HOW TO WRITE AN INTERNSHIP RESUME:
writing guide, objectives, tips, samples, templates
Imagine standing in line with hundreds of other people all vying for the same internship. And, when it’s finally your turn to sell yourself, the first thing the job recruiter says to you is, “You have six seconds.”
That may sound crazy but an eye-tracking resume study done by TheLadders found that’s how long a potential employer looks at each resume.
You have to make an impression and make it quickly.
Something has to make your resume stand out. We’re here to help.
We created 15 professional templates for you to download. We found samples of real-life resumes that landed internships. And, we put together a resource toolkit with almost 1,000 sample resumes, tips and ideas created by the best universities.
Here are the key aspects of your internship resume that we’ll guide you on:
- How to Write an Internship Resume: the basics
- How to Write an Objective (and whether you need one!)
- Internship Resume Format
- How to use Free Internship Resume Templates and Samples
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Write an Internship Resume: the basics
- 2 How to write an objective
- 3 Internship resume format
- 4 Free Internship Resume Templates and Samples
- 4.1 15 Blank Internship Resume Templates
- 4.1.1 Internship Resume Sample 1
- 4.1.2 Internship Resume Sample 2
- 4.1.3 Internship Resume Sample 3
- 4.1.4 Internship Resume Sample 4
- 4.1.5 Internship Resume Sample 5
- 4.1.6 Internship Resume Sample 6
- 4.1.7 Internship Resume Sample 7
- 4.1.8 Internship Resume Sample 8
- 4.1.9 Internship Resume Sample 9
- 4.1.10 Internship Resume Sample 10
- 4.1.11 Internship Resume Sample 11
- 4.1.12 Internship Resume Sample 12
- 4.1.13 Internship Resume Sample 13
- 4.1.14 Internship Resume Sample 14
- 4.1.15 Internship Resume Sample 15
- 4.2 6 Internship Resumes and a Cover Letter that Landed High-Profile Jobs
- 4.3 Over 1000 Resume samples and ideas
- 4.1 15 Blank Internship Resume Templates
- 5 One Size Doesn’t Fit All
- 6 Internship resume tips
How to Write an Internship Resume: the basics
It’s tough to grab an employer’s attention in a fraction of a minute, especially when you have little or no job experience. But, you do. You just have to be a little more creative in finding them.
Look at your past jobs and the duties you performed in a new light.
For example, if you are applying for a banking internship and never worked in a bank, think out of the box. Maybe you handled money at a concession stand. Or, maybe you had to balance a cash drawer in a job as a supermarket checker.
Remember, your immediate goal in landing an internship is to acquire skills that contribute to achieving your academic goals. The job and salary come later.
Intern recruiters know you don’t have professional level qualifications. They’re looking for someone who wants to learn and has transferable skills like:
- Ability to communicate
- Willingness to work hard
- Problem-solving ability
- Ability to multi-task
There are a few basics every internship resume should be:
- One page in length.
- Clean, error-free and easy to read.
- Structured and written to highlight your strengths.
- Able to make your name and the position you are seeking immediately clear.
First, build a complete professional profile. It should be a master list of every job, skill and academic achievement you have in your background. It’s a data dump of every responsibility you’ve ever had. Keep updating it. Keep it fresh and it will provide a valuable tool to help you customize each resume you send out.
Think of your resume as a mashup of what you have to offer and what a particular intern recruiter wants.
Pull from your professional profile and emphasize the skills you have that each employer wants.
Surprisingly (or maybe not), your GPA isn’t as important to intern recruiters as you might think. In 2013, internships.com surveyed 300 intern recruiters and found employers put more value on relevant work experience than academic performance.
How to write an objective
Objective statements can be as simple or descriptive as you want. Just remember, the objective statement must tell an employer what you have to offer in a split second. That means you have to write lean and mean. Tight and bright. Shoot for 10 words or less.
Here’s an example. You are a junior, journalism major/political science minor at State University looking for an internship. You have experience writing news and features for the college paper. You also created fliers for a local political candidate. Last summer, you were a part-time copy editor at a community weekly. You would someday like to be a press secretary. You are also a swimmer and have won state meets.
