Whether you are in the middle of your college career and want a summer internship to begin building experience or you are a recent graduate seeking a long-term internship, the right resume is the key to success. Here’s what you need to know about writing an effective intern resume.
An internship resume is different from a professional resume in a number of ways. The most notable difference is the lack of work experience. Interns are not expected to have a wealth of professional experience. Instead, the focus will be on your soft and hard skills, and your goals for the future. When you write an internship resume, your objective should be to show the right attitude and passion for the role you are trying to fill.
An internship resume is a specialized resume used to apply for short or long-term unpaid internships. In general, internships can range between a few weeks and a year in length, although some internships may last longer than a year. Internships are common in competitive industries like fashion, journalism, and media. For recent graduates or students, a summer internship is often the best way to increase their chance of securing a paid position in their industry of choice. Internships are important because they:
Prestigious internship positions can be just as competitive as paid positions, especially when they are at important companies like Google, Facebook, or Microsoft. As such, a good internship resume should show that you are a uniquely qualified candidate by showcasing more than a strong work ethic. Your intern resume should focus on:
As your intern resume will not have a professional experience section, your skills section and education section will be of amplified importance. The right skills and qualifications can make all the difference. If you are a college student or you have recently graduated, you can list appropriate coursework and projects on your resume to make it stand out. For example, if you are applying for an internship as a software developer at Microsoft, your computer science degree and coursework will be crucial.
Here are some examples of skills to include if you want to write a great resume for an internship application:
As is the case when writing a professional resume, your student resume or intern resume should be tailored to suit the position you are applying for. Consider the job description and research the work environment you will be entering to ensure you make a good impression on recruiters.
The right experience and skills are not all that you need to be successful in an internship application. Your resume should also be well-written and presented. These internship resume writing tips will help you create the best resume:
The right format is crucial for any resume, and there are three main resume formats to choose from. The first is a chronological resume format, sometimes called a reverse-chronological resume format. This format puts emphasis on work history and professional experience, making it less than ideal for an internship resume. The second is a functional resume format. This format prioritizes skills and is great for those who have little professional work experience. And the third format is the combination resume format. A combination or hybrid resume, balances work experience and skills.
For an internship resume, a functional format is the best option. But, if you have a small amount of relevant work experience, a combination format will be great.
The job description for the internship will highlight skills that are deemed essential for the role. You can help your resume pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that scan resumes, impress hiring managers by tailoring your resume to showcase these required skills, and show that you are not averse to hard work. If you do this, your chance of getting an internship position will be much higher.
As you are unlikely to have a lot of work or internship experience, you should opt for a resume objective statement rather than a resume summary. Spend time perfecting your resume objective statement as it will be the first item a recruiter reads. Here is a great example of a resume objective for a college student:
Dedicated computer science student at [xyz] with a 4.0 GPA seeking a software development internship with [company name]. Winner of the [name of scholarship] scholarship, the [name of award] award, and class valedictorian for 2021 with strong technical skills and passion for the role. Experience in social media management and web design thanks to volunteer work with a local veterans charity. Ideally, seeking relevant industry experience with a prestigious company.
Though hiring managers will not expect you to have a lot of professional experience, they will be looking to see what kind of academic achievements and relevant training you have. Include relevant coursework, your final degree classification or current GPA if it is 3.0 or higher, and any relevant certifications that you have.
Finally, remember to make use of online resources. Consider internship resume samples for inspiration and make use of internship resume templates via free resume builder tools such as the one offered by ResumeNerd.
Entry-level internship positions are competitive, especially in media and technology. The right intern resume can seriously increase your chances of success, especially if you include a matching cover letter.
No. Even if you are applying for a creative internship position, you should maintain a clear, easy-to-scan resume appearance. If you want to showcase your creative skills, you can use color theory and subtle design elements – or just use one of our professionally-designed creative templates – but ensure that they do not make your resume hard for an ATS to scan. Consider our internship resume examples for inspiration.
You should prepare for an internship interview in much the same way as you would prepare for a job interview. Re-read the job description, wear an appropriate outfit, and prepare for commonly asked questions, like “Why do you want to work for [company name]?”. Consider these interview tips to help you prepare yourself.