure for your career field.

Expert Tip:

Customize your professional summary and key sections of your resume for each job application. Tailoring your resume to the specific requirements of a position can significantly increase your odds of getting noticed. Additionally, a customized resume demonstrates you’ve familiarized yourself with the position and company.

Common Harvard resume tips to avoid

It’s easy to make a mistake when completing your resume, especially if you’re using a plug-and-play template. With that in mind, here are some common mistakes to be wary of:

  • Information Overload: Including too much information can overwhelm the reader 
  • Formatting Inconsistencies: Inconsistent fonts, bullet points, and spacing can make your resume look unprofessional 
  • Not Using Keywords: Several companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes — make sure to include relevant keywords to pass an ATS

This is not an exhaustive list of common resume mistakes. Make sure to review resume and cover letter examples for a better look at what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Remember, even seemingly small mistakes can stand out to experienced hiring teams and push your application to the bottom of the pile. 

“By organizing content into distinct sections, the Harvard resume ensures that important details are not overlooked.”

Harvard resume vs. regular resume

Let’s wrap up our Harvard resume guide with a head-to-head comparison with regular resume documents. The Harvard resume differs from traditional job application documents in its structure format and emphasis on educational achievements. Naturally, someone who has graduated from Harvard or another prestigious university will want to highlight this achievement at the very top of their resume.

Additionally, the Harvard resume template leans heavily on bullet points and a skimmable layout. While regular resumes also use bullet points, they don’t incorporate them as heavily into the achievements section of the document. 

For a better comparison of how the Harvard resume PDF compares to a regular resume, explore our resume examples. You’ll find a wide range of examples that you can use as a reference tool when filling out job applications. 

Is the Harvard resume template right for you?

The Harvard resume template can be a valuable addition to your job application tool kit. But remember that a Harvard resume, Word’s free templates, and other generic options aren’t your only choices when creating your resume. 

While the Harvard resume template is a great tool, it’s not the best choice for every job seeker. If you’d like to explore other options, check out Jobseeker’s growing library of cover letter templates and resume templates

Share via:
Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards
A seasoned HR writer with more than a decade of experience, Sarah crafts insightful guides and timely articles that help people grow their skills.

Get ahead of the competition

Make your job applications stand-out from other candidates.

Get started