Resume Formatting

There is no right answer for resume formatting. You’ll hear lots of opinions, but really, you just want your resume to be clear and concise

General Formatting

  • Resume length: 1-2 pages (for most people still in college or recent grads  your resume will be 1 page)
  • Font type and size: Arial, Times New Roman, Gill Sans (easy to read types), 10 – 12 pt size
  • Name and headings should stand out and be easy to read
  • Margins: ½ inch to 1 inch on all sides.  Keep sides symmetrical.
  • Use bold, italics , and underline to highlight content of particular relevance and importance
  • Use a consistent verb tense (past or present tense)
  • Use action oriented words to describe your experiences
  • Organize your content in a way that reflects your professional pursuits
  • Proofread your resume and have others review it for grammar and clarity
  • Name the document appropriately when saving to your computer, (ex. Jane Doe Resume 2016.doc)
  • Save your resume as a .pdf document for easy electronic transmission
  • Print on resume paper

Should I include my GPA on my resume?

The general rule of thumb is to include your GPA if it is a 3.0 or above. If it is below a 3.0, include your GPA if it is specifically required by an employer or the employer’s minimum GPA is lower than a 3.0. If your GPA is under a 3.0, you should talk with a member of the Center for Career Development to determine the best course of action for your individual situation.

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How should I discuss my experiences like Eisenhower Institute programs, Garthwait Leadership programs, or other clubs/organizations?

When you discuss these types of programs, be sure you are discussing YOUR accomplishments and AVOID describing the organization/program.


Eisenhower Institute – Program Assistant, Inside Politics

  • Coordinated and oversaw meetings, events, and travel logistics to Washington, D.C. for fifteen student participants.
  • Led a 4-person communications team in advertising EI’s distinctive programs to the campus community, which resulted in a 30% increase in student applications.

Eisenhower Institute – Participant, Inside Politics & Women in Leadership

  • Developed professional relationships with industry experts through networking events and leadership discussions.
  • Presented research on the First Ladies in Society and Presidential Elections to an audience of 50 .


Leadership Certificate, Garthwait Leadership Center

  • Participated in 50+ hours of specialized training and weekly leadership discussions.
  • Identified a practical leadership experience on campus, established goals, and created and executed an action plan that utilized leadership skills culminating in a research presentation to over 100 students, faculty, and staff. (NOTE: this would need to be made specific to each student based on their chosen experience and relevant skills)
  • Established a positive, ongoing relationship with a leadership coach through monthly meetings
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Can a resume be longer than 1 page?

As an undergraduate or recent graduate, a one page document should be sufficient to highlight your experiences and accomplishments. Remember, many employers only spend 10-15 seconds scanning a resume initially, so you want to tailor your resume for each position so that the most relevant information is included and well-organized for that employer.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, please talk with a member of the Center for Career Development.

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Do I really need to create different resumes for different positions?

Make sure you’ve reviewed a position description and are highlighting the experiences/accomplishments most relevant to that employer. Employers will notice when its well tailored to the position, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to develop an entirely new document each time. If you are applying to positions that are in different industries or require different skills, consider creating multiple resumes tailored to those industries.

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How far back should I go?

As a first or second year student, it is okay to still include high school information and experiences on your resume. By your Junior year, you should replace that information with experiences from your time at Gettysburg College and, therefore, entirely remove high school details from your resume.

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When should I take off high school information?

High school information, including the name of your high school, should be removed by the end of your sophomore year. Employers/Graduate schools are most interested in your experiences during your Gettysburg College years. There are exceptions to this rule, so be sure to talk with the staff in the Center for Career Development if you have questions about pre-college experiences you think should be included on your resume

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What size font should I use?

The ideal range is between 10-12pt font, with the exception that your name can be a bit bigger (14-16pt font). Any font size smaller than 10pt font, starts to look like you are trying to squeeze information onto the document and can seem daunting or difficult to read.

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