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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

As college students, the search for internship and career opportunities is front and center. A fundamental and essential part of the process of landing an internship and/or receiving a job offer is your resume. Now, this word can bring up a significant amount of anxiety around ensuring you present an accurate and quality representation of your experiences, skill sets, and overall education. There are plenty of templates, guidelines, and opinions floating around regarding what your resume should contain and look like. With career fairs swiftly approaching and the academic year ticking away, it’s important to have a resume ready to present and one that you feel confident with. Here are some top dos and don’ts to crafting a professional resume:


include personal contact information

This would be your professional email, phone number, address, and LinkedIn URL.

include the basics under your education section

This would be your major(s) and/or minor(s), GPA, and your expected graduation month and year (ex. May 2025). You can also include relevant coursework that you have completed that would demonstrate various skill sets needed for the position you are applying for.

use strong verb choice

When it comes to resumes, you want to maximize the limited space you have on that one page. Since resumes are not for elaborating on every experience, you want to get to the point yet still be effective in communicating the key details of the roles and experiences you’ve had. Choosing strong action verbs grabs the attention of the employer or recruiter reading over your resume and enhances the explanation of your role or position. Some examples of strong verbs to include when writing your resume include executed, orchestrated, coordinated, implemented, launched, facilitated, collaborated, mentored, trained, negotiated, partnered, advised, analyzed, assembled, drafted, and promoted. There are also plenty of online resources like TheMuse and Indeed that can help guide you on what verbs to use for specific circumstances.

be specific in your experience section

Make sure that when you’re describing your roles or positions, that you give as much detail as possible without being too wordy. For example, if you were on the event planning team for a formal for one of your organizations, include an estimate of how many people attended as well as the specific tasks you performed in the planning process. Instead of stating that you “oversaw event planning for (insert organization’s name) spring formal,” say something more along the lines of “composed the event itinerary in collaboration with team members for (insert organization’s name) spring formal hosting over 300 students.”

proofread and revise

It’s important to continually update your resume as you gain new experience and skill sets. Proofreading and revising help ensure that you present the best version of your resume. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of resources here at Virginia Tech. Career and Professional Development here at Virginia Tech is located in the Smith Career Center right across from McComas Hall. They offer various resources including advisory meetings where a staff member or experienced peer advisor can look over your resume for constructive feedback. Proofreading your resume and revising it eliminates common mistakes such as typos, margin errors, incorrect fonts, and punctuation errors.


Exceed one page

Standard undergraduate resumes are one page in length.

add soft skills to your skill section

When it comes to this section of your resume, generalized and soft skills are not needed. These soft skills would include things like time management, leadership, creativity, teamwork, active listening, ethics, etc. These are skills that are a bit more general and are oftentimes already expected. These kinds of skills reflect themselves in the experience section of your resume without the need to be highlighted or specifically explained. Soft skills will reveal themselves in places like interviews where you are having a conversation with the recruiter or employer. During this time, you can elaborate on the roles and positions you’ve had and discuss how you’ve gained and grown in your soft skills through those experiences.

include experiences irrelevant to the position you are applying to

For your college resume, it’s strongly recommended that you do not include every experience you’ve had. High school experience can be cut from your resume now that you’re a college student. For example, the fact that you were president of the environment club in high school or waited tables at Olive Garden one summer does not need to be included in the experience section of your resume. I would suggest adding those kinds of experiences to your LinkedIn profile and include the link to it on your resume. It’s important to ask yourself if the experience section of your resume is relevant to the position you are applying for. Try to include experiences since you have entered college. Since your resume needs to be one page in length, leaving out experiences that are unrelated to what you are studying and the field or industry you are pursuing can be excluded to make space for more relevant experiences.

use a One-size-fits-all template

When crafting your resume, it’s crucial to understand the field or industry you are in. The resume of a theater major is going to look very different than the resume of a finance major in both content and format. For example, it may be appropriate for majors in the performing arts or design to incorporate color in their resumes alongside portfolios of their work. On the other hand, majors in business, engineering, or the medical field should be strictly black and white.

Stretch skill sets

It’s absolutely crucial to ensure that the skills you list on your resume are one hundred percent accurate and honest. If you list a second language on your resume, make sure to include your level of proficiency and be honest about it. The same goes for any software skill sets such as Canva or Adobe’s Principles of Design. Make sure if you are including software under your skill sets section, that you’re very familiar with the way it works and can produce quality content with it as well. If employers see a skill listed, they expect you to be competent in it.

For more resume resources, visit Virginia Tech’s Career and Professional Development website.

Simone Smith

Virginia Tech '25

I am a junior at Virginia Tech pursuing a degree in Public Relations. I enjoy painting, hikes with friends, sunsets, and finding new music.