Being an intern is the best first step you can take to enhance your career. It’s a great way to learn more about a specific industry and to strengthen your soft and hard skills. But, to even apply for an internship, you will need an internship resume first.
A show-stopping internship resume shows recruiters that you are ready to learn and are passionate about setting foot in the working environment, even if you don’t have a rich work history. To help you create one, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide just for you, so make sure to keep reading!
An internship is a short-term job experience that is given to students or people who want to expand their work experience list.
Companies and other establishments usually give out internships so that they can hire the interns from such positions for full-time positions later on.
The best format for an internship resume is the functional resume format. It’s a great option for highlighting your skills and achievements instead of giving attention to work experiences.
What is an Internship?
An internship is a type of work experience that is conducted over a short period of time. Many establishments use it to allow people with a less extensive work history) to get some basic-level work experience in a specific industry.
Interns can be anyone, from students whose studies are still ongoing to recent graduates or individuals who want to broaden their experience list. What interns essentially do is work on companies’ projects and gain some new, relevant skills that can help them grow within a specific field.
This way, they can also make connections in the industry and network with people in the same field.
How to Get an Internship?
Now that we’ve established what an internship is, let’s learn how you can get one.
Check your university’s campus resources. If you’re currently a student, your university is likely to offer some campus resources. These resources can help you figure out how to check for internship offers at various career fairs.
Do some research online. There are many internship resources available online, and you’re only a click away from finding them! Before heading to Google to research anything, think of an industry you would like to work in and search for internships related to it specifically.
Talk to your professors. Some of your professors may have some connections or get notified of internship opportunities regularly, so it’s always a good idea to ask them if they have any offers you can consider.
Reach out to your connections on LinkedIn. Most recruiters will have their email addresses listed on their LinkedIn profiles. Try to send them an email or a private message and ask them about any internship offers they may know about. Of course, you’ll need a decent internship resume you can send them, too.
Check your favorite organizations. Since you’ve probably already figured out a career that you would like to pursue, it’s always a good idea to make a list of some organizations related to the industry. They may be offering internships you might be interested in, so make sure you contact them and ask about it even if they don’t have active job ads on their websites.
The first step you should take to approach hiring managers is to send them an email with a great internship resume attached to it.
If you don’t have one and don’t know how to create it, don’t despair—we’ll explain how you can do it with minimal hassle in the upcoming sections.
What is the Right Format to Use for an Internship Resume?
When it comes to creating a good internship resume, choosing the right format is key. The most popular resume format amongst interns is the functional one.
The functional resume format is a great option for internship candidates because it:
Highlights skills and strengths rather than work experience
Allows recruiters to see what you can bring to the company even though you may not have an extensive work history
Is a good option for career switchers since their work history may not align with the specific job position they want to transition to.
Even though this format is the best, there are two more resume formats you can pick from:
Reverse-chronological resume format. This format lists your work experience starting from your most recent jobs to the earliest ones and is considered ATS-friendly. It’s also preferred by most recruiters, as it’s neat and easier to skim through.
Combination (or hybrid) resume format. This format is a perfect blend between the two above-mentioned formats. It highlights your skills and strengths while also showcasing past work experiences.
A proper resume layout lets you list your experiences and information about yourself in a clear and concise manner.
Your first step is to choose the right font. Fonts like Cambria, Tahoma, and Verdana are considered resume-friendly, as well as any regular, non-decorative ones. You should also pick the right font size for your resume—the recommended one for regular texts is around 10–12 pt and 14–16 pt for section headings.
Besides this, you should also:
Set the right margins (around 1 inch on each side).
Separate sections with some white space to increase neatness and readability.
Keep your resume one page long.
What Sections Should an Internship Resume Contain?
Some mandatory sections your internship resume should contain are:
Your contact information
Work experience (if you have any)
There are also some additional sections you can use to enhance your resume, and these include:
Certifications and publications
Hobbies and interests
Coming up with an internship resume on your own can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t created one before. So, if you need a time-saving option that will leave you with a high-quality document, you should take a look at our resume-building tool!
Once you click on the builder, you’ll be met with an internship resume template, which you can adjust however you’d like. Fill out the necessary information, and you’ll have a perfectly personalized document on your hands in no time!
Internship Resume Contact Information
The first section you want to add to your resume is personal information. It’s rather simple—all you have to do is provide your name, email address, and phone number.
However, avoid adding your detailed location in this section. Recruiters don’t expect you to add your full home address since it can create some privacy concerns. You are also supposed to avoid mentioning anything that has to do with your race, religion, etc. for the same reasons.
Let’s look at an example of a good internship resume contact information section:
Contact Information Example
+ 228 537 7164
Internship Resume Objective
A resume is only great if a recruiter is excited to look at it. That’s why it’s always important to start with an attention-grabbing opening section. This part represents an internship resume description and is also known as a resume objective.
A resume objective is a short paragraph consisting of 2–6 sentences that summarize your future career goals and show that you’re willing to work hard to gain new experiences if you don’t have a long list of work history to back you up.
Let’s have a look at an example of a resume objective we can find in an internship resume for freshers:
“A very motivated and passionate recent graduate that is looking to enhance my communication and decision-making skills. Finished my studies as a top alumni of the California Institute of Technology. Ready to take my digital software skills into the real world. Looking forward to advancing in my career plan through your guidance and showing my full potential by working as a consulting intern.”
Here’s a poorly written example for comparison:
“Recently graduated, so I want to start my career by working for your company as a sales representative.”
As an intern, it’s always best to show your eagerness to learn. However, recruiters also want to know what your career goals and future expectations are, as well as what skills you bring to the table.
