Internship season is finally here and in the scramble for making sure you meet your college requirements and get some “real world” experience to put on your Internship resume, one of the biggest tasks looming ahead is actually sitting down and creating the resume that will land you the interview.
But the question is, if you’ve never really written a resume, how do you get started and where do you begin first?
Great question. And we’ll begin the answer with the basics.
Your Email Address: First things first, if you don’t have an email address that follows the <first name.last email@example.com> format, go ahead and create one. You’ll be using this email address on all your internship and job applications.
A neat and clean email ID is the first signal of professionalism and being taken seriously.
The Formatting: Think of your resume as your 30-second elevator speech, only shorter. If you had ten seconds to get someone’s attention, how would use that time? Would you distract them with bells, whistles and fireworks or would you get straight to the point?
When you’re writing your resume, it’s important to present your best side with the least distractions possible. Skip the fancy font, the unnecessary quotation marks and the large text. The best fonts for a resume are Arial, Tahoma, Verdana or Calibri in a 10 or 11 point font size with bold formatting for highlight key areas such as your experience and your education.
Now, there are plenty of people who get quite creative with video resumes or other forms of artistic expression to make their personalities stand out. If you’re confident you can do the alternative route well, go for it!
However, when in doubt, stick to the classic style.
The Foundation Work
Research the Organisation You’re Applying to – Does this sound too obvious to be true? It’s not. The numbers for the amount of students who apply to positions without understanding how that position or the organisation fits into their plans are staggering.
Before you apply for an internship, take the time to:
Understand what the organisation does,
How you think you could contribute,
What you think you could learn from working there, and
How you could use that experience to further your own growth.
Your internship is the founding stone for your career, which may or may not change as you progress through your life. However, any time you spend thinking about the questions and the process above will prove to be extremely valuable when you apply for a job after you’ve graduated, or as you plan other career goals.
2. Who’s the Contact Person?
Do you know the name of the person who’s responsible for the open position? Have you figured out who’s going to be reading your resume and cover letter? The last thing you want to do is send a cover letter addressed to “Dear Sir/Ma’am” or “To Whom it May Concern”.
If you think this is a great internship that you’d be perfect for, then pick up the phone, call the organisation, ask who you need to send your resume to and make sure you address the person directly in your cover letter.
Every extra bit of effort goes a long way in ensuring your resume makes it to the top of the review pile.
3. Study the Internship Description
Read the internship description once. Read it twice. Or thrice if necessary. Once you’ve done that, start highlighting the key verbs (action words) that stand out. Now, go over all the experience you’ve listed and use the keywords you’ve highlighted to guide how you tailor your resume for this particular internship.
What you’re aiming for is to come across as the best candidate on paper so you can get an interview. Talk to us if you need any help with preparing for an interview as well.
This is the trickiest bit. What do you put on a resume if you don’t have any experience to begin with.
If you’re struggling here, it’s time for a little deep-digging and soul-searching.
Here’s a checklist of options to consider:
Leadership Skills: Have you participated in any club activities? Sports? Led any debate teams? Been a part of one? Were you responsible for establishing any new clubs or festivals at school? All of that experience indicates leadership capabilities and can go on your resume.
Communication Skills: Are you a social-media maven with a large following? Do you like tinkering with multimedia projects? Do you love writing blog posts or writing in general? If you do, it’s quite likely you’ve got a body of work you can showcase in a portfolio, making it your most effective tool for displaying your communication skills.
Accomplishments: Have a great GPA you can highlight? Perhaps you’ve picked up a few certificates or awards recently? Or you’ve completed a specialised training? All of that goes on your resume.
What you have to remember is that your resume is your best representation of yourself on paper and its purpose is to get your foot in the door for an interview. If you make an effort to get noticed as a strong candidate on paper, then you’ve already won half the battle!
Check out some of the resume samples here, here and here. If you need any assistance, you could get in touch with University Connection counselors.
Good luck with your search!
If you have any specific questions about what should go in your internship application or if you’d like to share your own experience, we would love to hear from you.