How to Write a Resume That Stands Out

You finally found it! The perfect job for you. Now, all you have to do to get the process started is to submit your resume. The problem is that hundreds of your peers are probably thinking exactly the same thing. How do you stand out?

You finally found it! The perfect job for you. Now, all you have to do to get the process started is to submit your resume. The problem is that hundreds or even thousands of your peers are probably thinking exactly the same thing about exactly the same job. So how do you create a one-page document that will make you and your accomplishments stand out from the crowd?

Your resume is a key part of the job application process: it is the first document that an employer reviews to determine whether they will interview and eventually employ you. Remember that employers often have very limited time to perform this duty. Crafting a strong resume really matters!

Resumes communicate who you are and what you have accomplished. They may be the only document an employer sees to evaluate your record before making a decision to move forward with your application, or they may be used in conjunction with resources like LinkedIn or professional networking profiles and/or a cover letter. A resume that “stands out” in a positive way is one that has been written thoughtfully, clearly and concisely, effectively communicating your abilities and strengths in a very brief space.

Six basic tips will help you build an outstanding professional resume. Note that resumes may vary by professional field (e.g. engineering vs. non-engineering), by location or by other factors such as professional degree. These tips are designed around some of the most common sections and most useful points for resumes across different types.

Tip 1: How to Write an Education Section that Stands Out

The education section demonstrates that you have the academic qualifications for the position. The key questions you should ask yourself while writing this section is, “Have I clearly communicated the strongest and most relevant aspects of my educational experience?” The next question is, “Is this section organized in a way that is easily readable by the employer?”

The education section is important for all applicants but may be weighted differently depending on how long it has been since you graduated from a degree program. For instance, an employer may have a different level of interest in the educational history of a college senior, compared to someone who has been professionally working for several years after college. Understanding this fact may influence where you choose to place this section on your resume.

In general, you should include all of the higher education that you may have had, including undergraduate, graduate, or professional schooling.  You may also consider including online courses, certificates, and completed programs through companies like Coursera. Most people list their experiences in an order called reverse chronological, meaning that they list the most recent experience first, and work backwards down the page.

For each listed school, provide the full name of the school or online program, the years of your attendance, your major or majors, if applicable, as well as a minor if applicable. Include the type of degree received (e.g. a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science) and the year of graduation. If you are graduating soon, include the month and year of graduation so employers know when you will be available to work. If you have studied abroad, include the institution, program of study, and any relevant coursework.

You may want to include which semesters you qualified for special academic recognition, if any.  Other special awards, scholarships, or competitive grants can also be listed in this section. If you have non-academic awards, such as for sports or community service, you may choose to create a separate section of your resume for honors and awards.

Tip 2: How to Make the Experience Section Stand Out

Along with education, your experience is one of the most important ways to show that you are qualified for a position. Use this section to clearly convey your strongest professional experiences, whether paid or unpaid. Be sure to give detailed aspects of your roles and responsibilities for each listed position. Emphasize any relationships or similarities between your past experiences and the job you want. You should also include the start and end dates of your involvement with each organization, and any key accomplishments from the role. Don’t forget to include where the company is located, including city and state/province, or even country if different from your home country.

Ask yourself: while involved with the company, did I win any awards, get any special recognition, make new discoveries, start a new program? If so, what happened and what were the results? Quantify your experiences when you can! As the expression goes, “Show don’t tell.” In other words, you can more effectively convey a point by giving concrete examples, rather than through vague descriptions. Consider the following examples.

Instead of:

Improved worker productivity significantly, leading to recognition from upper management.

(A resume reader may ask: What does ‘improved’ mean? What does recognition mean? How much have you improved it by?)

Improved quarter returns by 25%, exceeding projections and leading to the Top Manager Award, given to only one manager in the company per year.

When it comes to language, be honest about your job functions while thinking of professional ways to present your experiences.

Sometimes people fall into a trap of thinking that their job or internship experience won’t sound impressive enough to list. The job may have felt like “sitting at a desk, answering the phone.” True, but you may have been performing other responsibilities or developing useful job-related skills without realizing that you were!

When you were at a desk, were you at the FRONT desk? Were you the only person or the main person in this position? Were you overseeing anything while you were sitting there? Were you the sole person responsible for any tasks? Did you have to learn how to deal calmly and confidently with any customer issues? Did people occasionally ask you to take on additional responsibilities, even for a short time?

It is fair to say that a person sitting at a front desk, may have been MANAGING the front desk, or even managing the desk when the person’s boss was away. Time during which an individual is placed in charge of a business or an office, even if for a limited time, can convey responsibility to a prospective employer.

Look at your accomplishment bullet and ask yourself:

  • What did I do in the job?
  • Using what?
  • To what extent or impact?

Sometimes you may need to pare down your list in order to avoid making your resume too lengthy. Try to select the accomplishments based partly on how impressive they are and partly on how well they relate to the position you want. To describe your experience, always use more than one sentence or bullet. That said, word economy in your bulleted descriptions is also important. Try to keep each bulleted description or sentence to one or two lines at most. You can often rephrase a description, eliminating words while keeping the meaning. The more information you can present clearly and concisely within the short resume format, the more the employer will understand what you can do for them.

Remember that by providing relevant details in each statement of your experience, you will give the employer enough information to evaluate you and also provide them with ideas of what they might want to discuss with you in an interview.

Tip 3: How to Create a Leadership and Activities Section that Stands Out

For many people, especially students and recent graduates, a Leadership & Activities section can be a fantastic differentiator for your resume. If you have not been in the workforce for long, or if you have only worked summers and part-time, then you may not have much relevant content to add to your Experience section. A strong Leadership & Activities section can help you fill that gap while also telling an employer something about you as a person.

When creating the section, you should first consider what student organizations and activities you would want to include. Then, you should consider what you would want to write about each one. In general, this section is much like the Experience section, except that it is about what you have done in a personal, rather than professional, setting.

Of course, because student organizations and activities are personal, you should be careful about which ones you choose to list; they should be appropriate to a professional setting. For example, you should probably not choose to share that you were chosen “Top Drinker” of your college’s “Beer Keg of the Day” club. On the other hand, if you volunteered at a food bank, wrote for a school publication, or had a membership in an honor society, those accomplishments would be worth sharing.

Most importantly, you should include student organizations and activities where you have made significant contributions or held leadership positions. Just as you did in the Experience section, you should think about what you did in the organization, any responsibilities you had, any skills you used, and any knowledge you gained. If you made improvements to the student organization or activity, definitely include concrete examples. Make sure to consider if any of your experiences with student organizations and activities could be related to the position you are applying for. Could any of the skills you have learned be useful in the job?

Because student organizations and activities can offer students leadership opportunities and experiences that are often limited to experienced professionals in companies, this section is your chance to show not only that you are qualified for the position but that you have even greater potential. Make the most of this opportunity to show the employer what you can do!

Tip 4: How to Highlight Your Skills

Another important component of what defines an attractive candidate in the modern economy is their skill set. Because employers want people who can quickly start being productive, they care about what skills a job prospect has, particularly in certain technical fields. In most cases, skills are incorporated into the Experience section, if you acquired skills as part of your internship or job, and in the Education section, if you obtained the skills through coursework, research, or projects. Sometimes people with additional skills, such as technical skills, foreign language, or certifications obtained outside of university, will place them into a separate section at the end of the resume. Whichever format you choose, you still need to emphasize the skills you have, so that an employer can easily see how you can help them.

You should ask yourself a few important questions. What skills do I have? What skills are my target employers looking for? Are my skills hard skills (i.e. technical, like computer programming) or soft skills, such as the ability to listen?

Make a list! Separate the skills into hard skills and soft skills. What skills are most in demand (on both lists) for the position you are interested in (One good way to decide this is to look at job listings for many similar positions and note how often a particular skill is listed.)? How can you highlight your proficiency in these skills?

Lead with your strongest skills and/or the ones that seem the most marketable. Let’s say you know the programming language Python. How well do you know it? How many years have you used it? Do you have any specialized knowledge and ability that may set you apart from a competing applicant? Do you have demonstrations of your work anywhere for a prospective employer to see?

Here’s an example of a skills entry that might be included into the Experience section:

Programming: 8 years of experience with Python and similar scripting languages, wrote MyFirstPythonProject software available on GitHub

Useful tip: Artists may have portfolios for their artistic work. Examples of appropriate work, such as for coding, may not be a bad idea to have available in addition to a resume!

Even if your field is not technical, you may still have important hard skills. Do you have experience with popular office software, such as Excel, PowerPoint, or Access? Do you know any foreign languages, even at a basic level? Think about not only what might be required in the day-to-day performance of the job, but what other skills could potentially be useful to the employer.

You will want to include all the relevant skills to demonstrate your qualifications, without including too much less-relevant information which could distract from your message. Think carefully about which skills you want to include, and which could be left out. Remember to choose your words economically to maximize content in a minimum of space. With a little effort, your skills details can transform your resume from a simple list of accomplishments to a document that gets an employer thinking about all the great ways you could contribute!

Tip 5: Formatting and Making the Resume Look Professional

Believe it or not, the appearance and organization of a resume can greatly affect the response. The first hurdle for any resume is to get the employer to read it. An attractively presented, concise resume is easy for a recruiter to pick up. On the other hand, if a resume is 5 pages, written in 6-point font, a prospective employer may not think that it is worth the time to find a magnifying glass and read it. In most cases, a resume should not exceed one page (sometimes two pages, mostly for more experienced candidates, or in scientific and technical fields where publication lists can be lengthy), which has a few key sections that are separated from one another or clearly delineated.

Here are some suggestions to make the format stand out positively:

  • Use 10-12-point font or larger. (10 point may even sometimes be too small, and the choice can depend on the chosen font.) Your audience should easily be able to read the size of the writing. Often prospective employers may not have perfect vision, so readability may create problems if the text is too small.
  • Use a clean, professional-looking font. Don’t use fonts that are overly artistic and hinder the ability for the reader to understand them. Some find fonts like Times New Roman most clearly readable; others find competing fonts better. The font is just an aspect of the writing; don’t let it overpower the words themselves.
  • Use respectable margins. Don’t try to deviate too much from 0.5 margins at either side. Also, don’t make the margins too large, beyond 0.75 or 1 unit on either side. Around 1 unit on the top and bottom should be acceptable.
  • Use adequate spacing.
  • Abbreviate months of employment.
  • Include proper contact information. Most people include full name, address, email address and at least one phone number at the top of the document.

