Tips for Writing an Effective Resume

Tips for Writing an Effective Resume

Writing an effective resume is key to helping you find your perfect internship in D.C.. With this guide we'll provide you with some tips and tricks on how to make your resume standout from the pack. If you need some inspiration, check out our Resume Samples.


Resume Sections

  • Contact Information (name, address, email, phone number)
  • Education
  • Academic Honors / Awards
  • Work Experience, Professional Experience
  • Leadership Experience, Community Leadership (volunteerism), Campus Leadership (clubs and organizations)
  • Skills (computer skills, language ability)

Contact Information

  • This is your resume’s header
  • Make sure your full name is the largest item on the page
  • Use a professional email address ( • Include your phone number with area code


  • Put your home institution first. If you’ve already graduated, put your highest level of education first. • Put the month and year you will be graduating or graduated (i.e. Anticipated May 2016)
  • Use your school’s official name.

Academic Honors/Awards

  • List awards & honors in the Education section if they are all school-related
  • Mention how long you have held the honor: for example, “Dean's List (four semesters).” • Highlight scholarships – please do not include monetary value of the award

Work Experience (or Professional Experience)

  • List your experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first) • List 3-5 bullets per position
  • Use present tense for current duties and past tense for past duties

Leadership Experience (or Community Leadership, Campus Leadership)

  • Format and write about extra-curricular activities the same way you would your work experience
  • Do not include high school activities


  • Include any computer software or programs relevant to a potential internship
  • Describe language proficiency with words like “Basic,” “Proficient,” “Conversational,” “Fluent” or “Native”

Formatting Best Practices

  • Keep your resume to one page
  • Make good use of your white space by keeping your margins between 0.5 and 1 inch
  • Use a 10-12 pt. conservative font for the body of your resume
  • No photos, please!
  • Make sure you are consistent in your formatting (for example, use the same font throughout) • Be consistent in how you format locations and time periods