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Resume page layout, templates, format, samples

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Page layout basics:

Page margins of 1/2 to 1 inch on all sides generally look fine.

Font size: Except for your name, which can be larger, font sizes of 10, 11 or 12 generally look fine. Notice that font sizes are not the same in each font style (e.g. Arial 12 is much larger than Times 12). If you have trouble getting your content on one page, try a slightly smaller font style or size. Sometimes you can enter a half-size, such as 10.5, 11.5, etc.

Spacing: Single spacing usually works best, with a blank line between each section of content. If you need to change your spacing in your version of Word and can't find how to do that, use the "Help" function in Word.

Heading: Create your heading with your name, phone, email, and college and permanent addresses. 

Simple technique for content layout of your resume: create a table; one column for headings; another column for content; one row for each heading section. Before you finalize, set borders to "none" so they don't appear on your document. With table format, it's easy to resize and realign your content as you revise your resume (avoids tabbing and tedious, less effective spacing to align content). Use the "Help" function in Word if you need it. [We are not saying you have to create a table! It's just a tool you can use.]


Use Microsoft Word. Be extremely cautious if you select a resume template. Many are too complicated in layout, have excessive shading or other formatting features that are not recommended.

A risk with a template is choosing one with categories and headings that do not suit your background or best present your qualifications for the positions you are seeking (and are sometimes tricky to modify).

Content format:

Chronological format and variations

Skills format

How to choose a format for your resume


Do I need a scannable resume?


Chronological format and variations:

The most common resume format is called "chronological" and is really reverse chronological, meaning most recent items first.

Within each section (education, experience, etc.) you list your entries with most recent items first. This is a good way to start a draft of your resume. Most of the samples are variations on the chronological format. You might hear the terms "functional" used to describe resumes. These are just variations on the chronological format that use headings that best showcase your background and qualifications.

Skills format

A skills resume combines the skills you have from a variety of experiences — paid work, volunteer work, student activities, classroom work, projects, you name it — and groups these skills by category that relate to the kind of job you're seeking. This format works best when a traditional resume just doesn't work to make you look like a good candidate even though you have relevant skills. But use caution: many employers don't favor skills-format resumes. A Career Services advisor can look at your first resume draft and help you decide if a skills format might be the best approach to use.

Skills resume in samples below.

How to choose a format for your resume

Start with content and sections of your resume. Write out everything you have in your background, even if it is initially too much information. Edit from there.

DO look at many samples, and the features of each. Choose the combination of features that matches your background.

DON'T just look at samples. No one sample includes all possible resume content. You may need content not included in the samples you view.

DON'T choose a resume style simply because the fictional student in a sample has your major. Major doesn't dictate the style of your resume; use the style that best showcases your qualifications which are not limited to major.

You may choose any style regardless of the type of employment you are seeking, whether internship, co-op, or permanent employment. 

DO choose a format which best shows how your individual credentials support your objective. 

If you are unsure, DO start with a chronological format and have your resume reviewed, and revise your resume as needed.

Do I need a scannable resume?

Highly unlikely now. It's mostly a 20th century thing. More about what this means if you're interested and why you might hear about it...


All are ONE PAGE unless otherwise noted.
1 Silva B.S. in progress.
Freshman student seeking 3-term co-op.
Availability indicated because co-op work term availability varies by student and when you need to be in school for courses.
Doesn't yet have career-related experience.
2 Gimble B.A. in progress.
Sophomore level student seeking summer job/internship.
Has experience, volunteer work and student leadership related to career field of interest; these are detailed.
"Other" experience section; one line per job; detail not needed.
Arial 11 font.
3 Gimble Same as above.
Candara 11 font.
4 Ward Federal government resume style.
B.S. degree in progress; junior academic level.
Seeking internship.
More than one page to accomodate federal government resume preferences.
See more about federal job search
Times New Roman 12 font.
5 McWellen B.S. almost completed; seeking job at graduation.
Coursework to show specialty and focus (not basic courses taken by anyone in the same major)
Extensive skills section related to career field.
Arial 10 font.
6 McWellen Same as above.
Corbel 10.5 font.
7 Walsh B.A. candidate with coursework outside major that supports the objective; includes language skills.
Junior academic level.
Seeking internship.
Relevant campus job and student media experience.
Century Gothic 11 font.
8 Matthews Bachelor's degree; seeking job at graduation.
Study abroad in education section.
Design skills section. Portfolio link.
Palatino Linotype 10 font.
9 Neilson Bachelor's degree, seeking job at graduation.
Completing degree in August (indicate your real completion month/year, not when you "walk")
Goes by middle-name/nickname; shown in heading.
Course project detailed.
GPA shown to 100th decimal place because close to next 10th decimal place; rounding up would be inaccurate and could appear dishonest.
Traditional font choice: Times New Roman 11.
10 Barbour Bachelor's degree, double major and minor.
Study abroad and Washington Semester in education section.
Language skills related to objective.
"Related" and "other" experience.
Details on colleges activity involving organizational skills.
Book Antiqua 10 font.
11 Constantine Earning two bachelor's degrees (distinct from double major)
University Registrar FAQs: What is the difference between and double major and a second degree?
Details on student leadership role.
Calibri 11 font.
12 Sorvino B.S. degree being completed, seeking job at graduation.
Related and other experience categories.
Selective bolding helps key items stand out.
Tahoma 10 font.
13 Kelly Skills resume. Summarizes skills from a variety of sources: work, class projects, student activities. Seek advice if you take this approach; some employers do not favor skills resumes; but these can be effective tools for some job seekers.
Garamond 11.5 font.
14 Alvarez M.S. in progress. Seeking position at completion.
B.S. completed.
Both degrees from Virginia Tech.
Related and "other" experience separate sections. Details on related experience; no details needed for other experience.
Verdana 9.5 font.
15 Alvarez Same as above.
Slight format change & Calibri 11 font.
16 Benjamin Ph.D. candidate
Curriculum vitae; multiple pages expected.



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