How to write an internship CV that stands out to employers
Every year, thousands of students try to get their foot on the formidable career ladder by taking internships. But the rate of internship participation is rising amongst graduates, trebling from 0.5% to 1.5% between 2007 and 2011.
As a result, your CV needs to be on point to land a place on the scheme you want.
To help you out, here’s how to write an internship CV that stands out to employers.
Make your name and contact details obvious
The first section of your CV should contain your name and contact details – not the phrase “curriculum vitae”. Think of your name as the title of the document. Therefore, it should be big and bold.
Just underneath, you must list your phone number and email address at the very least – and make sure they’re correct! A home address isn’t necessary, but you can put your town and county if you wish.
Tailor your personal profile
Following your personal information is your profile. This section is only a few lines long and acts as a short introduction to your CV. It should detail who you are, why you’re suitable for the internship and your career goals.
Remember to tailor your profile to the internship you’re applying to, its sector or even the company that organised the scheme to make yourself stand out. By showcasing your relevance to the industry or programme, you prove that you’re a great match.
Showcase your qualifications
Since you’re applying for an internship, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much work experience under your belt. Therefore, your education and qualifications section comes next.
Start with your most recent qualification as this is more relevant to your prospective employer. For example, start with your degree, then list your A levels and then your GCSEs.
Underneath your most recent qualification, detail some of the key modules, specialisms, projects and papers that showcase your suitability for the scheme.
If you’re running out of room, you can summarise your A levels and GCSEs (or UK equivalents) into one line. For example: 10 GCSE grades A-C, including A in Maths and B in English.
We have included Maths and English grades because they are often a requirement for internships. Therefore, be sure to pay particular attention to the essential requirements in the job description or you might have removed something relevant on your CV by mistake.
Rework your employment history section
An employment history section, listing your positions in reverse chronological order, is an essential CV component. If you haven’t had a great deal of work experience, you can rename this section “Placements and projects” or “Employment, placements and projects”.
To compensate for your lack of experience, fill this section with examples of skills and projects that can be applied to the workplace or the internship scheme. These projects could be from in or outside of your education, including additional internships or volunteering placements you’ve taken.
When laying this out on your CV, detail the dates and the title of the project or placement on one line. Then just below, a sentence outlining what the project or placement involved. Follow this up with some bullet points detailing your key responsibilities and achievements.
As ever, keep your experience tailored to the requirements listed in job description to highlight your relevance and interest.
Remember, if your employment history is more impressive or relevant than your education, you should list this ahead of your qualifications.
Zoom in on your interests
While a hobbies and interests section isn’t essential, it can help make your CV stand out if you’re just starting your career.
Firstly, employers aren’t looking for automated, robotic interns. They’re seeking those who have a personality and can bring something valuable to the company. Therefore, include hobbies that reflect this.
Do you play for a sports team or are a member of a society? Or, perhaps you have a blog or engage in industry conversations on Twitter?
They key is to mention hobbies and interests that not only make you unique and interesting, but also those that relate to the internship. And if you don’t have any hobbies that relate to the field, try and find some. This will help your CV capture the attention of your prospective employer.
Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.