Getting an internship can be a beneficial first step into the career you want. Showing an employer that you have the potential to succeed, even when you have limited to no experience, begins with an impactful internship resume. In this article, we’ll go over some of the key features of a great internship resume, the steps you can take to write yours and an internship resume template you can use to get started.
What is an internship resume?
An internship resume is one that focuses primarily on your skills, education, and other strengths since you may not have extensive work experience to show yet. It can be challenging to create one as you might feel like you don’t have enough to include in a resume. However, writing your internship resume is an opportunity to reflect on your strengths and what makes you unique.
Even if you don’t have the work experience, you likely have other unique experiences that have helped you develop important skills that would make you a great addition to a company’s team. Use this opportunity to think about your achievements so far, including your education, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities or any area of your life where you might have shown exceptional skill, achievement or creative thinking. How to write an internship resume
These six steps will help you write an impressive resume that showcases the unique skills you would bring to an internship:
- Consult your network.
- Write a strong objective statement.
- Lead with your strongest asset.
- Include any work experience you have.
- Include an achievements section.
- Keep it simple.
1. Consult your network
Before you begin looking for an internship, talk to your professors, advisors, friends, family or anyone you know who can help you build a plan. Ask them for their advice and, if they have strong connections to the industry you want to work in, whether you can use them as a reference.
You can also use your network to help you think about what your internship resume should include. They will likely have a good idea of what your greatest strengths and skills are as well as how best to frame your unique qualifications and career goals.
2. Write a strong objective statement
An impressive objective statement takes the needs of the employer into account. Read through a few internship descriptions from different companies that you would work for and take note of the common denominators. These are the skills they tend to ask for and the key terms and phrases they use to describe the role.
As you write your objective statement, make sure it touches on those same key phrases and skills. Ultimately, you want to write one to three sentences that describe who you are in terms of what main strengths you have to offer and what your career goals are.
The goal of your objective statement is to summarize your value in clear, memorable terms so that employers can easily get a sense of what you have to offer. For added impact, consider adapting your objective statement for each application you send. This kind of customization and attention to detail is especially beneficial for applications where you don’t have the opportunity to send a cover letter.
3. Lead with your strongest asset
In terms of structuring the resume, you’ll want to put your best qualifications first. For students and recent graduates, your educational background is likely going to be what sets you apart. For career changers, the transferable skills from your work experience will be your greatest asset. For those without an education or work background, you might have volunteer experience or other unique achievements that make you stand out. Whatever it is that makes your application most unique should be featured at the top of your resume just under your objective statement.
4. Include any work experience you have
When applying for internships, it is less important that your previous work experience is directly related to the field you are applying for and more important that you have work experience to show. Even a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant is useful for demonstrating that you do have a strong work ethic and the ability to work as part of a team.
Odd jobs can also be included as long as you did them consistently. For example, babysitting, lawn-mowing, house cleaning and other jobs you might have done for family friends and neighbors to earn extra money are all helpful in showing that you are a dependable and motivated worker.
5. Include an achievements section
If you can’t include a work experience section, consider including a detailed achievements section. This is where you can talk about any awards you may have gotten or any projects you’ve done that you’re proud of that demonstrate important skills that an employer wants to see.
You can also include your extracurricular activities and clubs here but be sure to frame them in terms of achievements. For example, if you write for the school newspaper, try to give a rough estimate of how many articles you have written and mention a specific article where you felt like you overcame unique challenges or used creative problem-solving in order to get the story.
6. Keep it simple
Employers offering internships expect to see candidates without a lot of experience, so you don’t need to pad your resume to make it look fuller than it is. Keep your resume to one page, and only include extracurricular activities or achievements if you can clearly identify how they relate to the internship you are applying for.
The resume format should also be clean and simple, especially if you are submitting it through an online system. Many online systems will run your resume through an ATS (applicant tracking system) which automatically screens out resumes that don’t meet certain minimum criteria. Complicated formatting can be confusing for this system, potentially causing your resume to be screened out even though you did meet the criteria.
4 tips to make your internship resume stand out
In addition to following the steps above, there are some extra things you can do to help your resume stand out from the rest and improve your chances of getting an interview:
Avoid filler words
Some candidates are tempted to use more detail or more complicated sentences than they need to get the point across. This can make the resume feel cluttered and overwritten. Instead, use active language and high impact words to make your qualifications sound clear and memorable.
Mention odd jobs and volunteer work
If you were a babysitter for a neighbor or mowed lawns in the neighborhood, include this. You don’t need to provide long descriptions of the work you did, but listing any kind of work you might have done helps demonstrate your work ethic and portrays you as dependable and driven.
Include a hobbies and interests section
If you have any that have helped you develop certain skills, include a hobbies and interests section at the end of the resume that mentions these. For example, playing soccer requires teamwork and coordination. Sailing requires detail-oriented and strategic thinking.
Use concrete data and examples
Employers are more likely to remember a tangible accomplishment more than a vague description of your abilities. Whenever possible, include any certificates or awards you won and any measurable successes. For example, if you were on the student newspaper, mention how many articles you wrote or a specific story that required exceptional research and reporting.
Internship resume template
The template below can be used to help you structure your own resume. The order of the sections is flexible. You should lead with whichever section is your most impressive one.
[First and last name]
- [One to three sentences describing your background, your most unique strengths and what your career goals are.]
- [Four to eight of your most relevant skills, in a bullet-point list.]
- [List of your educational background, starting with your most recent institution first.]
- [You may include a bullet point list of relevant coursework, achievements or extracurriculars including your GPA and any sports or clubs you participated in.]
- [If you have had any job, even if it isn’t directly related to the internship, include it here, beginning with the most recent.]
- [Volunteer experience and informal jobs such as babysitting can also be listed here.]
Extra Qualifications or Details
- [Additional sections you might consider including are an awards section, a languages section, a hobbies or interests section or a certifications section.]
- [Only include extra sections if they showcase skills or qualifications that are relevant to the internship. Do not include them just to pad your resume.]
Internship resume example
The sample below will help you get an idea of what your internship resume might look like. You can use it as a template to build your own or just a source of inspiration:
653 Peach Street
Westchester, NY 10501
Motivated finance major with a passion for data analytics and investment portfolio management is seeking an internship or entry-level role where I can apply my strong analytical thinking and decision-making skills to meet client needs. I would also like to build on my experience with monitoring and evaluating portfolios in a challenging and goal-oriented work environment.
- Familiar with predictive analytics tools, SAP accounting software, and Oracle
- Great analytical skills
- Excellent decision-making skills
- Strong communication and presentation skills
- Creative problem-solving skills
Burlington University — Bachelor of Science in Engineering
September 2016 to present
- Expected graduation date: June 2020
- Member of the honors society
- Assistant editor of Burlington student newspaper from September 2018 to present
- English — Primary Language
- Spanish — Fluent
- Mandarin — Conversational
In the template above, you can see how the candidate carefully crafted their objective statement to be clear, high impact, and memorable. An employer reading this will be able to easily identify the unique value the candidate is offering as well as their expectations for the position.
The skills section then serves to reinforce the objective statement by highlighting relevant skills that would be useful in a finance role. They also take the opportunity to highlight some of their achievements and examples of their strong work ethic under the education section. Finally, the candidate makes sure to include a language section since their multilingual skills are a unique strength that will help their resume stand out.
This article was written by the Indeed Editorial Team and can be found here.