Tip 6: Revision and Review 

One of the most important steps to writing a good resume is having others you trust look it over. A small spelling or grammar error on a resume could cause problems by making it seem like you lack attention to detail.

You can start with standard spelling and grammar checking programs. However, while these programs are very helpful, they are not enough by themselves. For example, the programs may not flag errors with homophones (e.g. hair and hare). They also have difficulty with uncommon, technical, or foreign words that may not be in their dictionaries. In addition, they are not looking for formatting inconsistencies or at the overall appearance of the resume. While computer programs can help with many issues, there is still no substitute for the human eye.

Start by printing a copy of your resume and looking for errors and inconsistencies yourself. Then, present copies to others along with a description of the job or educational opportunity that you are applying for. When presenting your resume to others, consider at least two kinds of people: a peer, and an experienced professional or teacher. Each may identify different issues with the resume.

Ask the reviewers to provide two types of notes: technical revisions and feedback on the writing, organization and effectiveness of the resume.

Once you get feedback, discuss it with them for a few minutes. Remember, don’t take constructive criticism personally! They are trying to help you, and their points of view may be similar to that of the employer. Your goal is to create a resume that most people will appreciate.

Once you obtain proper feedback, you can work on improving your resume. Try to incorporate your reviewers’ suggestions. Their ideas may even make you think of other ways to improve your resume! Most importantly, always remember that once you have made your revisions, review your resume again before you send it out!

The stronger your resume, the better your chance of getting an interview and landing a meaningful job. Just by following these simple tips, you will be well on your way to resume success, creating a clear, detailed, and concise document designed to impress employers. So, get writing and get yourself noticed!

A good resume can help you land an interview, but even minor errors can take you out of the running.  Schedule an appointment with a counselor  to ensure it will be effective.

Quick Resume Tips:

  • Use the position description to decide what to include.
  • Pick a standard and consistent format.
  • Describe your experiences with specificity and strong action verbs.
  • Record accomplishments and contributions, not just responsibilities.
  • Revise carefully!
  • Don’t include personal information about your age, religion, health or marital status.
  • Photos are generally not preferred for U.S. resumes.
  • Typically, you will not be expected to share past salary information on a resume.
  • Employers assume that “references will be available upon request,” so you don’t need to include them on your resume unless asked.
  • Employers may use keyword scanning on resumes, so know what words are relevant to the industry and position and ensure they appear in your resume.
  • Utility Menu

University Logo

GA4 tracking code

Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships

  • CARAT (Opportunities Database)
  • URAF Application Instructions
  • URAF Calendar

Preparing a Resume

Many applications require that you submit a resume. Typically, the resume will be either one or two pages; it is important to adhere to this page limit. Even though you have achieved some incredible things during your time thus far at Harvard, it is important that you tailor your resume to the opportunity at hand. This does not diminish all of your varied experiences, but rather it shows that you really understand the opportunity and can highlight your most relevant qualities and experiences. For example, if you are applying to a high-level research program (ex. Herchel Smith), make sure that your resume is very research-focused. Or, if you are looking into a public service opportunity, you bet that you should be highlighting your public service experience (ex. extracurriculars, leadership, academics, etc.)! If you are applying to a program that emphasizes community as part of a research team, for example, feel free to include different community- or leadership-related experiences on your resume.

How to do this? Before turning to the draft itself, set some mini-goals for your resume to achieve within the greater whole of your application. After reading your resume, what do you want the selection committee to have learned about you? How does your resume contribute to the application as a whole? Does your resume complement other aspects of your application by giving context or additional detail (ex. your research proposal or statement)?

Be sure to go beyond listing responsibilities and dates and use deliberate and concise prose to demonstrate your qualifications for a particular opportunity. Also, keep both the impact and implications of the experiences on your resume in mind.

Impact: How was your contribution to this group/activity impactful? How was it different because you were part of it? This can be an aspect of your formal responsibilities or it can be an articulation of something less formal that you brought to the group. Also, what impact did this group/activity have on you? This doesn’t have to be an explicit articulation but it should be clear in how you describe the activity that it was formative in some way.

Implications: For students who study more esoteric areas of academia, this section can help non-experts understand your experiences. You do not have to sacrifice the sophisticated articulation of your research topic, but including some clarification that will help a non-expert understand the value of what you worked on. Remember, selection committees often include individuals from a broad spectrum of backgrounds.

For example: “Studied the functional implications of naturally selected polymorphisms in human TLR5. Potential implications for developing low-cost physiotherapy treatments to be deployed in emerging markets.”

A few things to remember:

  • Once you have entered college, it is usually best to leave your high school experiences off of your resume, unless they are directly relevant (ex. research experience when applying to a research program). In some cases, first year students may find it helpful to list high school experiences.
  • List opportunities that are indicative of your experiences, what you value, and how you choose to spend your time. Even if you are not able to include every experience, you will have lots of good fodder for an interview!
  • Make sure that this resume is a specific fit for this opportunity and links your experiences to the selection criteria of the program.
  • Be creative! You have lots of transferrable skills that might not be apparent to you at the start. Be sure to check out MCS resources  to help break down your set of experiences into their most essential skills and building blocks.
  • Please make sure that your resume is easy to read! Consult The Mignone Center for Career Success (MCS) for examples of good formatting and templates. The selection committee can tell when you have adjusted your margins and changed the size of your font just to squeeze more information into the page limit!
  • Getting Started
  • Application Components
  • Interviews and Offers
  • Building On Your Experiences
  • Applying FAQs
  • Resumes & Portfolios

There are two documents that you need to write that will usually be your introduction to a potential employer - a resume and a cover letter. 

A resume is often the first document that you will send or hand to a potential employer or even someone who might advise you.  You may (and should) spend time revising it continually, but you should always assume that the person seeing it for the first time may only spend 10-15 seconds looking at it.  Think of the hiring manager who has been given a stack of 100 resumes (which have already been filtered beforehand by someone in HR), who is trying to fill one or two slots. She/he just doesn't have time to go in detail through every resume, so they'll cut it down to a small number of finalists.  You've got one page to catch the hiring manager's attention for one of the few resumes to survive her/his first pass through that stack.

So, what will a hiring manager (who could be an individual engineer, scientist, programmer, etc. or a manager of a group who is hiring a summer intern) look for in that initial pass through the resumes.  This can differ by organization, which is one reason we encourage students to connect to alumni for advice. However, let's boil it down to three big factors:

  • They want an indication that you are "smart" - intellectually curious and able to figure out how to solve problems.  The fact that you were admitted to Harvard will count for a lot, but don't ignore putting your GPA on there.  If you don't put it on the resume, the hiring manager will likely assume that it is below whatever cut-off the company has or he/she has. 
  • The hiring manager will usually be hiring you to solve a problem during your internship (or a broader set of problems in your post-graduate employment).  She/he will want to know if you have the skills necessary to solve that problem.  So, the skills section of a resume, where you list programming languages, laboratory/machining skills, etc., is important.  It is also important for you to show how you used those skills.  You can do this by listing projects (not homework) from classes, clubs, or other outside activities.  Students often list leadership in such activities, but it is probably more important to show evidence that you actually did the CAD design or programmed the app.
  • The people hiring you want students who will be enthusiastic about the job.  The projects on your resume help convey that, as do student organizations in which you are involved. 

If you are submitting a resume to a job posting or company website, you will also include a cover letter.  It is your opportunity to talk about why you are a particularly good match for and interested in the specific company and/or job.  Hiring managers see a lot of resumes, which can start to look the same.  But if you are particularly interested in a specific company or job, you get a chance to convey that in the cover letter.

There are multiple resources available to guide you in writing a resume. The Office of Career Services(OCS) has several excellent resources including a tutorial and some technical resume templates. 

If you are just starting out, use those resources to write a first draft. Then, attend one of the many OCS resume workshops scheduled during first term, attend one of their drop-in sessions, or schedule a meeting with me.

Portfolios and Github

Let's say that the hiring manager has put your resume into the small group of resumes to be examined in more depth.  At this point, if you have an online portfolio or github, they may be willing to spend the extra time to look at your accomplishments and work/project history in more depth. 

If you are applying for a back-end programming job, have a well-organized github account that the hiring manager can search.  Don't put anything online that you don't want the outside world to see.  Obviously, if you did some work for a company, they will likely consider that proprietary.  But this caution may also hold for research work under a professor, as he/she may want to keep it secret until published.

For most other types of jobs - front-end programming, engineering, design, etc. - a portfolio is a better choice for demonstrating your skills and activities in a format that is much more extensive than a resume. 

Most students use templates provided commercial website companies such as Squarespace, WIX, Wordpress, Start Bootstrap, etc. - there are many out there.  A free alternative available to Harvard students is OpenScholar .

In Student Career Development

  • Internships (U)
  • Part-Time Positions
  • Post-Graduate Positions (U)
  • Winter Break / Term Opportunities
  • European Job Portals and Fellowships & Short Stays in Europe
  • Internships (G)
  • Post-Graduate Positions (G)
  • Resumes, CV's, Portfolios
  • Scholarships, Fellowships, Conferences, Etc.
  • Selected Hackathons, Competitions, Etc.
  • Government Lab Internships and Jobs
  • Career Mixers
  • Groups (Typically Startups) Looking for Team Members

Application Toolkit: Resume

On this webpage, you will find our advice and guidance for approaching the resume component of the application., instructions.

We require a resume as part of the application. Please limit your resume to 1 – 2 pages in length.

The following links are sample resumes from successful applicants in prior years. You do not have to follow the formatting used in these resumes, but all three are examples of well-organized, easy-to-read drafts.

Application Insights: Resume

  • View All Application Insight Videos

Blog Advice

  • Visit the Admissions Blog
  • View All Resume Blog Posts

Overrated/Underrated Part 3

Continuing our Overrated/Underrated series, this week, we shift our focus to highlight some of the overrated approaches that we recommend applicants avoid as they craft their applications. 

November 17, 2021

Overrated/Underrated Part 2

This week, we continue our Underrated Approaches to the Application series with some additional advice.

