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6-Step Guide to Writing the Best Internship Resume
Writing an internship resume can be tricky. First impressions matter and your resume is your introduction to the companies you’re looking to gain experience with.
Due to huge volumes of applications for each position, recruiters and hiring managers typically spend less than seven seconds on one resume. Therefore, as a candidate, it’s your responsibility to come up with ways to capture the attention of those reading your resume in those seven seconds.
Now you’re probably wondering, how can you do that? Let us answer that for you.
At Virtual Internships, we have worked with thousands of interns and host companies, and now we are sharing our six-step guide to writing the best internship resume. Plus, a shortcut to landing a remote internship that will set you apart.
First, let’s start with the basics.
What is an Internship Resume?
As the name suggests, an internship resume (or CV, if you’re reading this in the UK) is a document detailing your key skills and work experience to use when applying for an intern position.
Your internship resume has one goal: to land you an interview with the company or recruiter.
That’s why this is the perfect place to highlight how you can contribute to a company’s growth. Moreover, these resumes primarily focus on your skills, educational qualifications, and abilities.
6-Step Guide to Writing the Best Internship Resume
It’s common for students or recent graduates to have little experience to put on their resumes. However, when strategically planned, even a little of what you have can build a fantastic resume.
From coming up with sections to list on your resume to editing it in a way that will impress the hiring manager/recruiter, here’s how to create an eye-catching internship resume from scratch:
Step 1: Choose the Best Resume Structure
An internship resume does two things well: it includes all the necessary sections and has an organized structure.
We’ll get to the necessary sections next, but before filling out the bulk of your resume, it’s important to be set on your structure. An ideal internship resume can be organized in this order:
- Header with your contact information
- Resume objective that summarizes what you have to offer and what you’re looking for
- Education section that focuses on your academic performance
- Work experience section (paradoxical? Yes, but we’ll show you how to set this up for success)
- Skills section to list your more relevant abilities
- References (if applicable)
In addition to the above, your internship resume will undoubtedly be expanded by other details, including interests, certifications, hobbies, and more.
Step 2: Start with the Header
A header typically includes your contact information and your resume’s objective.
So, start by adding your personal details and contact information. At the top (and preferably in a bold font), list your name, contact number, email address, and links to your website or LinkedIn profile (if applicable).
Make sure your email address is professional. Just because you are applying for an internship, doesn’t mean that the hiring manager will give you a pass on using your high school email address.
Next, add a captivating resume opening statement/objective. This section is your chance to catch the reader’s attention and invite them to read more. Aim for 2-3 sentences and include your:
- Field of study
- Relevant skills and experiences
- Why are you applying for this specific internship (top tip: make sure to change this for each internship, so it is personalized to the experience you’re likely to gain)
Similar to contact information, your resume objectives don’t need to have a dedicated title. Simply, write it below or alongside your contact details (depending on the resume format).
Here’s an example of what a good resume objective looks like:
“A diligent, optimistic, and self-driven student seeking an internship at [company]. With a bachelor’s in computer science, I am now looking to further my technical skills and project management abilities within a tech start-up.“
Step 3: Highlight Your Education
You are most likely writing an internship resume as a high school or college student/graduate with little or no work experience. In this case, the education section will be the heart of your resume.
That’s why every student/graduate must include the following points in the education section of an internship resume:
- Name of school/college/university
- Information on your major
- Relevant coursework (remember only to include those that are relevant to the internship)
- Dean’s list awards (if any)
- Any study abroad programs or extracurricular activities you have participated in
- Honors like Summa Cum Laude
- Grades or your GPA (if they are impressive enough to put on your resume)
Here, it’s important that you don’t make the mistake of listing everything. Instead, only include projects and experiences that are relevant to the internship you are applying for.
Step 4: 3 Excellent Alternatives of Work Experience
You may feel like you don’t have any work experience to list, but there are plenty of alternative experiences you can highlight in their place to demonstrate your commitment to development. Highlighting these experiences in your resume may just be the difference between you and another shortlisted candidate.
