What a perfectly written resume looks like

Writing a resume is not hard: There’s a standardized format that shouldn’t be strayed too far from (unless you are in more creative fields).

I’ve realized — after reviewing hundreds and thousands of resumes — that not everyone knows what this standardized format should look like. That’s okay. That’s what this article is meant to help with.

I. Resume Header

Header of resume

This is self-explanatory: All resumes should start with your name and contact info up top.

  • Some candidates choose to include a link to their LinkedIn profile
  • Insider Tip: If you have an international sounding name, it could be beneficial to include up top if you hold a green card / are a US citizen. It’s unfortunate to admit, but I 100% believe that there are candidates often overlooked because the name sounded too ‘foreign’ and the hiring manager just assumed the candidate might need a visa.

II. Work Experience Section

You want to highlight both your most recent work experiences, and also your most relevant work experiences.

  • Insider Tip: Including internship experiences usually holds little weight in your candidacy — Hiring managers will often just gloss over it anyway. The only exceptions to this are if: (1) The internship helps to significantly bolster your candidacy (i.e., prestigious internship at the White House as special advisor to so-and-so, or if you interned at McKinsey and don’t have any other big brand names on your resume to include) (2) The internship is relevant to the role you are applying for (i.e., if you’d interned with an edtech company and are now trying to break back into the space)
Sample consultant’s resume highlighting select case work
Sample banker’s resume highlighting select transaction experience

For consulting and banking backgrounds, it is helpful to select a few projects/deals to highlight, and detail specifically your work and impact in each.

  • I would select projects that highlight the breadth of your skillset, but also make sure to tailor it for the role you are applying for (i.e., if you are applying to a role that wants someone with familiarity in the healthcare space, you’ll want to make sure you flag the relevant healthcare projects you’ve done)
  • I would be able to speak to all my projects I’ve highlighted in detail — as you can be sure hiring managers will want to dive deeper into select experiences
  • Include 2–4 bullets under each project you’ve decided to highlight, and make sure to quantify results and impact whenever possible (i.e., drove $10M+ in cost savings; conducted 80+ customer interviews)

III. Education Section

This section is pretty straightforward.

Education section of resume
  • Highlight your education, include majors and minors, flag any honors or awards or other accomplishments worth highlighting
  • Do not feel the need to include details about your high school — this is unnecessary, and again, I’d only include it if there was something extremely outstanding or impressive to highlight.

IV. Skills / Interests / Other

You’ll get mixed opinions on this, but I’ve always been a fan of adding a few interests onto your resume — Hiring managers want to get to know the type of person you are, what you like to do in your free time, and this is always good conversation feeder.

  • Insider Tip: It’s perfectly fine to just state broad interests (i.e., “Travel”), but the more specific you can be, the easier it is for the interviewer to start a conversation around common topics of interest and to ‘bond’ with you — or be impressed by your interests! (i.e., “Travel — 35+ countries and counting”, “Travel — most recently: Thailand, Mexico, Patagonia”)

You’ll also want to use this section as a chance to showcase your skills (usually technical skills or language proficiencies).

Co-Founder @ Opus Search. Ex-McKinsey.