How to build an effective intern resume?

Applying to internships can be an exciting time for professional growth and gaining experience. However, to land the internship of your dreams, you will need a resume that encapsulates your talents and skills in a way that sets you apart from the competition. 

In this guide, we will teach you all about writing a resume as an intern. Keep reading to learn the answers to the following questions:

  • Which resume format is best for interns?
  • Why write a resume summary as an intern?
  • What skills should an intern include on a resume?
  • How do you describe work experience as an intern?
  • How can an intern accurately include education on a resume?

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1. What is the best format for your intern resume?

Whether you are currently working as an intern or are applying for an internship position, the first decision you must make for your resume is which format to use.

Internships are often seen as a transitional role to help you build professional experience either while you are still a student or after you have graduated. As such, employers may not be looking for a plethora of work experience, but rather educational credentials and academic skills that qualify you for the job.

Below is a breakdown of the 3 main types of resumes and when to use them:

  • Reverse-Chronological: The reverse-chronological resume focuses mainly on work experience, listing your most recent job first and working backward from there. This format is best for applicants who have relevant experience in the field of the internship they are applying for.
  • Functional: The functional resume removes the focus from work experience, placing it instead on education, skills, and unpaid experience. This format is often the best-suited for interns, as it provides the best opportunity to highlight academic experience and achievements.
  • Hybrid: The hybrid resume spreads the focus of the document out evenly between all sections. This makes this format a good option for interns who have a mix of both professional and academic experience.

2. How to write an appealing intern resume summary?

A resume summary is a short statement at the beginning of your resume that helps introduce an applicant to the employer reading the document.

As an intern, writing an effective resume summary is a great way to help your resume stand out from the competition. When written well, this summary can make your resume far more memorable and eye-catching, boosting your chances of landing the position.

To help illustrate how to write a good resume summary, here is a weak example followed by a correction and explanation:

Incorrect intern resume summary example

Recent College Graduate seeking an internship position within the FinTech space. Highly knowledgeable of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Skilled at working with large teams of developers and designers, helping to create a new smart product that won a major competition.

Why is this incorrect?

In this example, the applicant is too vague when discussing their experience and accomplishments. Rather than skirting around specific details, they should strive to include more exact information, such as what competition they won or specific examples that show they are knowledgeable in machine learning and AI.

Corrected intern resume summary

Recent Graduate with a B.S. in Information Systems and Computer Science. Passionate about artificial intelligence, with 3+ years of experience working in collaboration with other students on faculty-led technology projects. Served as a professor’s assistant in creating a new Smart Watch that won first place in the 2021 Innovation in STEM competition.

Why is this correct?

In this example, the applicant offers exact details about their academic credentials and experience working with AI. Additionally, they include key insights into their interpersonal abilities by describing their collaborations with students and professors. The summary wraps up with a bang by detailing the award-winning product they helped a professor create.

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3. What are the best skills to put on an intern resume?

No matter what internship position you are applying for, it is important to include both hard and soft skills on your resume.

Hard skills refer to your learned abilities, like software development or bookkeeping. These are the skills that should be as specific as possible for the internship you are applying for, as they will often be a qualifying factor in the eyes of employers.

Soft skills refer to your ability to understand the people and world around you. Without soft skills present on a resume, it can be difficult for employers to get a true sense of your personality and working style.

With this in mind, here are 10 examples of both hard and soft skills for Interns:

The best hard skills for your intern CV

  • Bookkeeping and accounting software
  • Computer skills (typing, presentations, etc.)
  • Office software (Microsoft Office 365, Google Suite, etc.)
  • Graphic design
  • Telecommunication
  • Data analytics
  • Foreign languages
  • Office management
  • Technology skills

Effective soft skills to put on your intern resume

  • Willingness to learn
  • Initiative
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-confidence
  • Collaboration
  • Organization
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Active listening

4. How to best describe your work experience?

Typically, an applicant who is applying for internship positions will lack an extensive work history – hence why they wish to work in the role of an intern.

However, even if you have work experience that is not directly related to the position you are applying for, you can still use this experience to showcase your transferrable skills and work ethic. Additionally, you can help yourself stand out more by including specific accomplishments from previous roles.

Here is an example of a work experience entry from an intern resume

Sears, Salt Lake City, UT
Customer Support Agent
August 2019 to June 2021

  • Provided accurate and in-depth information and assistance to customers calling about making returns and receiving refunds.
  • Improved overall customer satisfaction rating from 75% to 96% by helping to implement a new incoming call script and conflict management process.
  • Received the Employee of the Month award for 4 consecutive months, from March 2021 to June 2021.

5. How to accurately include education in your intern resume?

As an aspiring intern, you are likely looking for a position within your field of study. This makes it highly important to list your education correctly. In some cases, it may even be beneficial to include relevant coursework if it is relevant to the internship position.

If you are still in the process of completing your diploma or degree, then it is also essential to indicate within your education section when your expected date of graduation is.

Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on an intern resume

Boston University, Boston, MA
B.S. in Communications

  • Ongoing, Expected Graduation: May 2024
  • Relevant Coursework:
    • Introduction to Broadcast Journalism, Completed Spring 2021
    • Diversity in Communications, Completed Fall 2021
    • Advanced Topics in Human Virtual Representation, Currently Enrolled

 

Published on March 3, 2022

Martin is a resume expert and career advice writer at Kickresume. In his five years at Kickresume, he has written nearly 100 in-depth, painstakingly researched resume advice articles and, as chief editor, he has also edited and revised every single article on this website. Tens of thousands of job seekers read Martin’s resume advice every month. He holds a degree in English from the University of St Andrews and a degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Amsterdam.

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