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Create The Best Resume Anyone’s Ever Seen
March 21, 2017
U.S. Dept. of State Foreign Policy Classroom Program

Remember Elle Woods’ pink scented resume? It was quirky, uncommon and the guys definitely took notice.

In creating the best resume anyone’s ever seen, you don’t have to make it scented to stand out and be memorable.

Here’s some ideas:

Blow your own horn, and show specific results

Listing where you work and what you did is good, but go a step further. Add a brief summary of what you accomplished and what the benefit was for the company.

If you can quantify it, you get 5 stars.

For instance, instead of saying, “I compiled reports for social media.” you could say, “My weekly reports on social media enabled my company to adjust their campaigns and increase visitors 27%.

Or, instead of “I was an assistant to the CFO.” say “I assisted the CFO in researching 12 competitors and designed a 22 page PowerPoint deck with the results.”

Get granular with your personal interests

When you get very specific with your interests, you create an opportunity to connect with your prospect.

Who knew you were a Derek Jeter fan and were president of his fan club? Or that you admired John Kennedy and spent 2 summer semesters studying him? Or your love of 1960’s Sci Fi films? It opens up conversations and shows your commitment and passion.

Name drop

Using a brand name or big company names adds cred to your resume which rubs off on you. If you designed brochures for The Smithsonian, say so. Or, say “I supervised the event planning for a Charity Water fundraiser that raised $100K.” Or, “I wrote weekly press releases for Senator Warren.”

Show you are aiming high

Because you are at the beginning of the road in your career, stating your goals on your resume lets people know where you are going. This could be titled as a “Career Objective” or just “Objective”. Describe the work you desire to do. What you’re passionate about. How it will affect the world. The employer wants to see some heart and passion, and that will make yours stand out from the other generic resumes. Tying it back to the company you’re applying for will give you extra points as well.

Only list experience that’s relevant

Chances are operating a lemonade stand that summer will not be relevant for a political internship.

Tailor-edit your resume depending on where you’re sending it. If you’re applying to be in the Peace Corps vs. applying to be an intern at a corporation, your resume should be appropriate. The rest is annoying clutter.

Double and triple-check your resume

Fact check. Proofread. Edit down. Re-format. Repeat. People scan resumes first, so listing accomplishments on the left side makes it easy to do that.

  • Accuracy counts
  • You never want an employer to catch you in a lie
  • Typos are an automatic throw away
  • Proofread it
  • Don’t rely on spell checker
  • Get feedback from others and tweak it


Stick to one page

This holds true with almost all resumes (unless you’re a high-level executive with 20 years of experience). Your resume should not exceed one page. And within that one page, it should be clear and concise, with plenty of white space. Narrow down rather than crowd the text.

Don’t overdo the design

It’s great to create a resume that stands out, and design is one way to do that. But don’t overdo it, and make it messy or confusing. Ask a designer friend to help create a neat, clean layout that is easy to read. Use larger type for headlines so they stand out and offer visual variety. Leave space between elements, don’t cram information in. Edit it down if it’s too long.

Here are some resources to download resume templates, some free or low cost.

Include or send references

References aren’t always required for job or internship applications. But if you have a couple of great references or mentors that would vouch for you, it shows great respect that you would include that in your application. You can also put ‘References available upon request’ in bold on your resume.

Read more about 7 difficult interview questions to be prepared for

Show off your skills

List out the high school or college you are attending, with anticipated graduation date. Also include your skills, such as Photoshop, Excel, Hoot Suite, Evernote, Sales Force or other design, marketing, or sales programs. List your volunteer work as well.

Make contacting you easy

Recruiters skim your resume, and they don’t want to spend time looking for your contact information. Make it easy for them to email or call you by putting your name, email, address, phone number and website (if applicable) front and center.

How do you want to be represented to the internship you want most? Make yours the best intern resume ever.