Tips for Creating an Excellent Resume to Land an Internship

A successful career starts with a great resume. Here’s how to sell yourself with very little experience.

In today’s job market, the internship has become the new entry-level position. If you want to build a successful career, it starts with a series of internships, co-ops and fellowships throughout your college career. But to land these coveted opportunities, you must first write a winning resume.

I shared with Business Insider’s Jacquelyn V. Smith a sample resume and my top tips for job seekers with no experience. Here are the top takeaways:


Keep the layout clean.

Stick with one font type throughout the document that’s easy to read online and offline such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Be consistent in how you represent locations (“Atlanta, GA” vs. “Atlanta, Georgia”) and time (“Summer 2012” vs. “May 2012 – August 2012” vs. “05/2012 – 08/2012”), so it’s easy to scan and pick out the important information. In addition, the headers and main sections of information are centered on the page, which Ladders eye-tracking study revealed is how recruiters tend to scan resumes.

Include a link to your professional profile.

You haven’t already, create at least one social media profile that’s dedicated to your future profession. If you plan to work in a more creative field when you graduate, consider developing an online portfolio you can include in the contact information section of your resume. Also, increase the security settings on your personal social media accounts to make sure they’re safely hidden away from hiring managers’ eyes.

Make your goals clear.

If your resume was passed along to someone by a friend, would the reader know right away what type of internship or first job you’re looking for? Include a professional title and summary at the top of the resume that clearly states your goals,so the reader never has to guess. Even though you’re still developing your personal brand, your summary should explain the value you bring to the table.

Play up your selling points.

When you don’t have any relevant work experience, you have to get a little creative with the layout of your resume to showcase your other strengths such as your leadership activities, relevant coursework, and academic achievements. Include your work experience, even if it isn’t directly tied to your internship goals because it demonstrates your work ethic, but move it towards the bottom of the resume.

Don’t list your references.

As a college student you only get one page of resume real estate – don’t waste it by including a list of references or stating “References available upon request.” Employers don’t ask for this information until you make it to a face-to-face interview, and they know you’ll provide it if they request it.

While employers don’t expect their prospective interns to have loads of relevant experience, they do want to see an active, well-rounded student who’s genuinely interested in their job opportunity.

Click on the following link to view the full list of resume tips and a sample resume on Business Insider.