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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

Harvard CV Example & Writing Guide

Your career profile is unique so you need a format that gives you options. A Harvard CV will impress recruiters by allowing you to put your best foot forward. The example and writing guide below offers hints and tips for creating a CV that lands you that coveted interview.
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Harvard CV Example & Writing Guide
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When you jump into the job market, you want to impress from the start. Choosing the correct information to highlight and exactly how to do it can make all the difference in whether you are granted an interview. A Harvard CV allows you the freedom to organise your data in the best possible manner for you.

When you’re staring at a blank screen and aren’t sure where to start, head over to the experts such as Resume.io. Use our CV guides and CV examples for 65+ professions, and our easy-to-use CV builder to help you get on your way to creating the Harvard style CV that gets you noticed. This CV guide, along with the corresponding Harvard CV example will cover the following topics:

  • What is a Harvard CV?
  • How to write a Hardvard style resume (tips and tricks)
  • The best format for a Harvard CV
  • Advice on each section of your CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • Professional CV layout and design hints.

What is a Harvard CV?

A Harvard style CV gives you the freedom to reorder your information in any way you see fit. A traditional CV begins with a header followed by a summary, work history, skills and education sections, but in this style of CV, you may move those sections around.

If you, for example, went to Harvard or a similarly esteemed university, you may want to place that at the top of your CV. (Perhaps this is where the Harvard CV template got its name.) This is especially true if you are applying for your first job or know that your degree is desired in the position you seek.

How to write a Harvard CV 

Although a Harvard CV may offer flexibility, there are some non-negotiables. You must include certain sections and may add others. The necessary components of your CV are:

  • The CV header
  • The employment history section
  • The CV skills section
  • The education section

Most CVs include a summary or professional profile, but a CV in Harvard style may forgo this section to save space for other career highlights.

Expert tip

Additional categories

If you have had a distinguished academic career, you may want to add an honours section that lists all your awards. Another option is an element that lists all your affiliations or academic club memberships, especially if they are related to your career.

In mid-career? Consider adding an awards or accolades section that highlights your highest professional accomplishments.

Choosing the best format for a Harvard CV

Yes, the Harvard CV is a specific format, however, you have options within that format, including the order in which you list your achievements. We recommend reverse chronological order for listing degrees and positions within your sections, no matter how you arrange each element within your document.

The key to the Harvard style CV is deciding what is most impressive and what you want recruiters to notice at their first glance. By prioritising information at the top of your CV, you are telling hiring personnel what you believe are the most important aspects of your career so far. To help you perfect this art, be sure to look at our expertly-written CV example too.

CV header

A Harvard CV template starts with a prominent header. The header serves two purposes:

  1. Provides all the contact information a recruiter needs to schedule your interview
  2. Allows for a subtle design element that lends a visual image to your otherwise highly structured CV

Choose a design that focuses attention on your name without getting garish. Include your current title or the title of the job you want, your address and your best contact email and phone number. Also add any professional social media accounts you have, such as LinkedIn, if they are up-to-date. Those in creative professions should also add a link to a portfolio, easily accomplished with Resume.io’s CV builder.

CV summary example 

A Harvard CV may begin with a summary, also known as a profile, that offers the best of your career and lets the hiring personnel know why you want the position and what your expertise will bring to the job. This overview sets the tone of your CV.

Because it is the only section written in full sentences, you have the opportunity to give a glimpse of your personality and explain your professional philosophy. You can also address your prospective employer directly by pointing out why the company is appealing to you.

Adaptable summary CV sample

Dedicated, hardworking, and committed to becoming a dependable and valuable team member.

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Our additional writing material will give you further inspiration for this freeform section: 

Employment history sample

One benefit of a Harvard CV is that if you are just beginning your career journey, you can minimise your employment history section by pushing it to the bottom of this one-page document. You can maximise its impact by moving it up and allotting it more space.

For new entrants to the job market, we don’t recommend eliminating your work history even if you list an internship or an afterschool job. Employers want to see that you have worked before and have an understanding of what is expected of an employee.

Begin your bulleted items with strong actions you have taken and follow that up with the results you achieved. Favour details and data and avoid broad generalisations. Keep in mind that the recruiter wants to know what you do with your skills that will enhance the company.

Adaptable employment history CV example

Financial Analyst Intern at Morgan Stanley, New York City 
June 2023 - August 2023 

  • Supported the equity research team in creating financial models for prospective investments.
  • Assisted in the preparation of client presentations and collaborated on a project which evaluated market trends in emerging technologies.
  • Conducted competitive analysis, delivering insights which contributed to strategy development.

 

Research Assistant at Harvard Economics Department , Cambridge, MA 
September 2022 - May 2023 

  • Collaborated with Prof. Jane Doe on a project analysing the economic impacts of Brexit on UK SMEs.
  • Utilized statistical tools to analyse datasets and contributed to a paper which was later published in a renowned economic journal.
  • Organized seminars and workshops, coordinating with guest speakers and ensuring smooth logistics.
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CV skills example

The whole point of a Harvard CV is to emphasise the best of your career knowledge, expertise and experience. The skills section does just that in a simple listing of the hard and soft skills in demand by your prospective employer.

Adaptable skills section CV example
  • Critical Thinking
  • Financial Analysis
  • Collaboration
  • Equity Research
  • Economic Analysis
  • Statistical Tools
  • Market Trends
  • Financial Strategy
  • Client Presentations
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Expert tip

Personalise and prioritise

By personalise and prioritise, we mean make sure you address each job as a unique opportunity by adjusting your summary, reworking your skills section and reorganising your bullet items to highlight the requirements of each position.

This strategy tells recruiters you are not cutting and pasting the same CV into each application, but it may also help you overcome the algorithms of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) since you will be organically inserting keywords and phrases important to the job into your document.

CV education example

Bump your education section up to the top of your Harvard style CV if you had an impressive academic career or are just beginning your professional life. This section should be formatted in reverse order and is a simple listing of your degrees. If you have any professional certifications, you may add them here or create a separate section to give them more emphasis.

Adaptable education CV example

Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge 
September 2020 - Present

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CV layout and design

A Harvard CV template typically follows a standard format with the header at the top and your name plus job placements, universities and section headings in bold font. It may employ a colour bar along one side to highlight your contact information, but rarely uses more than one hue. Try one of Resume.io’s expertly-designed templates for your Harvard CV to avoid the difficulties of formatting and ease the layout process.

Key takeaways for a Harvard CV

  1. A Harvard style CV gives you the freedom to organise your career stats for maximum impact.
  2. You know best what aspect of your professional life to highlight, so choose based on your achievements and your knowledge of what your prospective employer wants.
  3. Add sections such as honours or affiliations and minimise or eliminate other elements to put your most impressive accomplishments at the forefront.
  4. Take advantage of the expert resources at Resume.io to make your Harvard CV as strong as possible.
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