October 21, 2021

Overrated/Underrated Part 1

The J.D. Admissions team recently came together to offer their thoughts on some underrated and overrated approaches that applicants might take towards their HLS application. We hope you’ll find some of these nuggets useful.

September 9, 2021

Real Talk: The Resume

This week’s entry in the Real Talk series covers the resume. 

August 25, 2020

Podcast Advice

Navigating law school admissions with miriam & kristi.

Miriam Ingber (Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Yale Law School) and Kristi Jobson (Assistant Dean for Admissions at Harvard Law School) provide candid, accurate, and straightforward advice about law school admissions — direct from the source. They will be joined by guest stars from other law schools to discuss application timing, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and more.

  • View All Episodes

Resume Workshop

Our Resume Workshop provides applicants with straightforward advice on how to craft their resumes with a reflective activity and guiding questions to consider.

Modal Gallery

  • Side Hustles
  • Power Players
  • Young Success
  • Save and Invest
  • Become Debt-Free
  • Land the Job
  • Closing the Gap
  • Science of Success
  • Pop Culture and Media
  • Psychology and Relationships
  • Health and Wellness
  • Real Estate
  • Most Popular

Related Stories

  • Leadership Kind Snacks founder: Here's the No. 1   green flag I look for when hiring
  • Get Ahead Here's what to ask in an   informational interview
  • Land the Job Don’t use LinkedIn's ‘open to work’   sign, says former Google recruiter
  • Land the Job I've interviewed over 30,000 people—these are the 7   'rarest' types of employees I've come across
  • Land the Job How to get recommendations for your   LinkedIn profile, career experts say

Here's an example of the perfect resume, according to Harvard career experts

thumbnail

Just the thought of writing a resume can lead to a huge headache.

But it doesn't have to be so complicated. Try to think of your resume as an award-winning short memoir about your professional experience.

Certainly, they aren't exactly the same (resumes shouldn't be written in a narrative style), but both share a few similarities: They tell the truth, differentiate you from others, highlight your most unique qualities and capture readers' attention .

Here's what a strong resume looks like, according to Harvard career experts (click here to enlarge):

IMAGE CREDIT: Harvard University, Office of Career Services / Harvard Extension School, Career and Academic Resource Center

Don't know where to start? The career experts suggest considering the essential tips below:

1. Tailor your resume

I've seen a shockingly large number of candidates send out a dozen resumes — that all look exactly the same — to a dozen different job openings.

A great resume should be tailored to the job and type of position that you're applying for. You don't have to change every little detail, but the resume itself should reflect the skills and experience that your potential employer would value.

2. Include your contact information

This is one of the top five resume mistakes people make, according to Harvard career experts.

Always be sure to include your email address and phone number. You can go the extra mile by adding your LinkedIn (just make sure it's up to date) or website that showcases examples of your work.

What not to include:

  • A list of references: You don't even need to put "references available upon request" — hiring managers will ask for this if you advance in the hiring process
  • A picture: It doesn't matter how strong your selfie game is — including your a photo of yourself makes you look unprofessional and could introduce unconscious bias
  • Age or sex: Again, keep it professional. It's a resume, not a Tinder profile...

3. Use action verbs

Your resume is a marketing tool, so stick with action verbs. Avoid flowery and high-level claims like "results-oriented," "team player," "excellent communication skills" or "hard worker."

The goal is to deliver specific information about what you've done in your previous positions that led to measurable results.

Here are a few examples of action verbs that demonstrate certain qualities and skills:

Leadership:

  • ORGANIZED guest lecture series featuring over 40 prominent researchers in the field of sleep medicine
  • COORDINATED media campaigns for Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat
  • LED over 20 design projects for nonprofits and social enterprises in the U.S., Mexico, India, Zambia and Australia

Communication:

  • PRESENTED monthly, quarterly and annual spending reports to CEO
  • COLLABORATED with business teams to streamline production release strategy plans
  • DIRECTED implementation of a $50 million tech project for 10 major U.S. airports (scaled to support over 15,000 employees); increased productivity by 12% and reduced lost baggage expenses by 8%
  • LAUNCHED first paging network across India; managed operations and customer support with a team of 70 customer care agents
  • BUILT new checked baggage fees model and projected revenue stream of $12 million by forecasting changes in passenger baggage check-in behavior
  • INSTALLED Macintosh systems for over 30 new hires; trained employees on usage and company computer policies

Organizational:

  • REDUCED application testing time by 30% by automating shorter testing phases for off-cycle projects
  • MONITORED a $1 billion annual IT budget for 2012 and 2013
  • PREPARED sales activity and performance reports; reduced report response time by 50%

4. Make it presentable and easy to follow

Your hiring manager's time is valuable, and a resume that's all over the place isn't worth reading all the way through.

  • Be consistent in format and content
  • Balance white space
  • Use consistent spacing, underlining, italics, bold and capitalization for emphasis
  • List headings in order of importance
  • Within headings, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Make sure your formatting will translate properly if you converted to a PDF
  • Keep it to just one page (if you're a mid- or late-career professional, it's fine to make it two pages)

Don't:

  • Forget to proofread
  • Use a narrative style
  • Use personal pronouns (such as "I")
  • Start each line with a date
  • Use an elaborate template with too many colors

Dustin McKissen is the founder of McKissen + Company , a strategic communications firm in St. Charles, Missouri. He was also named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices in Management and Corporate Culture." Follow him on LinkedIn here.

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss:

  • 6 things I loved about the most impressive resume I've ever seen—based on my 20 years of hiring and interviewing
  • At 63, Bill Gates says he now asks himself these 3 questions that he wouldn't have in his 20s
  • 15 years ago, Google's CEO had a brilliant response to a tricky interview question – and it helped him get hired

Here's how much it actually costs to attend the top colleges in the US

Cart

  • SUGGESTED TOPICS
  • The Magazine
  • Newsletters
  • Managing Yourself
  • Managing Teams
  • Work-life Balance
  • The Big Idea
  • Data & Visuals
  • Reading Lists
  • Case Selections
  • HBR Learning
  • Topic Feeds
  • Account Settings
  • Email Preferences

New Year, New Job? Start Planning Now.

  • Marlo Lyons

resume harvard

Five steps to get a jump on your next big career move.

With a new year approaching, maybe finding a new job is on your list of resolutions. Being clear on what you want and aligning your resume and network to your career goals now will help you move your job search along more quickly in the new year. The hardest part is to remember that it’s not just about finding a job — every part of the process is a step toward your personal and professional growth and ultimate fulfillment. The author outlines a five-step process for planning your new year career move.

January 1 is coming, and perhaps finding a new, better, or more fulfilling job is on your resolution list. Instead of waiting until the new year to resolve to find a new job, here are five steps to prepare for your next move now. Doing so will make you feel like you’re already deep into the job-search marathon by January — not at the starting line.

resume harvard

  • Marlo Lyons career, executive, and team coach and the award-winning author of Wanted – A New Career: The Definitive Playbook for Transitioning to a New Career or Finding Your Dream Job . You can reach her at www.marlolyonscoaching.com.

Partner Center

A timeline of Harvard President Claudine Gay's short, scandal-plagued tenure

Gay announced her resignation as president on Tuesday.

Harvard University President Claudine Gay announced her resignation on Tuesday, following mounting accusations of plagiarism and backlash for her response at a congressional hearing in December to questions about antisemitism on U.S. college campuses.

Gay was the first person of color and second woman in Harvard University's 386-year history to serve as president. Her tenure as president is the shortest in the school's history.

She will resume her faculty position at Harvard, according to the university's main governing board.

Here's a look at what led up to her resignation as president.

PHOTO: The Harvard University campus is seen from above, Dec. 12, 2023, in Cambridge, Mass.

MORE: Harvard President Claudine Gay announces resignation amid plagiarism accusations, congressional testimony

Dec. 15, 2022.

Harvard announces that Gay, the Edgerley Family dean of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will succeed current university President Larry Bacow, who stepped down after five years in office.

July 1, 2023

Gay becomes the 30th president of Harvard.

Oct. 7, 2023

Several Harvard student groups issue a statement after Hamas launched terrorist attacks in Israel that killed more than 1,200 stating that Israeli policies -- referencing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza -- are "entirely responsible for all unfolding violence."

The letter prompts fierce backlash, with some Jewish students at the university saying they felt isolated and scared following the letter's publication, claiming it supported the Hamas attack. The students behind the letter deny supporting Hamas and say the backlash has led to a doxxing campaign against students believed to be connected to the letter.

MORE: As debate rages on campus, Harvard's Palestinian and Jewish students paralyzed by fear

Oct. 24, 2023.

The New York Post approaches Harvard asking for comment "on more than two dozen instances in which Gay's words appeared to closely parallel words, phrases or sentences in published works by other academics," according to the publication .

Gay subsequently asks the Harvard Corporation -- Harvard's main governing board -- to initiate an independent review of her published work.

Nov. 30, 2023

Harvard University joins a growing list of institutions being investigated for complaints of antisemitism and Islamophobic discrimination on campus.

The investigations have been opened under Title VI, a law that bans discrimination based on race, color or national origin in any institution or program that receives federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Dec. 5, 2023

Gay and two other university presidents -- University of Pennsylvania's Liz Magill and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sally Kornbluth -- are grilled before the House Education Committee over how they handled antisemitism on campus amid the Israel-Hamas war.

In a tense back-and-forth, New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik asks Gay the hypothetical question: "Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules on bullying and harassment?"

Gay responds, "The rules around bullying and harassment are quite specific and if the context in which that language is used amounts to bullying and harassment, then we take, we take action against it."

Stefanik subsequently calls for Gay and the other presidents, who gave similar responses, to resign.

PHOTO: Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building, Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington.

Dec. 6, 2023

Gay responds to backlash over her comments during the congressional hearing, saying, "There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students."

"Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard," she says, adding, "Those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account."

MORE: Uproar over university presidents' remarks on antisemitism underscores tensions on campuses

Dec. 7, 2023.

In an interview with the Harvard Crimson, Gay apologizes for her remarks during the congressional hearing, saying, "Words matter."

"When words amplify distress and pain, I don't know how you could feel anything but regret," Gay tells the publication.