Internship Resume Work Experience
The work experience section is usually the one hiring managers will pay the most attention to.
If this is the first time you’re applying for an internship and you have no prior experience, you might be worried about the length of your list. However, there are plenty of ways you can fill up this section nicely.
A great way to jazz up your work experience section is to list any volunteer work you’ve previously done. Here are the parts this section should include:
Name of the company
Main responsibilities and results achieved
A proper volunteer experience section will look similar to this:
Volunteer Experience Example
Animal Caretaker at North Central Animal Center, Pico V, CA
Helped with creating a comfortable and clean environment for every animal
Comforted animals that have undergone stressful and traumatizing situations.
Organized a fundraising fair that helped the organization raise around $5,000 for shelter supplies.
If you’ve worked as an intern beforehand, the work experience section is the best space to showcase that!
To list your previous internship experiences, mention the following for each:
The position you held
Company name and location
Start and end dates of the internship
Main tasks and achievements
Here’s what this section can look like:
Internship Experience Example
Graphic Design Intern
NYIAD, New York, NY
January 2021–May 2021
Assisted with the creation of visual graphics for NY Fashion Week
Created the LOGO for NYIAD’s website and products
Do you need some more advice on polishing your work experience section? Here are some general tips you can follow:
Always use action verbs. Action verbs represent more absorbing alternatives to overused words and expressions most candidates use in their resumes. By using them, you’ll give a fresh look to your job application and awaken hiring managers’ interest.
Focus on mentioning your achievements. If you’re a recent graduate and this is the first time you’re applying for an internship, you can make up for the lack of prior work experience by mentioning your educational achievements instead.
Don’t make this section too long. There’s no need for you to overcompensate. An internship is there to give you your first (or richer) working experience, and recruiters know that. Mentioning your skills and qualifications is the way to go, and a more extensive work history will follow.
Internship Resume Education Section
The education section of your resume is your moment to shine. This is where you can share the academic achievements you’re proud of, which can also show that you’re hard-working and eager to learn.
This section should include:
The degree title
The name and location of the school/university
The years attended
Besides that, you can mention your GPA and any courses that correlate to the job description.
Here’s what a good education section can look like on an internship resume for graduate students:
Education Section Example
Bachelor of English Language
Biola University, La Mirada, CA
Relevant coursework: Teaching Methods, Classroom Management
A general rule is to remove your high school diploma from your resume if you’re currently finishing your studies or are a recent graduate. This is because the recruiter will already know that you’ve finished high school once they see that you’ve mentioned your university degree, as the latter doesn’t go without the former.
However, if you’re currently a high school student or haven’t had a chance to attend a university yet, you can definitely add the high school education section to fill up your resume nicely.
Internship Resume Skills
The skills section on your resume is definitely more helpful than you think, as ATS typically uses your skills as keywords and checks whether they fit with the internship description.
If you haven't figured out what skills you should include in your internship resume, a good way to start is to do some research on the industry you want to work for. You want to mention both:
Hard skills, which are usually technical and job-related abilities, such as specific software knowledge
Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, which represent your ability to manage your responsibilities, cooperate with your teammates, etc. (e.g., problem-solving)
In other words, this section can include any skills you’ve acquired while conducting your studies or during previous volunteer or internship endeavors.
Internship Resume Optional Sections
Is there any room left on your resume after you’ve added the mandatory parts to it? If yes, you can use the optional internship resume sections to emphasize some abilities you didn’t have a chance to mention in other parts. The best way to do that is to tailor them to the specific internship requirements.
Certifications & Publications
As previously mentioned, certifications and publications are a great way to spruce up your resume and show your willingness to improve. So, in this section, you can include any courses you have attended to boost the effectiveness of your resume.
Having this in mind, make sure you mention the following information:
Name of the certification
Name of the provider
On the other hand, publications show your advanced skills and knowledge. Here you can mention the following:
If the company you’re applying to has international clients or employees, adding foreign language knowledge to your internship resume is definitely recommendable.
The process is quite simple—you should list all the languages you speak, starting with the one you’re most proficient in.
Hobbies & Interests
Your hobbies and interests are a great way to show more of your personality. Including them in your resume is a nice chance to stand out from the rest of the applicants and start some interesting discussions with recruiters once you reach the interview stage. These can help them get to know you better and get even more impressed with you!
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your Internship Resume?
You should always submit a cover letter with your internship resume, even if the recruiters haven’t mentioned it in the job listing. Here’s why:
You show the recruiters that you’re so interested in the opportunity that you’re ready to go the extra mile to showcase your abilities.
You get a chance to talk about your skills and achievements better in more detail.
You create a more personal connection with the recruiter.
To write a good cover letter, make sure to first research the company and what they’re looking for and tailor the letter based on the relevant keywords from the job description.
Expert Tips for Creating an Internship Resume
Finally, here are some general expert tips that will help you perfect your internship resume:
Double-check and proofread everything. This way you’ll avoid sending in a resume that contains grammatical mistakes or spelling errors, as they are likely to leave a bad impression on recruiters.
Keep a clear and concise structure. As previously mentioned, pick the right resume format and follow the guidelines for the resume-friendly layouts you can use.
Don’t list all the courses you’ve taken. Try to only mention the ones that are relevant to the internship description so that you don’t list any unnecessary information.
Keep your resume one page long. A one-page resume is more than enough to highlight your skills and achievements as someone who doesn’t have much experience.
And that’s a wrap!
Creating your first internship resume may not sound easy, but we hope that this guide has helped you get a better understanding of how to perfect it. All you have to do is keep your resume format and layout clean and concise, and you’ll surely have no trouble wooing recruiters and getting the position you’re hoping for!