Resumes are an important reflection of your academic and professional journey. They allow employers to visualize who you are, and how you may fit as a potential candidate on their team. Ultimately, your resume should be easy to read, condense your qualifications and skills, and highlight relevant experience. Questioning whether your resume meet an employer’s expectations? The following 8 tips will help you polish your professional document!

1) Include the Most Relevant Sections

Your resume should include the following important sections:

  • Contact information
  • Statement of Qualification
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Activities
  • Skills & Certifications


2) Format Sections Consistently and Concisely

Arrange your sections in a way that utilizes both the left and right margins. Keep your text bolding/italicizing consistent for distinction among sections. Make sure your information is aligned properly between the left and right margins.


3) Condense Your Resume into a Single Page

Ensuring that your resume includes all the important information is essential. However, your document should also be brief and to-the-point. Include the most key and relevant information, so employers can consume more information about you in the minimal amount of time they have. In addition, keep your font small, at about 10-12 pt. size, with a clean font like Times New Roman. White space should be visible, but minimal.


4) Arrange Your Information Accordingly

Inside each section, be aware of how you arrange your information. Remember to include pieces that are relevant to your expertise, and arrange them in reverse chronological order. Otherwise, arrange the information by most relevant to least relevant, if the employer may prefer this.


5) Use Active Language Consistent with Your Dates

Always begin your bullet points with a strong action verb. Have a thesaurus by your side or request for a handy dandy action verb sheet in our office! Keep in mind that verb tense should coincide with the date of the activity for each experience.


6) Spend Time Working on Your Bullet Points

Bullet points are one of the most valuable components of your resume. These points will take time to create, and may involve multiple revisions. Don’t fret! Just remember that these points should be clear and concise statements describing the responsibilities and duties of your role. In addition to a strong action verb, identify the skill you want to demonstrate, discuss the task completed, and quantify when possible. This means expand, expand, expand! Allow the employer to gain the necessary context. Help them visualize your position and the purpose behind it. Why did your work matter? Keep these ideas in mind as you create bullet points.


7) Your “Skills” Section Should Include Tangible Skills

Tangible or “hard” skills are included in this section. These may include, but are not limited to: computer/technical competencies, languages, certifications earned. Avoid including social and interpersonal skills, as these will be highlighted in the Experience section(s).


8) Avoid Common Mistakes

While there are many features to include in your resume, there are also many things to avoid completely. Here’s a shortlist of common characteristics to refrain from applying:

  • Spelling, grammatical, and typing errors
  • Using first-person language
  • Abbreviations/acronyms without explanation
  • Too much bold, italics, or underlining
  • Photos or Headshots
  • Colors
  • Not enough/too much detail
  • Listing personal interests, beliefs, references, salary, reasons for leaving

Still wondering how to apply this into your own document? Have no fear! For your convenience, we have created both a sample Bad Resume and one with the Good Resume. However, our office is always here to help! Stop by Maugans G05 at any time to have your career documents reviewed. You can also call us at 434-395-2063, or email at, to schedule an appointment. Once your resume is polished and finalized, expect to hear more callbacks, interviews, and job offers!


About the Author

Lindsay Hively ’19 and ‘21

Hi there! I’m Lindsay, a current graduate assistant for Longwood’s Office of Alumni and Career Services. I’m also a graduate student in the Counselor Education program, specifically the Mental Health track. After spending the best four years at LU for my undergrad, I simply couldn’t get enough. I’m excited to work with you on building your career. Feel free to stop by our office and meet me!

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