Dec. 9, 2023

Magill voluntarily resigns as president of the University of Pennsylvania in the wake of the congressional hearing. She will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law, the university's board said.

Dec. 12, 2023

Amid questions over Gay's fate following the hearing, the Harvard Corporation issues a statement unanimously affirming its support for the president.

"Our extensive deliberations affirm our confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing," the Harvard Corporation says in the statement.

MORE: Free speech debate intensifies after controversial hearing with university presidents

The board also addresses the plagiarism allegations, saying an independent review of three articles Gay published "revealed a few instances of inadequate citations."

"While the analysis found no violation of Harvard's standards for research misconduct, President Gay is proactively requesting four corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications," the board says.

Dec. 19, 2023

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, publishes an anonymous complaint addressed to the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Integrity Office that alleges nearly 40 instances of plagiarism by Gay.

Dec. 20, 2023

Harvard says it found two additional instances of "duplicative language without appropriate attribution" in Gay's 1997 dissertation, which had not been part of the original independent review, but that they did not amount to "research misconduct," The New York Times reports . The university says Gay will update her dissertation "correcting these instances of inadequate citation," the Times reports.

In a letter to the Harvard Corporation , the House Committee on Education and the Workforce says it has begun a review of Harvard's handling of "credible allegations of plagiarism" by Gay over 24 years.

PHOTO: Students walk through the Harvard University campus, Dec. 12, 2023, in Cambridge, Mass.

Jan. 1, 2024

The Washington Free Beacon publishes an anonymous complaint leveling six more accusations of plagiarism against Gay.

Jan. 2, 2024

Gay announces her resignation as president in a lengthy letter to the school community.

"This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries."

"But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual," the statement continued.

Alan Garber, provost and chief academic officer, will serve as interim president until a new leader takes office, according to the Harvard Corporation.

Related Topics

Top stories.

resume harvard

New batch of Jeffrey Epstein court documents released

  • 2 hours ago

resume harvard

Houthis launch sea drone to attack ships hours after US, allies issue final warning

  • Jan 4, 11:57 AM

resume harvard

Nevada judge attacked by defendant during sentencing in Vegas courtroom scene

  • Jan 3, 8:17 PM

resume harvard

Woman becomes among 1st non-residents to use this state's medical aid in dying law

  • Jan 4, 10:17 AM

resume harvard

1 killed, 5 injured in shooting at Iowa high school; suspect also dead

  • Jan 4, 5:56 PM

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events

Harvard President Resigns Plagiarism Allegations Followed Criticism of Response to Antisemitism

Claudine Gay, Harvard’s first Black president, faced mounting controversies. She had led the university since July.

  • Share full article

resume harvard

Jennifer Schuessler ,  Anemona Hartocollis ,  Michael Levenson and Alan Blinder

Here’s what to know about Claudine Gay’s resignation.

Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, announced her resignation on Tuesday, after her presidency had become engulfed in crisis over accusations of plagiarism and what some called her insufficient response to antisemitism on campus after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.

In announcing she would step down immediately, Dr. Gay, Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to lead the university, ended a turbulent tenure that began last July. She will have the shortest stint in office of any Harvard president since its founding in 1636.

Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will serve as interim president. Dr. Gay will remain a tenured professor of government and African and African American studies.

Dr. Gay became the second university president to resign in recent weeks, after she and the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T. appeared in a Dec. 5 congressional hearing in which they appeared to evade the question of whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

Penn’s president, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned four days after that hearing. Sally Kornbluth, M.I.T.’s president, has also faced calls for her resignation.

In a letter announcing her decision, Dr. Gay said that after consulting with members of the university’s governing body, the Harvard Corporation, “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

At the same time, Dr. Gay, 53, defended her academic record and suggested that she was the target of highly personal and racist attacks.

“Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus,” she wrote.

Last year, the news of Dr. Gay’s appointment was widely seen as a breakthrough moment for the university. The daughter of Haitian immigrants and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she took office just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities.

She also became a major target of some powerful graduates like the billionaire investor William A. Ackman , who was concerned about antisemitism and suggested on social media last month that Harvard had only considered candidates for the presidency who met “the D.E.I. office’s criteria,” referring to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Gay’s resignation came after the latest plagiarism accusations against her were circulated in an unsigned complaint published on Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The complaint added to about 40 other plagiarism accusations that had already been circulated in the journal. The accusations raised questions about whether Harvard was holding its president to the same academic standards as its students.

Lawrence H. Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who resigned as Harvard president under pressure in 2006, suggested that Dr. Gay had made the right decision. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.

Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who leads the House committee that is investigating Harvard and other universities, said the inquiry would continue despite Dr. Gay’s resignation.

“There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Ms. Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader.”

On Harvard’s campus, some expressed deep dismay with what they described as a politically motivated campaign against Dr. Gay and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of faculty members had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.

“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”

Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.

Alison Frank Johnson, a history professor, said she “couldn’t be more dismayed.”

“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”

Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, before Harvard’s board met to discuss Dr. Gay’s future, after her disastrous testimony in the congressional hearing.

That evening, the conservative activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation.

The Washington Free Beacon followed with several articles detailing allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In a statement on Dec. 12 saying that Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the accusations and said it had been made aware of them in late October. The board said it had conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”

Dr. Gay was already under pressure for what some had said was the university’s inadequate response to the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

After initially remaining silent after student groups wrote an open letter saying that Israel was “entirely responsible” for the violence, Dr. Gay and other officials released a letter to the university community acknowledging “feelings of fear, sadness, anger and more.” After an outcry over what some considered the tepid language, Dr. Gay issued a more forceful statement condemning Hamas for “terrorist atrocities,” while urging people to use words that “illuminate and not inflame.”

At the congressional hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, pelted Dr. Gay and the other university presidents with hypothetical questions.

“At Harvard,” Ms. Stefanik asked Dr. Gay, “does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”

“It can be, depending on the context,” Dr. Gay replied.

That exchange, and a similar back and forth between Ms. Stefanik and Ms. Magill, rocketed across social media and infuriated many people with close ties to the universities.

Dr. Gay moved to contain the fallout with an apology in an interview that was published in The Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. “When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” she said.

One week after her testimony, the Harvard Corporation issued a unanimous statement of support — after meeting late into the night — saying that it stood firmly behind her.

But there were signs that controversy might have harmed Harvard’s reputation. The number of students who applied this fall under the university’s early action program — giving them the possibility of an admissions decision in December instead of March — fell about 17 percent, the university said last month.

Reporting was contributed by Dana Goldstein , Rob Copeland , Annie Karni and Vimal Patel . Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein

Serena Jampel, a 22-year old junior, had said in December that as a Jewish student, she did not consider critiques of Zionism on campus to be antisemitic. On Tuesday, she said she was “deeply saddened” by Claudine Gay’s resignation. “I believe that she was always trying to balance free speech and student safety, and never intended to cause harm.”

Maya Shwayder

Harvard’s campus, currently between semesters, was quiet on Tuesday, despite the intense spotlight focused on the university. Several students and professors said they did not want to talk about Claudine Gay’s resignation. One faculty member chuckled and said he couldn’t comment because he doesn’t have tenure.

Advertisement

Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the president of Harvard Chabad, has criticized a culture of antisemitism on campus, which he said predates Claudine Gay’s tenure. “The fact that it got more and more brazen with each passing day was the result of the lack of leadership addressing it,” he said, adding that he hopes the pressure that helped lead to Gay’s resignation will prompt other campus leaders to take action.

Anemona Hartocollis

Anemona Hartocollis

The resignation was welcomed by the Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance, which said it represents several thousand Jewish alumni. “Claudine Gay tacitly encouraged those who sought to spread hate at Harvard, where many Jews no longer feel safe to study, identify and fully participate in the Harvard community," the group said in a statement.

Harvard faced donor pressure and a drop in early admission applications.

College presidents are not only administrators and intellectual leaders; they are the chief fund-raisers for their institutions. And Claudine Gay’s loss of support among some Harvard donors may have played a key role in her resignation on Tuesday.

Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment is immense by any measure — the largest academic nest egg in the country. Yet it has been underperforming financially in recent years, relative to some peers. Stanford’s endowment produced returns of 4.4 percent last year, for example, compared to returns of 2.9 percent for Harvard.

The endowment is run as a nonprofit with its own board of directors, but its members are appointed by the Harvard Corporation, the same body that selected Dr. Gay as the university’s president.

Given the concerns, the ability of Harvard’s president to raise money became even more crucial. Yet Dr. Gay’s credibility eroded this fall among some powerful donors , who criticized what they saw as a sluggish response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

“There is a large number of alumni who are very upset about how the administration handled this fall, and really worry the university is not set up to take outside feedback,” said Sam Lessin, a Harvard graduate and tech investor.

Some alumni donors were also dismayed to learn in recent days that early action applications to Harvard, with a Nov. 1 deadline, had dropped by 17 percent this year to a four-year low.

On Tuesday, Mr. Lessin published a statement on social media reacting to Dr. Gay’s resignation. “I am happy to see Gay out,” he wrote.

Randall Kennedy, a Harvard legal scholar and one of the university’s most prominent Black faculty members, has been a key supporter of Claudine Gay. On Tuesday, he said via text message, “I am saddened by the inability of a great university to defend itself against an alarmingly effective campaign of misinformation and intimidation.”

Jacey Fortin

Alan M. Garber, Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

The Harvard Corporation described Dr. Garber as “a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar” in a statement on Tuesday. “We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period,” the Corporation said.

Dr. Garber , who was appointed provost in 2011, has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and an M.D. from Stanford. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Lawrence H. Summers, a former Harvard president and former Treasury secretary, said in an email that Dr. Garber, “who is universally liked, admired, and respected, is a superb choice as interim president.”

In an interview with The Harvard Crimson in November, Dr. Garber said that he regretted the university’s initial statement in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. The statement was denounced by politicians, academics and Jewish groups who said that it did not condemn Hamas strongly enough, and he spoke positively about a more forceful statement that followed from Dr. Gay, which condemned Hamas for “terrorist atrocities.”

Dr. Garber added that the crisis over the university’s response to the war has been the most serious that Harvard has faced during his tenure as provost.

“The community was immediately divided, and that is not true of every crisis that we face,” he told The Crimson. “It is a combustible situation, and one in which many people are grieving.”

