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DO's

Recruiters want to see that:

  • You have the basic skills that are required and more
  • You have gone above and beyond your job, extracurricular, or volunteer duties in the past
  • You demonstrated pride in your experiences and put together a professional resume
  • You are able to write a professionally concise description for your experiences that reflect your skills

DON'T's

Recruiters do not want to see:

  • Your entire life story
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cover a skill or experience that you don't have
  • Unrelated work experience and hobbies
  • Unnecessarily lengthy explanations 

Resume Styles

Chronological

A chronological style is usually recommended for college students. In a chronological resume, items are arranged in reverse-chronological order within topic areas (education,experience, etc.). If only some of your experience is relevant, you can divide it into two blocks: “Related Experience” (or “Teaching Experience”, for example) and “Additional Experience.”

Functional

A functional style stresses skills and abilities regardless of where and when they were developed or demonstrated. A resume in this format is not arranged chronologically. For more information about resume styles, visit our office in Bryant Hall. 

Bullet vs. Paragraph

The bullet format presents information in a concise, easy to follow manner; however, because each description is on a separate line, the page fills up quickly. In contrast, the paragraph format allows for more text on the page, but can come across as dense and overwhelming, and thus lose the interest of the reader. Whether using bullet or paragraph format, make sure to: 

  • Use strong action verbs.
  • Use the minimum number of words to convey meaning.
  • List your most impressive descriptions/skills first within each entry. 

Resume Layout

The layout of your resume is very important. It must be visually attractive, well organized and easy to read.
Resume tips include:

Formatting

  • Avoid resume templates—the automatic formatting will limit your options. Find a resume you like and copy its style.
  • Avoid large blocks of text (i.e. more than 10 lines).
  • Keep it to 1 page. As a general rule, one page is the recommended length. This may vary if you have extensive experience.
  • Keep margins wide (no smaller than 0.5”) and even.

Fonts

  • Fonts are important.
  • Only use one font type.
  • Use standard, readable fonts like Helvetica, Bookman, Arial, and Times New Roman.
  • Keep font size within 10-14 points.
  • Do not use script fonts or underline. Boldface and italics are better ways to highlight something.
  • Don’t compress the space between letters; you want your resume to be readable!

Visuals

  • Avoid color, graphics, and shading.
  • If you use lines, put at least 1/4 inch of white space around them.

Printing

  • Always send originals on light-colored 8 1/2" x 11"paper.
  • Don’t fold or staple your resume.

Professional Review

Need someone professional to review your resume, cover letter, and supporting materials? Drop-in hours are offered throughout the year at our Newcomb Office location (Room 170), Monday through Friday.

Call (434) 924-8900 or come by the UVA Career Center to schedule a counseling appointment. General Career Counseling and Health and Law Professions Advising appointments are typically 30 minutes in length. 

Next Step: Look at Resume Examples