Here are the top three options that can replace the work experience in your resume:
Extracurricular activities are a great way to demonstrate your array of job-ready and transferable skills that employers actively seek. Adding these in the work experience section can hand you a fighting chance against candidates with more experience!
Below are five extracurricular activities you might want to add to your resume:
- Foreign languages
- Clubs/societies that you are a member of
- Student Council or similar accolades
- Job-related activities
Under this section, you can include any unpaid work/volunteering you have done that is relevant to the internship position. Along with being a powerful tool to highlight your employability, volunteering sections in your resume also demonstrate that you are a purpose-driven individual.
Research has proven that adding relevant volunteering experience to your resume can open up new career paths.
As with skills and education, try to prioritize achievements above responsibilities when mentioning your volunteering experience.
An internship experience on your resume will help you stand out among candidates with no work experience. So, if you have interned for any company before, this is your chance to highlight it.
Here’s how to mention it:
Start by listing your internship experience right below the education section.
You can title this section as work experience or internship experience to be more specific (recommended). For example, if you have internship experience in the marketing industry, title this section “Marketing Intern” instead of “Internship.”
Second, list the company name, location, and period of internship – in this respective order.
Next, include a bulleted outline of your responsibilities as an intern. Even better, if you have any accomplishments, include those as well. Lastly, make sure to tailor your internship achievements and duties to the position you’re applying for.
Read more about highlighting your internship experience on your resume here.
Step 5: List Your Skills
Employers may look for different skills, so make sure these are tailored for each internship position.
The best way to do it is: to make a master list with examples. This list will include all the skills you possess. You can also make different sections of soft and hard skills.
Once done, this master list will be the baseline from which you can select the most crucial skills when altering your resume for different internship positions.
Moreover, make sure to sprinkle those you are most confident in throughout your resume. You can include some in your education, experience, and even resume objective sections.
Step 6: Miscellaneous: Extra Section for Maximum Impact
With little –or no– work experience, your internship resume can look a little sparse. If this is true for you, then you can consider adding these miscellaneous sections:
- Hobbies and interests
However, having a one-page, concise, simple resume is often appreciated. Don’t fall into the trap of filling your resume with fluff, and make sure only to add details that are specific, interesting, or that you are particularly dedicated to.
Top tip: assume that everyone likes socializing and walking. These are not hobbies worth adding.
Edit and Refine
You’ve just created a resume with all the critical information that showcases why you are the right fit for the internship. Before you submit it, here are three editing tips to make your resume extra sharp:
Keep it Concise
Unless you have years of experience under your belt, it’s wise to keep your resume short. A one-page resume is sufficient for freshers, so make sure you don’t overdo it.
Proofread and Look for Structural or Grammatical Errors
Whether you are using an online resume builder or a custom-made one, proofread it to spot and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. Make sure there are no typos or awkward-sounding sentences. Grammarly is a great free tool to help you here!
Keywords and ATS
With hundreds of resumes for each position, recruiters use computerized systems, also known as Application Tracking Systems (ATS), to narrow down the list of potential candidates.
That’s why you should always use keywords that you find in the internship position title/description in your resume. These keywords are mostly related to hard skills, for example, accounting, programming, copywriting, or any other skills associated with your industry.
The Smart Way To Find an Internship
By now, you should know everything on how to write an internship resume that makes an impactful first impression and lands you an interview.
But what if we were to tell you there’s a shortcut to landing an internship that’s completely customized to your career goals and interests without the hassle of searching, finding, and applying for hundreds of positions by yourself?
At Virtual Internships, we match students and graduates like you with innovative host companies in over 150 countries looking to work with ambitious, diverse talent. With thousands of pre-screened host companies, our remote internship programs have helped 6,000+ alumni gain an advantage over their competition and embark on their dream careers with confidence.
Are you ready to take your career to the next level?