Dr. Garber was reportedly considered a contender to become Harvard’s 29th president, but in 2018 the post went to Lawrence S. Bacow . In 2022, Dr. Garber told the Crimson that he was “very happy” serving as the provost, and last year Dr. Gay became the university’s 30th president .

According to the Harvard Corporation, Dr. Garber will serve as president “until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office.”

Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.

Anna Betts

Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, expressed disappointment in Claudine Gay's resignation in a statement to CNN , blaming a relentless campaign against her led by the financier Bill Ackman. “This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling,” Sharpton said, adding that his organization, the National Action Network, would picket outside Ackman’s New York office on Thursday.

Vimal Patel

The Israel-Hamas war has inflamed free speech skirmishes on college campuses.

The recent ousters of two Ivy League university presidents — Elizabeth Magill, of the University of Pennsylvania, and, on Tuesday, Claudine Gay of Harvard — represented victories for those who believe that pro-Palestinian protesters have gone too far in their speech.

Some Jewish students say protest slogans like “intifada revolution” and “from the river to the sea” are antisemitic and threatening — and proof of a double standard. Universities, they say, have ignored their fears and pleas for security, while creating a battalion of administrators who are devoted to diversity and equity programs and are quick to protect their students.

If universities were engulfed before the Israel-Hamas war in debates over what kinds of speech were acceptable, now they are facing a crossroads, with many longtime observers of the campus speech skirmishes perceiving this moment as a dire one for freedom of expression.

The troubles of Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay, after all, did not start with the Dec. 5 congressional hearing, when they — as well as the president of M.I.T. — responded with what critics characterized as lawyerly answers when asked whether to punish students if they called for genocide.

For Ms. Magill, they began with a Palestinian writers’ conference that was held on campus in September. Donors to Penn asked her to cancel the event, which they said included antisemitic speakers, but she declined, citing the university’s commitment to free expression.

And Dr. Gay drew criticism barely two days after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, for not publicly condemning the attack or denouncing an open letter from student groups saying that they held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard who opposes cracking down on free expression, said that speech by itself, however ugly, should not be punished. But, he said, universities have not made the best case for themselves as champions of unfettered debate.

“The problem with the university presidents saying that calls for genocide are not punishable is that they have such a risible record of defending free speech in the past that they don’t have a leg to stand on,” Dr. Pinker said in an interview.

The question is what happens from here.

Annie Karni

Annie Karni

Stefanik, whose aggressive questioning of Gay went viral, claimed credit for her exit.

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, whose questions during a congressional hearing last month put Dr. Claudine Gay and two other prominent university administrators on the spot about antisemitism on their campuses, took a victory lap Tuesday afternoon after Dr. Gay announced her resignation as president of Harvard University.

“TWO DOWN,” Ms. Stefanik crowed on social media, accented by three red siren emojis. Last month, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned just four days after she testified before Congress and evaded Ms. Stefanik’s aggressive line of questioning about whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

The contentious exchanges between Ms. Stefanik and all three university presidents came at the tail end of a five-hour congressional hearing called by House Republicans on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses. The moment went viral, forcing the trio of presidents, including Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to clarify their responses and leading to a period of intense scrutiny on all three.

In Ms. Gay’s case, that prompted an examination of her past work that fueled plagiarism charges, ultimately causing her to step down on Tuesday.

Ms. Stefanik, the No. 4 Republican in the House, has counted the resignations as a political win.

“I will always deliver results,” Ms. Stefanik, a Harvard alumna, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Claudine Gay’s morally bankrupt answers to my questions made history as the most viewed congressional testimony in the history of the U.S. Congress.” Ms. Stefanik added that “this is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Stefanik promised that an ongoing congressional investigation of the universities that she announced in the wake of the hearing would continue to uncover “institution rot.” And she again claimed credit for Dr. Gay’s resignation, arguing that “this accountability would not have happened were it not for the very clear moral questions at the hearing.”

Those questions almost did not happen. During the hearing, Ms. Stefanik had already tried four times to pin down the trio of administrators. She repeatedly tried and failed to get them to agree with her that calls for “intifada” and use of slogans such as “from the river to the sea” amounted to appeals for genocide against Jews that should not be tolerated on campuses.

They had parried her grilling with lawyerly answers that, on their own, might not have made international headlines. But then they fell into something of a prosecutorial trap laid by Ms. Stefanik, refusing to answer “yes” when she asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities’ codes of conduct on bullying and harassment.

“I thought, ‘How can I drill down on this and ask this question in such a way that the answer is an easy ‘yes?’ ”Ms. Stefanik said in an interview last month . “And they blew it.”

Ms. Stefanik, who graduated from Harvard in 2006, has clashed with her alma mater in the past. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, Harvard’s Institute of Politics removed Ms. Stefanik from its advisory board, citing her “public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence.”

Ms. Stefanik, a onetime moderate Republican who more than any other lawmaker in Congress represents to Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans the worst of what happened to the G.O.P. under the sway of Mr. Trump, at the time called her removal “a rite of passage and badge of honor.”

On Tuesday, one of Ms. Stefanik’s top advisers, Garrett Ventry, joked on social media that Ms. Stefanik was now the de facto president of Harvard University.

But she was hardly the only House Republican vying on Tuesday to claim credit for Ms. Gay’s resignation.

Representative John James, Republican of Michigan, shared on social media a clip of his own line of questioning during the hearing and wrote that Dr. Gay’s resignation came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat anti Semitism.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who heads a House committee investigating Harvard, said the inquiry would continue despite Claudine Gay's resignation. “There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader, and the committee’s oversight will continue.”

Many of the plagairism accusations against Claudine Gay were first published by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet. The site’s editor-in-chief, Eliana Johnson, said in an interview on Tuesday that Harvard officials had never responded to her reporters’ questions. “They are brittle and unused to scrutiny,” she said. “We have been able to have an impact despite their total lack of transparency.”

Some of Gay’s faculty supporters have argued that the allegations against her hold less weight because they originated from ideologically motivated critics and outlets, and have argued that the type of plagiarism she is accused of largely involved language on research methodologies and reviews — not her core, original findings. Johnson rejected those defenses. “Harvard is welcome to come out and say, ‘Our standards for plagiarism don’t apply to quantitative scholars — they’re allowed to copy words and phrases.’ But those are not the standards they’ve chosen to articulate for students or uphold for students.”

Larry Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who also resigned his Harvard presidency under pressure in 2006, suggested that Claudine Gay had done the right thing for the university. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.

Rob Copeland

Rob Copeland

Claudine Gay’s resignation puts new focus on Harvard’s secretive corporation, the governing board that appointed her. Led by Penny Pritzker, a billionaire and former Obama administration official, the corporation has been all but mum during the swirl of the past few months, and Pritzker did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Gay said in her resignation letter that she made her decision to step down “in consultation with members of the corporation,” but the corporation’s own subsequent statement made no mention of its role.

At least one Harvard professor is already calling for a shakeup of the board. Frank Laukien, a visiting scholar of chemistry, said Pritzker should “share accountability and resign immediately.” He wrote in an email: “We need multiple new independent members on the Harvard Corporation that are not tainted by recent events and failures, and who are not part of the long-standing cronyism at the top of Harvard.”

Jennifer Schuessler

Jennifer Schuessler

A history of the plagiarism allegations against Claudine Gay.

Claudine Gay’s resignation from Harvard came three weeks after plagiarism accusations against her emerged, an unexpected development in a turbulent stretch of presidency that began with her response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, the evening before Harvard’s board met to decide whether she would keep her job, following her disastrous appearance before a Congressional committee investigating the university’s response to antisemitism. That evening, the conservative education activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in her 1997 doctoral dissertation.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, followed with several articles detailing numerous allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which Dr. Gay, a political scientist, is a member.

In its statement on Dec. 12 saying Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the allegations, which it said it had been made aware of in late October via an inquiry from The New York Post. The board said it had then conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”

The plagiarism allegations blindsided many faculty, including some of the more than 700 who had signed a letter urging the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board, to “resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom,” including calls from external actors seeking Dr. Gay’s removal.

Initially, faculty reaction was mixed, with some saying the charges were serious and others calling the examples minor. Professors from both camps questioned the seemingly ideological nature of the effort to publicize them.

But as more allegations surfaced, faculty support for Dr. Gay began to erode, particularly as questions arose about what procedures the corporation — which normally has no involvement in scholarly matters — had used to investigate.

In a letter on Tuesday announcing her resignation, Dr. Gay, who remains a member of the faculty, defended her academic integrity, and said the campaign against her had been driven by “racial animus.”

“It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am,” she wrote.

It is unclear if her resignation will end any potential investigation into the complaints filed with the university.

Some politically active students said they were concerned that Claudine Gay’s resignation had been manipulated by outside forces. “Her resignation is a symptom of Harvard being almost entirely beholden to external pressure,” said Sanaa Kahloon, a junior and pro-Palestinian activist who added, “These allegations of plagiarism have been weaponized by right-wing actors to suppress free speech in higher education, and to continue to suppress free speech with respect to Palestine.”

Sarah Mervosh

Sarah Mervosh

Who is Claudine Gay?

Claudine Gay, 53, who resigned as Harvard’s president on Tuesday, took office in July, becoming the first Black president and the second woman to lead Harvard.

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University — where she would later teach — and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

Her career has mostly been in elite academia. Since the mid 2000s she has been a professor of government and African and African-American studies at Harvard, where her research interests have included minority representation and political participation in government.

Though allegations of plagiarism, dating back to her dissertation in 1997, surfaced publicly as Dr. Gay was engulfed in a political firestorm last month, she had in recent years moved away from academic research and into administration.

Before becoming president, she served in the high-profile role as dean of Harvard’s powerful Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The department, which includes both the university’s undergraduate program and its Ph.D. programs, is the largest of Harvard’s various divisions, with more than 1,000 faculty members.

Some colleagues saw her as a leader for the cultural moment: She helped drive a cluster of hires in ethnic studies , and oversaw several investigations into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against faculty. She also led the department through the Covid-19 pandemic and remote learning.

But she was also seen as taking a hard line on matters of discipline, sometimes controversially.

In 2019, she issued a two-year, unpaid suspension to Roland G. Fryer, a star Black economist and recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, who was accused of unwelcome sexual conduct toward employees. His education research lab was also disbanded.

