How can you get your job or internship application to stand out from the pack? The answer is straightforward: make sure that your resume shows that you are a perfect fit for the job.

Crafting a Winning Resume

Employers spend just 5-7 seconds looking at resumes, making layout and appearance crucial. With the rise of resume-scanning software, content and terminology are also key. Here’s how to make your resume stand out:

  1. Highlight Achievements, Not Duties
    Showcase specific accomplishments and outcomes instead of listing job responsibilities.

  2. Use Strong Action Verbs
    Start each bullet point with powerful action verbs to make your experience pop.

  3. Quantify Your Success
    Whenever possible, use numbers to demonstrate your achievements.

  4. Be Concise
    Transform full sentences into succinct phrases for clarity and impact.

  5. Tailor to the Job
    Customize your resume for each position, focusing on what the employer is seeking.

  6. One Idea Per Bullet
    Keep each bullet point focused on a single idea.

  7. Consistent Formatting
    Maintain uniformity in formatting and punctuation to ensure a polished look.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

Many resume templates look great but can keep you from getting an interview when employers use Automated Tracking Systems (ATS). For ECON students, we’ve created a resume template designed to be ATS-friendly. Download it here using your UMD credentials . (A federal resume template can be found here).

Watch and Learn

The video below guides you through our resume template, explaining its format and offering tips to help you craft a compelling resume for your internship or job application.


Tailor Your Resume for Success

Sending the same resume to every job is a common mistake. Tailoring your resume for each position makes it easier for hiring managers to see your value. Here's how:

  1. Treat Your Resume as a Marketing Document
    Focus on what the hiring manager is looking for, not just a list of experiences.

  2. Use Job Description Keywords
    Highlight keywords from the job description and incorporate them into your resume. For example, for this research assistant role, use terms like “international trade and finance,” “qualitative and quantitative research skills,” and “data visualization.”

  3. Prioritize Relevant Experience
    Include only relevant experiences. Sometimes, listing the job title, organization, and dates is enough. Make sure every bullet point relates to the job description.

Common Resume Pitfalls

Avoid these mistakes to improve your chances:

  • Too Long: Keep it to one page for students and recent graduates. One page for every 10 years of experience is a good rule.
  • Errors: Proofread to eliminate typos and mistakes. Don't rely solely on spell check.
  • Hard to Read: Use clear margins (0.75+), readable font size (11+ points), and enough white space between jobs and sections.
  • Too Much Text: Use bullet points instead of paragraphs. Be concise and direct.
  • Lack of Detail: Provide relevant coursework, experience, volunteer positions, and clubs. Include accomplishments and how you made things better.
  • Distracting Format: Avoid excessive colors, complex fonts, and fancy formatting. These can confuse the ATS.
  • Bland Content: Use compelling verbs and industry-specific keywords. Highlight your accomplishments.


Do you need more personalized advice? Schedule time with a career advisor.