Summer is approaching. If you are in college and want an internship soon, now is the best time to apply. Though the pay (usually) isn't great, there are countless benefits to being an intern. You probably already know this, so let's get to it.
So, you don't have much experience. How do you tackle your resume? Creating a strong internship resume that attracts attention is actually much easier than you think. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind.
Your resume will be divided into the following subheadings, respectively: an opening summary, education, relevant experience, and special skills. Make sure each one appears in the proper order.
Oooooh groundbreaking, you must be thinking (sarcastically, of course). Get this: A clean format is noticeable, and can give you an immediate advantage when your prospective employer sorts through a pile of resumes.
Focus on your summary
But of all of these, the summary outranks the other sections in importance. It will carry the most weight during a selection decision. Your summary provides employers with a first impression of you. It also helps you demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly and pursue your goals with confidence and determination. Make the most of this short paragraph. If that means spending more time on this than any other subheading, so be it. Don't make it too long, however.
Keep each section tight
Your summary — and every other section — should be clear, sharp, relevant, and short. Don't ramble or provide unnecessary information. (And this is why we kindly beg you, future intern, not to make your summary too long.)
Your readers will be skimming over your document looking for specific words and phrases; make sure they're in there. Find these words from the job description, and conduct some additional research on the industry if you're not sure.
Don't worry about your lack of experience
Psst: Your prospective employers are seeking an intern, not an executive. After your summary, you'll insert a straightforward heading for your education (list your school, course of study, GPA, and any special awards) then you'll face the next big challenge: the experience section. Years from now, you'll have more substance to include in this section. But for now, you're probably coming up short. That's okay. Since you don't have much professional experience, you'll describe your relevant experience in the classroom (labs and projects), and your part time jobs (server, lifeguard, etc). Draw clear parallels between these efforts and the kinds of skills that might benefit your target employer. Think about these before you write.
Leverage your skills
In your skills section, include every skill that makes you proud — don't worry if you aren't sure how your skill aligns with your target employer's needs. Again, this may matter later in your career, but right now it doesn't. Include everything, including coding, foreign languages, arts, sports, and any other special talent that helps you stand out. If you participated in any clubs or programs (such as Greek life, Amnesty International, and so forth), include them. You never know which HR employee identify with an organization, and give your resume a thoughtful look because of your association.
Keep your statements clear, and do whatever it takes to keep from confusing your reader. This may mean deleting a line you're struggling with and starting over from scratch.
Less is more
Keep your entire resume limited to a single page. At this stage, one page should be enough to tell your story.
Have a friend, mentor, or career counselor look over your resume before you send it. Their perspectives can help you notice problems you wouldn't see otherwise.
Review every single line and word to catch stray typos. Here's a tip: read backwards from the bottom of the page.
For more resume and job search tools, explore the resources at MyPerfectResume.