She also spoke out against Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a high-profile criminal defense attorney and Black law professor whose decision to represent the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2019 stirred controversy on campus . Professor Sullivan, who said at the time that representing unpopular defendants was a key tenet of the legal profession and an opportunity for conversation with students, was later removed from the student residential house he oversaw after the university conducted a “climate review” of his leadership in the house.

Dr. Gay, a supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, took the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

She was selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations.

Penny Pritzker, the senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation who led the presidential search committee, praised Dr. Gay at the time for her “rare blend of incisiveness and inclusiveness,” bringing both a “bedrock commitment to free inquiry and expression, as well as a deep appreciation for the diverse voices and views that are the lifeblood of a university community.”

Some faculty members were disappointed by Gay’s resignation.

On Tuesday, some faculty members expressed deep dismay with what they described as a political campaign against Dr. Gay, Harvard and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of them had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.

“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican Congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”

Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.

“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a Corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”

Melani Cammett, a professor of international relations, said she hoped “that Harvard can move forward in a way that limits politicized interference.”

“I also hope that we move towards a position of institutional neutrality that truly protects academic freedom and integrity,” she said.

House Republicans were stepping over each other to claim credit for Claudine Gay’s resignation. While it was Rep. Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, whose questions during a Dec. 7 hearing led to the answers that ultimately helped topple two Ivy League administrators, Representative John James of Michigan shared a clip of his own line of inquiry on social media and wrote that Gay’s departure came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat antisemitism.”

Christopher Rufo, a conservative education activist who was among the first to widely publicize the plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay, took credit for her resignation in a post on social media: “My strategies, however unorthodox, have proven successful at exposing corruption, changing public opinion, and moving institutions."

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican who led the most aggressive questioning of Claudine Gay during a Dec. 5 hearing on antisemitism, called the resignation “long overdue” in a social media post, adding that “our robust Congressional investigation will continue to move forward to expose the rot in our most 'prestigious' higher education institutions and deliver accountability to the American people.”

Sean Plambeck

Sean Plambeck

Alan M. Garber, a physician and economist who is the university’s provost, will serve as interim president. Harvard’s governing board said it would begin the search for a new president “in due course.”

The New York Times

A statement from Harvard’s governing board.

The following letter was signed by the Fellows of Harvard College, the university’s governing board.

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

With great sadness, we write in light of President Claudine Gay’s message announcing her intention to step down from the presidency and resume her faculty position at Harvard.

First and foremost, we thank President Gay for her deep and unwavering commitment to Harvard and to the pursuit of academic excellence. Throughout her long and distinguished leadership as Dean of Social Science then as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences — where she skillfully led the F.A.S. through the Covid-19 pandemic and pursued ambitious new academic initiatives in areas such as quantum science and inequality — she demonstrated the insight, decisiveness, and empathy that are her hallmark. She believes passionately in Harvard’s mission of education and research, and she cares profoundly about the people whose talents, ideas, and energy drive Harvard. She has devoted her career to an institution whose ideals and priorities she has worked tirelessly to advance, and we are grateful for the extraordinary contributions she has made — and will continue to make — as a leader, a teacher, a scholar, a mentor, and an inspiration to many.

We are also grateful to Alan M. Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, who has served with distinction in that role for the past 12 years — and who has agreed to serve as Interim President until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office. An economist and a physician, he is a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar with appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period.

These past several months have seen Harvard and higher education face a series of sustained and unprecedented challenges. In the face of escalating controversy and conflict, President Gay and the Fellows have sought to be guided by the best interests of the institution whose future progress and well-being we are together committed to uphold. Her own message conveying her intention to step down eloquently underscores what those who have worked with her have long known — her commitment to the institution and its mission is deep and selfless. It is with that overarching consideration in mind that we have accepted her resignation.

We do so with sorrow. While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks. While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls. We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms.

The search for a new president of the university will begin in due course. We will be in further touch about the process, which will include broad engagement and consultation with the Harvard community in the time ahead.

For today, we close by reiterating our gratitude to President Gay for her devoted service to Harvard, as well as to Provost Garber for his willingness to lead the university through the interim period to come. We also extend our thanks to all of you for your continuing commitment to Harvard’s vital educational and research mission — and to core values of excellence, inclusiveness, and free inquiry and expression. At a time when strife and division are so prevalent in our nation and our world, embracing and advancing that mission — in a spirit of common purpose — has never been more important. We live in difficult and troubling times, and formidable challenges lie ahead. May our community, with its long history of rising through change and through storm, find new ways to meet those challenges together, and to affirm Harvard’s commitment to generating knowledge, pursuing truth, and contributing through scholarship and education to a better world.

The Israel-Hamas war led to rising polarization on Harvard’s campus. Many Jewish students believed that Claudine Gay was slow to denounce the Oct. 7 atrocities by Hamas and to quell disruptive demonstrations. They reported increasing antisemitic taunts and were dismayed when Gay told a congressional committee that whether Harvard students would be punished for urging genocide against Jews would depend on the context.

Josh Kaplan, a sophomore majoring in computer science, welcomed Gay’s resignation. “It is the beginning of the rehabilitation our university needs. I, along with many other Harvard students, look forward to the next president working to repair the university’s image and combat the hateful antisemitism and bigotry we have seen on our campus.”

The reaction on Harvard’s campus was muted, since students are on winter break. But some heralded her resignation. “I think it is, if anything, too late,” said Alex Bernat, a junior, adding, “I’m glad she finally came to terms with the need for Harvard to have new leadership.”

Read Claudine Gay’s resignation letter.

It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries. But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.

It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.

I believe in the people of Harvard because I see in you the possibility and the promise of a better future. These last weeks have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future — to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth. I believe we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division and to emerge stronger. I had hoped with all my heart to lead us on that journey, in partnership with all of you. As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve.

When I became president, I considered myself particularly blessed by the opportunity to serve people from around the world who saw in my presidency a vision of Harvard that affirmed their sense of belonging — their sense that Harvard welcomes people of talent and promise, from every background imaginable, to learn from and grow with one another. To all of you, please know that those doors remain open, and Harvard will be stronger and better because they do.

As we welcome a new year and a new semester, I hope we can all look forward to brighter days. Sad as I am to be sending this message, my hopes for Harvard remain undimmed. When my brief presidency is remembered, I hope it will be seen as a moment of reawakening to the importance of striving to find our common humanity — and of not allowing rancor and vituperation to undermine the vital process of education. I trust we will all find ways, in this time of intense challenge and controversy, to recommit ourselves to the excellence, the openness, and the independence that are crucial to what our university stands for — and to our capacity to serve the world.

Sincerely, Claudine Gay

What to know about the latest plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay.

New plagiarism allegations that surfaced on Monday against Claudine Gay threatened to mire Harvard deeper in debate over what constitutes plagiarism and whether the university would hold its president and its students to the same standard.

The accusations were circulated through an unsigned complaint published Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The new complaint added additional accusations of plagiarism to about 40 that had already been circulated in the same way, apparently by the same accuser.

Dr. Gay has strongly defended her work. “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” she said in a statement on Dec. 11, when the initial plagiarism charges were being circulated by conservative activists online and the Harvard Corporation was considering whether she should remain as president. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards,” Dr. Gay said.

The documents by the unnamed accuser that The Free Beacon links to on its website show 39 examples in the first complaint, rising to 47 in total in the second complaint. Separately, Harvard’s investigations have found instances of inadequate citation in her dissertation and at least two of her articles.

She has not been accused of stealing big ideas, but rather of copying language in the papers of other scholars, with small changes to substitute words or phrases or to arrange them differently. Often the language in question is technical boilerplate.

The new complaint against Dr. Gay is preceded by a five-page chronology, written in a tone ranging from somber to sarcastic — under the jaunty salutation, “Happy New Year!” The chronology notes that the unnamed accuser submitted the first batch of allegations to Harvard on Dec. 19.

In one paragraph, the accuser, who seems to be familiar with Harvard’s policies on plagiarism, explains why he or she was unwilling to be identified by name: “I feared that Gay and Harvard would violate their policies, behave more like a cartel with a hedge fund attached than a university, and try to seek ‘immense’ damages from me and who knows what else.”

The New York Post has reported that it approached Harvard with plagiarism accusations against Dr. Gay in October, and said that Harvard responded through a defamation lawyer.

The accuser goes on to wonder why Harvard was so intent on exposing him or her: “Did Gay wish to personally thank me for helping her to improve her work even if I drove her harder than she wanted to be driven?”

The sentence is an allusion to a phrase in the acknowledgments of Dr. Gay’s 1997 dissertation, where she says that her family “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

It is one of the phrases she is accused of copying, from the acknowledgments of a 1996 book, “Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation,” by the Harvard political scientist Jennifer L. Hochschild, who was thanking another academic.

A timeline of Claudine Gay’s tenure as president.

Claudine Gay had served as president of Harvard University only since July, but had faced criticism on two fronts: her response to rising tensions on campus over the Israel-Gaza war, and questions about possible plagiarism in her academic work.

On Tuesday, she resigned her position as president, writing in a letter to the university community that “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

Dec. 15, 2022

Harvard University announces that Dr. Gay, the school’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will become president the following year. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she will be the university’s first Black leader and the second woman to hold the position. Dr. Gay received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

July 1, 2023

Dr. Gay, 53, officially begins in the job. A supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she takes the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

The day after the Hamas attack on Israel, a coalition of more than 30 student groups at Harvard publishes an open letter, saying it holds “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” The letter receives intense backlash .

Dr. Gay and Harvard’s leadership come under fire for not publicly condemning the Hamas attack or denouncing the letter from the student groups. Amid rising pressure from alumni and donors, university leaders including Dr. Gay issue a statement expressing heartbreak over the death and destruction from the war while calling for “an environment of dialogue and empathy.”

Dr. Gay releases another letter , this time more forcefully condemning the “terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas," as well as denouncing the letter from the student groups. “While our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” she says in the letter.

A campaign targets students affiliated with the groups that signed the open letter. A truck with a digital billboard — paid for by a conservative group — circles Harvard Square, flashing students’ photos and names under the headline “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” Dr. Gay releases another statement , this time in a video format, in which she states that Harvard rejects hate.

