Tips and Recent Articles
Check out the Cornell Career Guide for lots of great resume writing tips. A functional resume or combination resume is useful for those with varied education and experiences such is typical with CIS Master or MPS students.
How Do I Make Room On My Resume For Soft Skills?
The available real estate on a one page resume is a big issue for some people. Write out your whole story and then keep editing to make it as terse as possible. Sometimes if you rearrange the sentence while adding just a word or two it will more clearly describe your skills, other times you need to add an entire bullet. Sometimes a different bullet will need to be removed to make space. Which bullet point to remove will depend on the job description you are sending it to. This is one reason a resume needs to be tailored for each job description. It takes time but is worth the effort.
If you have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) read it to understand if you need permission to use the company’s name or project title prior to adding it to your resume and other profiles. Please get permission first or otherwise leave the title broad. See example at bottom of this email. The seriousness of properly reflecting your past experiences on your resume is important as you will lose opportunities if you do not take care to clearly articulate your past skills and experience. Some employers may continue to investigate your skills after you are hired and if they find out you have misrepresented any part of your past experience you could be dismissed.
Even if you did not sign an NDA, you should only use the company name, if allowed.
Potential acceptable wordings:
Title: List yourself as a student-title. For example: call yourself a Student Data Analyst if this is the roll you were assigned. If you do not add the student some people may believe that you actually worked at this company when in fact you did not. You cannot state you are a Data Analyst or Data Scientist for XYZ company and list their address.
Location: for project done while a Cornell Student: "Student at Cornell University, Ithaca NY" or leave the location out.
Project: Do not add a project under a heading titled Professional Experience. Make sure it is clear that it is a project experience, capstone experience or call it a current project. You may want to include a section titled, “Relevant Courses and Projects” which prefaces what you are doing correctly.
How to Add Skills without violating the NDA:
List that you did this as a course/final/capstone project at Cornell University (some of you actually work at the University and that could go in the Experience section but for those of you who do not work at the University you would not want anyone thinking you did your project FOR the University. You can see how this gets tricky sometimes...We must clearly let the viewer know that we did not work for xyz company or do an internship or label our skills in this way if we did not actually do this.
List the project according to the project purpose without including the name of the client. “Experimental use of models to define key variables” might be a good title. Listing the skills we gained while doing the project, not who we did our project for, is what is important. While it may be tempting to include the name of the client we are doing our project for, as it sounds impressive, it is not what is most important. Showing an employer how our skills align with their needs is what is important. Prior to saying who the project is for you MUST first: ensure you have permission from the employer and second: ensure it is properly displayed on your resume clearly outlining it as a project not a work history or paid experience or internship. By misleading an employer or others (even if unintentionally) you harm your reputation, the MPS Program, and that of the University.
Recently, one client noticed the project experience was misleading on both a students' LinkedIn account and on the resume the client viewed. The client further expressed concern that perhaps even the NDA the student signed may have been violated because of including the name of this client on the resume and on LinkedIn.
Although coursework and the final projects contain applicable skills to add to your resume these have to be written in such a way that it does not mislead anyone. It needs to be clear your experience was a Cornell project not a project for a particular client or employer. If you are planning to include the client (name of business) whom you are doing the MPS project you need to ensure you have their permission and if you signed an NDA that it does not violate it. Yes, this is repeated information because it is important. Understand the NDA and ask the client if you are not sure.
Remember that portraying your experiences properly, including quantification where appropriate, and updating your resume to reflect your skills as they relate to a job description are not only very important they are necessary.
Articles to help broaden the project experience if it falls under an NDA.
Example taken from a past student’s resume which could satisfy the NDA. The student did not name the company nor tell exactly what the project was while clearly illustrating what tasks and skills he/she used on the project:
CURRENT CONSULTING PROJECT
Final Project for MPS Project, Ithaca, NY December 201x – May 201x
Analyze longitudinal ICD-9 and CPT Medicare claims data to characterize Alzheimer’s patients and their healthcare resource utilization
Clean, evaluate, transform, and manipulate multiple datasets of sizes between eight and twenty–two million records
Perform a range of statistical and data analyses to provide unique, actionable insights into the Alzheimer’s population and quantify the potential impact of interventions to treat or delay disease progression