The Isenberg Resume Guide for MS and Specialized Master’s Students
Your story and your internship or job candidacy begin with your resume. This guide describes how to think about, draft, and design an Isenberg-branded resume that tells your story in bold, confident language and compelling detail. Producing your Isenberg resume is an essential part of your career toolkit. Read on for details, and congratulations for taking this important first step!
Step 1: Start with Headings, Contact Info, and Education
Heading and Contact Information
- Your resume’s heading should include your full name (bolded and 1-2 point sizes larger than the rest of the content in this section), one phone number, one email address, and a customized LinkedIn URL
- Ensure that all information in this section is visually balanced
- At the top of your resume, list both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Isenberg School of Management, along with your month and year of expected degree completion
- Cite your GPA if it’s 3.0 or higher or academic honors you’ve earned
Visit our resume page for blogs, resources, guides, and LinkedIn Learning courses to help you get started! You can also make an appointment with a Career Coach for help with your resume.
Step 2: Craft Your Experience Section
What is an experience section?
Your experience section should list in reverse chronological order all your work experience, including paid or unpaid internships. Also include job titles, work locations, and dates of service. Make sure to cite these items for every entry in this section.
Use detailed bulleted descriptions to highlight your most relevant skills and emphasize the contributions you made to the organization, not merely the tasks you performed. Bullets should lead with strong action verbs. Use the present tense for current accomplishments and the past tense for completed accomplishments. However, you may use the past tense to describe completed assignments or projects in a current role.
All your experiences and activities should be expressed with descriptive bullets that employ the SMART method. SMART bullets are:
- Specific and use clear, precise language to describe your role
- Measurable in that they refer to the quantifiable results you produced
- Achievement-oriented, meaning they highlight successes rather than mere tasks
- Relevant to aspects of your work that include transferrable skills
- Time-bound and convey whether you’re able to stick to a schedule and meet deadlines
Answer: Focus on broadly applicable and transferable skills. Understand that much of what we do is relevant. Customer service while working for Target is very much like customer service at EY, Wayfair, or Fidelity. True, the task might be different, but the principle is very much the same. Customer service, communication, teamwork, training, time management all are relevant skills that you should highlight in your bulleted descriptions relevant to my major or future career?
Step 3: List Relevant Projects, Leadership, and Skills
Incorporating project experience into your resume demonstrates your practical application of technical skills and knowledge. This showcases your ability to work effectively in real-world scenarios, solving problems, meeting deadlines, and collaborating with others. It provides concrete evidence of your accomplishments, highlighting your contributions and impact. Project experience can include academic and program-specific projects, research projects, and relevant independent projects.
Leadership Involvement & Associations
Discuss with a career coach whether adding Leadership Involvement is necessary to include as it relates to your program and career interests. If so, cite your extracurricular involvement including clubs, professional or industry associations, sports, volunteerism, community, and civic engagements, along with your titles, and dates of service. However, if you already listed the organization or activity elsewhere, don’t repeat that information here.
Again, use bullets to call attention to transferrable knowledge and skills not addressed elsewhere and be sure to note any leadership positions held.
This section is for computer and language skills only. Don’t list skills such as communication, collaboration, or customer service. Those are best reflected in your SMART bullets.
Include technical, software, programming, licenses, and certifications. Be sure to indicate if you are highly proficient in one type of software (especially if it’s relevant to the position).
Proficiency or fluency in a second language is highly desirable. Make sure to indicate your level of proficiency (e.g., conversational, proficient, and fluent).
In certain instances you may want to consider adding a third category to your Skills section. For example, if you have a certification in project management and are pursuing a position to which that certification is relevant, consider adding a “Certifications” category and citing this credential.
Consider expanding your education section by describing relevant coursework and topics studied. Also, explore skills and experiences that are relevant to your future career.
Step 4: Polish Your Resume with Formatting
Isenberg employers have worked with the school to develop a resume organization and format that delivers the most important information as directly and efficiently as possible.
A professionally formatted resume makes the content easy to skim and understand – an essential feature for readers, who typically spend about 5-6 seconds reviewing your resume before deciding if they want to read more. It is also important to note that a plain text format adheres to standards set for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and ensure your resume is not filtered out.
|Margins||1.0″ is standard but you may reduce to 0.5″ as needed|
|Spacing||Be consistent before/after headings, job entries, dashes, and periods|
|Fonts||Use just one: Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial, or Tahoma|
|Point Size||10-12 point main text is standard; headings may be slightly larger|
|Dashes||Be consistent: “—” vs. “–” (note: “-” is a hyphen, not a dash)|
|Bullets||Round bullets are best; do not use sub-bullets|
|Styles||Use bold, italics, underline, ALL CAPS to create a sense of visual hierarchy|
|File Type||Save your resume as a PDF to lock in formatting before submitting it|
Typos, Errors, and Inconsistencies
Your resume must be error-free. Readers generally have many resumes to review. Often these are from candidates who’ve taken similar classes, held similar positions, and have similar qualifications. One way resume readers decide between candidates is by looking at the production value of the resume itself.