Harvard receives an inquiry from The New York Post about what it later describes as “anonymous allegations” of plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s work.

At a Sabbath dinner at Harvard Hillel, Dr. Gay announces the formation of an advisory group to help her “develop a robust strategy for confronting antisemitism on campus.” She also condemns the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a slogan that pro-Palestinian activists use as a call for liberation but that many Jews see as a call for violence against them.

According to the university, the Harvard Corporation appoints an independent panel of three experts on this day to conduct a review of Dr. Gay’s papers that were referenced in the anonymous allegations.

After coming under criticism for weeks over what detractors said were tepid responses to rising antisemitism on campus, Dr. Gay writes a letter to members of the larger Harvard community addressing the tensions. “Harvard rejects all forms of hate, and we are committed to addressing them,” she writes. “Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department announces an investigation into allegations of antisemitism at Harvard.

Dr. Gay, along with the presidents of M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, testifies at a congressional hearing that House Republicans convened to address issues of bias against Jewish students. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, asks: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”

Dr. Gay replies, “It can be, depending on the context.” She adds: “Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.”

Following heavy criticism of the presidents’ responses at the hearing, Dr. Gay apologizes in an interview with The Harvard Crimson , the campus newspaper. “What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community — threats to our Jewish students — have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,” Dr. Gay says.

Allegations about plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation are publicly raised in a newsletter by the conservative activist Christopher Rufo.

A group of 14 faculty members begin circulating a petition opposing Dr. Gay’s removal . It quickly garners hundreds of signatures.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, publishes its own investigation of Dr. Gay’s academic papers, identifying what it said were issues with four of them published between 1993 and 2017, including the doctoral dissertation.

Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, acknowledges that Dr. Gay had made mistakes but decides that she would remain in her job . In its statement, the Corporation briefly addresses the allegations about her scholarship. It says an independent inquiry investigated her published work and found two papers needing additional citations, but no “research misconduct.”

Facing mounting questions over possible plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s scholarly work, Harvard says that it found two additional instances of insufficient citation in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation — examples of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.” The university says Dr. Gay will update her dissertation correcting those instances.

That same day, a congressional committee investigating Harvard sends a letter to the university demanding all of its documentation and communications related to the allegations.

Faced with a new round of accusations over plagiarism in her scholarly work, Ms. Gay announces her resignation , becoming the second Ivy League leader to lose her job in recent weeks amid a firestorm intensified by their widely derided congressional testimony regarding antisemitism on campus.

Anemona Hartocollis , Sarah Mervosh , Jennifer Schuessler , Vimal Patel , Dana Goldstein , Jeremy W. Peters , Rob Copeland , and Stephanie Saul contributed reporting.

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the time when Harvard began an investigation about Dr. Gay’s work. It was Nov. 2, not in October.

An earlier version of this article contained a photo caption that misstated the organization that hosted the event at which Dr. Gay spoke. She spoke at a Sabbath dinner hosted by Harvard Chabad, not Harvard Hillel (though she also appeared at another event hosted by Harvard Hillel).

How we handle corrections

Claudine Gay resigns as Harvard University president

  • Published 2 days ago
  • Israel-Gaza war

Claudine Gay

Harvard University's president has resigned after facing allegations of plagiarism and criticism over her comments about antisemitism on campus.

Claudine Gay had faced mounting pressure to step down in recent weeks.

In a letter announcing her resignation, she said it was in the "best interests" of the university for her to go.

"It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigour," she said.

"This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words," Dr Gay wrote, adding that her resignation would allow Harvard to "focus on the institution rather than any individual".

She said she had been subjected to personal threats and "racial animus".

  • Harvard leader's exit plays into bitter campus wars

The 53-year-old served as president for six months and was the first black person, and the second woman, to be appointed to lead the Ivy League university. Her tenure was the shortest in its 388-year history.

Harvard is one of several universities in the US accused of failing to protect its Jewish students following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October. Jewish groups have reported an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents in the US since the conflict began.

During a tense congressional hearing last month, Dr Gay said calls for the killing of Jews were abhorrent. She added, however, that it would depend on the context whether such comments would constitute a violation of Harvard's code of conduct regarding bullying and harassment.

That comment prompted a widespread backlash and she later apologised in an interview with the university's student newspaper. "When words amplify distress and pain, I don't know how you could feel anything but regret," Dr Gay said.

Dozens of politicians and some high-profile alumni called for her to step down over the comments.

But nearly 700 staff members rallied behind her in a letter and the university said she would keep her job despite the controversy.

But since then US media outlets have unearthed several instances of alleged plagiarism in her academic record. Harvard's board investigated the allegations last month, and found two published papers that required additional citation.

The board, however, said that she did not violate standards for research misconduct.

More claims that Dr Gay had failed to properly cite academic sources emerged just hours before she resigned on Tuesday and were published anonymously in the conservative Washington Free Beacon newspaper.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Watch: Moment top US university heads evade question on genocide

The university's 11-member governing body, the Harvard Corporation, said in a statement that Dr Gay would resume her faculty position after resigning.

"While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks," it said.

"While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls," the corporation added. "We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms."

University provost and chief academic officer Alan Garber will step in as interim president until a new one can be appointed, the Harvard Corporation said.

Dr Gay is the second university official to resign following the 5 December congressional hearing.

Former University of Pennsylvania president Elizabeth Magill resigned just days later after an angry backlash. A donor also withdrew $100m (£80m) in protest over her comments.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Sally Kornbluth also testified at the hearing, and critics are now redoubling their calls for her to stand aside also.

Dr Gay's resignation, and the controversy surrounding her in recent weeks, has proved to be a highly charged issue and there was immediate political reaction on Tuesday.

Congressman Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican, posted on X, formerly Twitter, "two down, one to go" in a reference to the three college presidents who testified on Capitol Hill.

"Her answers were absolutely pathetic and devoid of the moral leadership and academic integrity required of the president of Harvard," Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik said.

The Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance welcomed her resignation, saying that as president, Dr Gay "tacitly encouraged those who sought to spread hate at Harvard, where many Jews no longer feel safe to study, identify and fully participate in the Harvard community".

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, meanwhile, condemned the resignation and called it "an assault on the health, strength, and future of diversity, equity, and inclusion".

He announced plans to hold a protest on Thursday outside the New York office of Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager and Harvard graduate who has led calls for Dr Gay to resign.

The Republican-led congressional committee that launched the probe into Harvard and other universities said its investigation would continue.

"There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators," said North Carolina congresswoman Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the committee.

"The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader, and the committee's oversight will continue."

Related Topics

  • Universities
  • Antisemitism
  • US Congress
  • United States

More on this story

Harvard plans student honesty pledge

  • Published 9 May 2014

Harvard University

Harvard president sorry for remarks on antisemitism

  • Published 8 December 2023

Claudine Gay

Pressure mounts on Harvard's president to step down

  • Published 11 December 2023

Harvard President Claudine Gay

US university president quits in antisemitism row

  • Published 9 December 2023

Elizabeth Magill

Immigrants' daughter is first black head of Harvard

  • Published 15 December 2022

Claudine Gay

Read the Latest on Page Six

Recommended

Breaking news, harvard corporation under fire for keeping secrets to protect claudine gay: ‘must not be published’.

  • View Author Archive
  • Email the Author
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Get author RSS feed

Contact The Author

Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.

The resignation of Harvard president Claudine Gay over allegations of plagiarism and her disastrous response to antisemitism turns the spotlight on the university’s governing body — the Harvard Corporation.

The 12-member board is led by the billionaire Hyatt hotel scion Penny Pritzker, a former Obama administration commerce secretary, who has vowed to stay on despite Gay quitting.

Harvard itself is facing investigation by the House of Representatives ‘ Committee on Education and the Workforce into the plagiarism scandal and how the school handled it.

The university says it was first alerted to allegations that Gay took other academics’ words and used them as her own by The Post in late October when we approached its spokesman Jonathan Swain for comment during our reporting.

But what it did next — threaten The Post in a 15-page bullying letter from bare-knuckle law firm Clare Locke and clear Gay before investigating her — leaves a series of unanswered questions about the university’s most important governing figures.

Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama

Why did Harvard claim Gay was innocent without investigating her?

In Harvard’s lawyers’ letter to The Post on October 27, the university demanded that allegations that Gay was a plagiarist “must not be published” and threatened legal action to find the anonymous whistleblower who approached The Post to raise their concerns.

It also claimed that Gay’s work was “cited and properly credited,” and that allegations of copying were “demonstrably false” — all within 72 hours of The Post asking for comment.

Less than two weeks later, on November 7, the university’s lawyers said: “We have conclusively rebutted (with evidence) all the false allegations of plagiarism that have been presented to date.”

The excerpts referenced in The Post’s inquiry are not plagiarism because, among many other reasons, the so-called “plagiarized” works are both cited and properly credited.

But the corporation has still not explained how it rushed to that conclusion, and who decided that Gay was innocent.

Why did Harvard launch a secret probe — and what did it really find?

On November 3, the Harvard Corporation did start some kind of investigation, but entirely in secret.

Four members of the 12-person corporation formed a special committee to decide what to do about the allegations — but their identities have never been disclosed.

That committee appears to be who decided to ditch Harvard’s normal rules on dealing with plagiarism allegations against faculty members, which the corporation later said would have been a conflict of interest because the body which would carry it out reports to the president — at the time, Gay herself.

Claudine Gay

The corporation then asked three outside “distinguished political scientists” who had “no affiliation” with Harvard. Their identities and the methods they used to investigate Gay have also never been disclosed.

But on December 12, the college issued a long statement defending Gay and once again cleared her of plagiarism — without saying what the three outside political scientists found.

Instead it said: “On December 9, the Fellows reviewed the results, which revealed a few instances of inadequate citation.”

Claudine Gay

And it said “the analysis found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct,” but did not explain how that conclusion was reached.

Will Gay be fully investigated under Harvard’s rules for faculty?

The corporation said it had to go to a secret star chamber of outside political scientists and not use the usual method of investigating plagiarism claims because of “the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest, because these offices ultimately report to the President.”

But that conflict no longer exists: Gay is once again an ordinary member of the faculty.

