It’s normal for job seekers to feel stumped when they have to write an internship resume. What can you say if you have little work experience to speak of? But don’t worry, once you know what to do, you’ll be eighty percent of the way to the internship of your dreams.
Here’s how to format and write an internship resume that will get you through any company’s doors. We will lead you through what to include where, how to format your resume, and how to word your content. We also provide an example of an internship resume.
Remember, it’s all about curating a document that speaks to the employer and shows why you are the best intern for the job.
Before you start your resume, take a few minutes to brainstorm what you should include in your resume. Look at the job description to understand what the company is looking for in an intern and try to align your achievements with the skills in the job description.
You should also include impressive achievements that make you unique, even if they are not on the job description. Most likely, while they may not be technically on point, they will show soft skills. For example, a hobby like mountain climbing shows independence, strength, and commitment. Here are some things to consider including in your resume:
Competitions you might have entered and won, such as writing or coding competitions.
Research work or a role as an assistant to a professor.
Extra classes that have you taken.
Involvement in student organizations, clubs, or sports.
Group projects that show your collaborative skills.
An internship resume is similar to a standard professional resume when it comes to structure, but the focus is a little different. Early in your career, you will not have much full-time work experience, so an internship resume tends to put your education information ahead of your work experience.
Your internship resume should be one page in length. At the top will be your name and contact information. Next should come a summary section, an education section, an experience work section showcasing your work ethic, a skills section, and any volunteer activities, awards, or special items.
In terms of formatting, any one of these resume templates would work well. Use a font size between 10 and 12, and margins should be at least 0.5 inches on all sides.
As you might expect, you’ll want to start your resume with contact information. Include your name, phone number, email address, personal website, and any “professional” social media handles.
LinkedIn is an important one, so make sure that your LinkedIn page matches the information on your resume. Don’t include Facebook or any other personal platforms. In fact, clean them up so that an inquisitive employer does not see something they shouldn’t.
Your resume objective is an objective statement that highlights the type of role you’re looking for. It’s best to direct it to the company you are applying for by mentioning them in the statement. Thus, you should customize your resume for every internship that you apply to. More on that in a bit.
Here are two examples of great resume summaries or objective statements.
Detail-oriented English Major seeking to leverage excellent discovery, written, and verbal communication skills to succeed as an Intern at David and Sons Legal. Proven team-leading capabilities with 3+ years of experience as captain of the debate team at St Paul’s University.
Energetic and passionate student working towards a BS in Marketing at the University of St Paul’s. Keen to apply proven advertising, PR, product development, and consumer research strategies as a marketing intern at Velocity Marketing.
The body of your resume should lead with your education rather than your relevant experience. After all, most of the relevant skills you have come from your education at this point.
Include your high school if you are a student, college student, recent graduate with no work experience, or if high school is your highest education. Here’s an example of how to present your education on a college student internship resume:
BA in Psychology, University of Dayton (2014 - present)
Expected to graduate in 2021. Current GPA - 4.0.
Adding a description of relevant coursework that is directly related to the internship you are applying to this section. This is another area of the resume that you should tailor to the job description. For example, if the potential employer asks for “knowledge of computer systems,” add your systems architecture course to this section.
Tip: Only include your GPA if it is 3.6 or above. Also, note awards or recognitions directly related to school, such as if you make it on the Dean’s list, being part of the National Honor Society, or if you have held a position like president of your school debate society. These can also go in a separate section called “Awards” or “Honors” if you prefer.
As you complete internships, you’ll add your professional experience under this header. This is also the place where you can add any summer internships, part-time work, or volunteer work. There some guidelines to follow here that will help you to make the most of your hard work and accomplishments.
First, use bullet points. Bullet points are easier for recruiters to read than paragraphs and pack more of a punch. Each point should be two or three sentences long.
Next, use action verbs rather than the passive tense, and include a metric as evidence of your accomplishments. For example, “managed social media postings and increased site visits by 30%” is much more impressive than “managed social media to increase sales.”
Examples of action words to use are “Facilitated,” “Led,” “Operated,” “Analyzed,” “Instituted,” “Initiated;” you get the idea.
Here are some examples of bullet points. Each uses a metric and an action verb.
Facilitated and streamlined accounting practices by redesigning spreadsheets resulting in 30% faster processing times.
Managed customer accounts totaling $70,000 with 100% customer satisfaction.
Led a team of five students to win third prize in Google Innovation Competition.
Led a team of three college students and won the top prize at the ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest
Managed inventory for ten distribution centers and placed orders based on real-time problem-solving.
Developed website and increased sales by 40% within six months of product launch.
Also, add any other skills, including soft skills, that are relevant to the internship. These can include mentoring, leadership, public speaking, client relationships, and time management.
Consider also adding a section for extracurricular activities, hobbies, and interests. Although they may not be directly related to the internship, they will show your uniqueness and may result in the hiring manager remembering and shortlisting you. Perhaps the company has a particular work culture that your hobbies naturally reflect? An artist, for example, might fit well into a creative marketing team.
This is arguably the most important step. No matter how good a fit you are for the internship, present a resume with errors and your value goes out the window. It’s easy to make one mistake on your resume, which could mean you are not considered for the job.
Ask a friend to proofread your work with a fresh set of eyes. Reading your resume aloud is also a good way to catch any errors.
Finally, check the instructions on how to submit your perfect resume for an internship position. Part of what will make you the perfect intern is the ability to follow instructions down to the T. In that vein, here’s a summary of the steps to follow.
Brainstorm your unique skills and experience.
Tailor your resume to echo the job description.
Place your education at the top of your resume followed by your work.
Use active words and metrics in your bullet points and summary.
Proofread your resume.
Follow the submission instructions to a tee.
Here's what a great internship resume looks like (and you can download this template here):