If your resume contains typos, errors, or inconsistencies, it may indicate carelessness, lack of focus, or insufficient effort as a candidate. Review both the content and formatting of your resume carefully in order to reduce the risk of rejection.
ATS- How to format for Applicant Tracking Systems
The applicant tracking system (ATS) is a unique type of software utilized by large organizations to streamline and assist in the recruitment process. Resume-reading robots scan your documents to determine whether you have the key skills for the position.
Tips for Outsmarting an ATS
Simple Headers: While resumes should include some personal touches, headers are not the place to do it. Use straightforward terms such as “Education,” “Work History,” “Professional Experience,” or “Job Skills.”
Clean Format: Take care to make the format and layout of your resume simple in order to prevent any errors or miscommunication. Do not include graphics, which are not processed in the same way as text.
Keywords/Phrases: ATS software will not take into account all the words in your resume, so try your best to anticipate what the software is looking for. Include occupation-related phrases such as “leading a team” or “profit and loss”
Industry-Specific Jargon: Using relevant industry language can also give your resume an edge over the competition. This jargon can give you the appearance of professional experience and familiarity with the job’s requirements.
Appendix: Additional Resources and Resume Samples
Writing SMART Bullets Exercise
As you reflect on your past and current experiences, think about what you did, why you were doing it, and where you added value or made an impact. Use descriptive language to illustrate your contributions and accomplishments.
By going through this exercise, you’ll capture the key pieces of information from a specific experience. Record your responses to the questions and prompts below, elaborating on the learning and impact of your experiences. Click on each of the items below for questions, skill examples, and sample language that you can use to draft your impact bullets.
Write down a few of your current and past experiences, then for each, answer the following questions:
- What are you specifically doing?
- Why are you doing it?
- Who is it important to? Why?
- Did you resolve problems? What were they? How did you do that?
- Did you engage with customers? Other teams?
- Were you given additional responsibilities?
- Did you train or supervise anyone?
- Did you lead a project or take initiative on your own?
- Did you do research? Produce a report? Or recommendations?
- Were decisions made?
- What were the results?
- What was the impact of your work?
Considering your recent experiences (job, internship, volunteering, study abroad, research, fellowship, job shadow, etc.), what tasks and responsibilities were you responsible for?
Write down at least 5 examples.
As you write your bullets, you’ll want to be specific and descriptive. This helps tailor your resume to the role you’re applying for and shows why you are uniquely qualified.
Use the following in each of your bullet points:
- Industry terms
Use measurable results to showcase the positive impact you had. Here are some terms you can use to describe the results you achieved:
Employers want to see that you have the skills needed to succeed in their workplace. Consider the following list and write down specific examples of how you’ve put these skills into action.
Action Verb Bank
Using clear and descriptive actions verbs is essential to crafting bullets that effectively showcase your skills and experiences. Be sure that you’re using a variety of verbs without repeating too often. Utilize the same or similar action verbs in your resume that you see listed in the description of the internship or job to which you are applying. Click on each of the categories below to find action verbs that are relevant to your experiences and career goals.
Associations, Certifications, and Software
|MSA||• Massachusetts Society of CPAs|
• American Institute of CPAs
|• Certified Public|
• Certified Management
• Certified Fraud
• Certified in Financial
• Certified Global
|• MS Excel Power BI|
• MS Teams
• MS Access & PowerPoint
• CaseWare IDEA
• BNA Bloomberg
• RIA Checkpoint
|MSBA||• Project Management Institute (PMI)|
|• Certified Associate in Project|
• Project Management
• Tableau Desktop Specialist
• Google Analytics IQ
• Amazon Web Services (AWS)
|• Python, R, VBA, Swift|
• DBMS and DW: Teradata
• MS Excel w/Power BI
• MS Project
• SAP BO Analysis
• SAP Predictive Analytics
• Data Modeling
|MF||• Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst|
• CFA Institute
|• Bloomberg Certified|
(4 parts completed)
• Chartered Alternative
Investment Analyst (CAIA)
• Chartered Financial
|• BNA Bloomberg|
• Python, R
• MS Excel w/Power BI
• MS PowerPoint
• STATA, SAS
• Financial Modeling
• Monte Carlo Simulations
|MS in Sport Management||• The North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM)||• Tableau Desktop Specialist|
• Salesforce Certificate
• Adobe Certified Associate/
Adobe Certified Professional
• Google Career Certificates
• Python, R
• MS Excel w/Power BI
• MS PowerPoint
• MS Teams
• Adobe Creative Cloud Suite
Customize Your Resume
How to Beat the ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used by recruiters and employers to track a candidate’s job application throughout the recruiting and hiring process, making it easy for businesses of any size to filter, manage, and analyze potential candidates. Learn how to ensure your resume is successfully received and processed by employers.
Click below to preview and download sample resumes that will show you the appropriate formatting, bullet point structure, and tailoring for a variety of focus areas.
*Note: ALWAYS tailor resumes to your experiences, skills, and the position/company you’re applying for.