And under normal faculty rules, it should be up to the Research Integrity Officer in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to decide if there is enough doubt over Gay’s work for it to be fully investigated — and to do so within a week, if possible.

After that, the faculty’s Standing Committee on Professional Conduct is required to start a full investigation , give Gay written notice of it, and find “individuals with the appropriate scientific expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues.”

Gay has already admitted she needed to make four corrections to academic papers and three to her dissertation.

Who hired and briefed the bullying lawyers?

Harvard’s lawyers, Clare Locke, said they represented both the university and Gay. But it is not clear who made the unusual decision to hire them, given that the $50 billion-endowment college has lawyers of its own, led by general counsel Diane Lopez, or who told them to claim that Gay had been cleared of plagiarism.

Clare Locke has previously represented the Sackler family, Matt Lauer, and  Russian oligarchs  after the invasion of Ukraine.

It also represented Dominion Voting Systems in its lawsuit against Fox News. The Post’s parent company, News Corp, shares the same ownership as Fox News’ parent company, Fox Corporation.

Harvard did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Share this article:

Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama

Advertisement

resume harvard

We've detected unusual activity from your computer network

To continue, please click the box below to let us know you're not a robot.

Why did this happen?

Please make sure your browser supports JavaScript and cookies and that you are not blocking them from loading. For more information you can review our Terms of Service and Cookie Policy .

For inquiries related to this message please contact our support team and provide the reference ID below.

GB News

Harvard University president QUITS after sparking outrage with antisemitism comments

H avard University's president has stepped down amid allegations of plagiarism and criticisms over antisemitic comments made on campus.

Claudine Gay was criticised after her appearance at a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism.

Following this, her work was subject to scrutiny and plagiarism allegations were made against her.

Announcing her resignation, she said it was in the "best interests" of the university for her to step down.

"It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily,” she said in a statement.

"Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries.

"But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual."

Gay, Harvard’s first Black president, quit her job just six months and two days into the role.

Her period in charge of the exclusive Ivy League university is the shortest in its history.

Harvard has announced that Gay will resume her faculty position at the university.

Gay will be temporarily replaced by Alan Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, whilst the university searches for a new leader.

Defending the former president, Harvard said: "While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks."

"While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls. We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms."

Harvard University president QUITS after sparking outrage with antisemitism comments

IMAGES

  1. Here's how much it actually costs to attend the top colleges in the US

    resume harvard

  2. Harvard Resume Template Pdf

    resume harvard

  3. Resume Sample Harvard University

    resume harvard

  4. Harvard Resume Sample

    resume harvard

  5. Classic Harvard Resume Template for Word Professional &

    resume harvard

  6. Harvard Resume Template Pdf

    resume harvard

VIDEO

  1. Harvard Tips 101

  2. FREE Harvard Resume Template

  3. Harvard Course Requirements

  4. Get Harvard's "Perfect" Resume

  5. 🤯Access the Elite: 10 FREE Harvard Online Courses 🌐 Learn from the Best! Part 3

  6. Is harvard’s resume template actually good?🧐💡 #SHORTS

COMMENTS

  1. Harvard College Resumes & Cover Letter Guide

    Learn how to write a resume and a cover letter for your career goals at Harvard College. Find tips, examples, and resources from the Mignone Center for Career Success.

  2. Create a Resume/CV or Cover Letter

    Learn how to write a resume or CV for different purposes and audiences, with tips and resources from Harvard FAS. Find templates, guides, examples, and videos for Harvard College, GSAS, and Extension students.

  3. PDF CVs and Cover Letters

    There is no single best format. Refer to samples for ideas, but craft your CV to best reflect you and your unique accomplishments. Unlike a resume, there is no page limit, but most graduate students' CVs are two to five pages in length.

  4. PDF Harvard College Guide to Resumes & Cover Letters

    RESUME TIPS - 1. Spelling and grammar errors 2. Missing email and phone information 3. Using passive language instead of "action" words 4. Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim 5. Not demonstrating results 6.

  5. PDF OCS COVER LETTERS RESUMES

    1. Spelling and grammar errors 2. Missing email and phone information 3. Using passive language instead of "action" words 4. Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim 5. Not demonstrating results 6. Too long RESUME LANGUAGE SHOULD BE: • Specific rather than general • Active rather than passive • Written to express not impress

  6. 23 Resume Tips for 2023

    Published on January 10, 2023 by Adrienne Tom, originally posted at Career Impressions, 1/3/23 Regardless of how you feel about your current job or if you are looking for a new job in the new year — it would be wise to have your resume ready. The following 23 resume tips for 2023 can be an excellent starting point.

  7. PDF OCS COVER LETTERS RESUMES

    A resume is a concise, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and diferentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although it alone won't get you a job or internship, a good resume is an important factor in obtaining an interview.

  8. How to Write a Resume That Stands Out

    Search GSD Now You finally found it! The perfect job for you. Now, all you have to do to get the process started is to submit your resume. The problem is that hundreds

  9. The Only Resume Cheat Sheet You'll Ever Need

    Resume pro tips When a hiring manager is reading your application, they just want to know the answer to three questions: Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Will you fit in? Show, don't tell! Skip tired terms like goal-oriented and results-driven, opting instead for real data. How much money did you save the organization?

  10. Preparing a Resume

    Be creative! You have lots of transferrable skills that might not be apparent to you at the start. Be sure to check out MCS resources to help break down your set of experiences into their most essential skills and building blocks. Please make sure that your resume is easy to read!

  11. PDF RESUMES and COVER LETTERS

    Are you a Harvard Extension School student looking for resources and cover letters to boost your career prospects? Download this guide to learn how to craft a resume and a cover letter that showcase your skills, education, and experience in the best light. This guide also provides examples and tips for different fields and situations.

  12. Resumes/CVs

    Resume CV Guide Professional Biography Guide Additional Harvard University Resources Harvard Medical School Guidelines for Academic CV Preparation Guide to CVs and Cover letters (Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Guide to Resumes and cover letters for Masters Students (Harvard GSAS)

  13. PDF Resumes & Cover Letters for Student Master's Students Graduate

    No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without the express written permission of the Harvard University Faculty of Arts & Sciences Office of Career Services. 8/21. Office of Career Services Harvard University Faculty of Arts & Sciences Cambridge, MA 02138 Phone: (617) 495-2595 www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu. Resumes and Cover Letters.

  14. PDF RESUME/CV GUIDE

    A resume is a concise and informative summary of your education, training, experiences, skills and accomplishments as they relate to the type of employment you are seeking. It should highlight your strongest assets and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions.

  15. Resumes & Portfolios

    Resumes. There are two documents that you need to write that will usually be your introduction to a potential employer - a resume and a cover letter. A resume is often the first document that you will send or hand to a potential employer or even someone who might advise you. You may (and should) spend time revising it continually, but you ...

  16. PDF RESUMES and COVER LETTERS

    A resume is a brief, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experi-ence. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and diferentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although it alone will not get you a job or internship, a good resume is an important element toward obtaining an interview.

  17. Application Toolkit: Resume

    Resume Workshop Our Resume Workshop provides applicants with straightforward advice on how to craft their resumes with a reflective activity and guiding questions to consider.

  18. What Makes a Great Resume?

    What Makes a Great Resume? by Cathy Wasserman and Lauren B. Weinstein January 27, 2023 HBR Staff; Emma Innocenti/Getty Images Summary. If you're struggling to get your resume noticed, it's time...

  19. PDF Resume Guide

    Cafeteria for resume assistance. Students and alumni may also have their resumes reviewed as part of an individual career coaching appointments. To schedule an appointment, please login to CareerConnect at https://hsph-harvard-See Sample resumes in the Career Resources Library. What's the difference between a resume and a CV?

  20. 5 Skills Your Resume Needs in 2022

    So, if you're hoping to take advantage of the booming job market, you need to make sure your resume has the following five skills. 1. Communication. Strong communication skills will always be important no matter what roles you're applying for. You need to be able hold a conversation well, listen carefully to others, and communicate your ...

  21. PDF RESUMES and COVER LETTERS

    Harvard Extension School on Your Resume We are regularly asked how students and alums can most accurately convey their education at the Extension School on their resumes. You'll find sample formats below for those enrolled in degree programs, earning a certificate, or completing a single class. The degrees earned at HES are Bachelor of

  22. Harvard Resume Guide: Tips, Examples and Templates

    Choose a Harvard resume template that best serves your information. Our Resume Builder allows you to change the layout of your resume and automatically fit your information. Perfect grammar is a must for a Harvard resume. Use spell-check and another pair of eyes to revise your resume. Avoid "I" statements.

  23. An example of the perfect resume, according to Harvard career ...

    1. Tailor your resume I've seen a shockingly large number of candidates send out a dozen resumes — that all look exactly the same — to a dozen different job openings. A great resume should be...

  24. New Year, New Job? Start Planning Now.

    You can reach her at www.marlolyonscoaching.com. With a new year approaching, maybe finding a new job is on your list of resolutions. Being clear on what you want and aligning your resume and ...

  25. A timeline of Harvard President Claudine Gay's short, scandal-plagued

    Gay was the first person of color and second woman in Harvard University's 386-year history to serve as president. Her tenure as president is the shortest in the school's history. She will resume ...

  26. Harvard's President Resigns

    The resignation of Dr. Gay marked an abrupt end to a turbulent tenure that began in July. Her stint was the shortest of any president in the history of Harvard since its founding in 1636. She was ...

  27. Claudine Gay resigns as Harvard University president

    Harvard University's president has resigned after facing allegations of plagiarism and criticism over her comments about antisemitism on campus. Claudine Gay had faced mounting pressure to step ...

  28. Claudine Gay plagiarism scandal: Questions mount for Harvard

    In Harvard's lawyers' letter to The Post on October 27, the university demanded that allegations that Gay was a plagiarist "must not be published" and threatened legal action to find the ...

  29. Summers Says Gay Should Be Admired for Putting Harvard First

    January 2, 2024 at 12:10 PM PST. Listen. 0:49. Larry Summers praised departing Harvard President Claudine Gay for her decision to step down after a short tenure marred by allegations of plagiarism ...

  30. Harvard University president QUITS after sparking outrage with ...

    Harvard has announced that Gay will resume her faculty position at the university. Gay will be temporarily replaced by Alan Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, whilst the university ...