Here are the internships you might apply for and appropriate objective statements:
Newsroom sports intern:
- Journalism student will use sports background as Daily Planet reporter.
Public relations intern:
- Public relations position in which I can use my journalism training and my years in competitive sports to promote the New York Yankees.
- Journalism major wants to use political experience to help John Doe get elected.
College recruitment intern:
- Journalism student and championship swimmer seeks position as marketing assistant to use writing skills and competitive swimming experience to raise awareness of the importance of student-athletes at State University.
Make it concise and specific. Don’t be vague.
- Find the keywords in the job description and focus on those when describing your knowledge and abilities.
- Make your objective as unique to you as possible.
Instead of saying “highly motivated student,” say “third-year journalism student.”
Instead of saying “excellent communication skills” say “produced political fliers.”
Emphasize your benefit to employer.
- You want to tell the company what you can do for it, not what it can do for you.
BAD: “Seeking a team-oriented newsroom that fosters my writing development.”
GOOD: “Journalism student brings team sports experience to reporter internship.”
- Emphasize the job experience, character traits, personality and work ethic that make you valuable to the company.
Make it impersonal.
- Write it as a label description. Do not write in first person.
Instead of “I have experience writing code,” say “code-writing experience.” It’s almost always best to leave out adjectives and personal pronouns.
Try to make each word engaging. You want to pull the employer into your resume not put up roadblocks to keep him or her out.
An objective is merely a statement that tells how you can benefit the company.
Who wouldn’t want an employer to know that? What employer wouldn’t want to know that?
Yet, opinions are sharply divided on whether or not to include an objective on a resume.
Why is that?
Well, if you look closely at the arguments against it, you’ll see that it’s the word itself and not its function that turns people off.
Objective statements were too often long, vague, unfocused harangues that employers skipped over when looking at resumes.
An objective statement like “seeking a challenging and rewarding position in a dynamic organization for potential growth” is merely a lot of words that say nothing.
Applicants started leaving them off resumes, replacing them with categories of different names that serve the same purpose: Summary, Career Goal, Job Goal, Skill Set, Profile, Tagline or About Me.
Whatever you call the section of your resume that tells an employer how your particular skills and knowledge will help the company achieve its goals, it’s still an important part of your resume. It defines you. It’s especially important when applying for an internship because early in your career, your limited work history can’t define your career goals.
Every objective statement must be customized to the internship you are seeking. Don’t copy and paste the same objective into each resume you send out.
When an employer reads an objective statement tailored to the internship the company seeks, you will be seen as someone who knows and cares about that position in that company. It gives your resume credibility and signals to the employer that everything else in your resume is relevant to that internship.
Internship resume format
It’s time to compile your resume, the story of you.
These are the sections you should include on your internship resume:
- Relevant Coursework
- Relevant Experience
- Professional Experience
- Honors & Activities
You’ve done background on the company. You know what it’s all about. You know the firm’s mission statement.
You’ve identified the keywords that describe what the company wants. Marry those keywords to ones describing what you have to offer as often as you can.
Even if your actual skills or experience is lacking, you can organize your resume to work for you. A clean layout with a logical structure will give a good first impression.
- Display your name, your email address and phone number prominently. (By the way, make sure your voicemail greeting sounds professional.)
- If your mailing address (your location) bolsters your resume in any way, put that there, too.
- If you have a strong LinkedIn profile, include the URL to your page.
- Don’t use a silly email address. One that includes your name is the best.
- Make it clear you are seeking a specific position.
- Include other words you think are important. For example, “Competitive swimmer seeks administrative assistant job at XYZ Sports Company.”
- Start with the degree you are currently working toward. Note the date you expect to graduate. For example, “B.A. expected in June 2017.’
- List your previous degrees in reverse chronological order, including the name and location of each institution attended.
- Include majors, minors or areas of specialty for each degree.
- Include your high school only if you want to highlight its academic reputation or if its location is relevant to the internship.
State College (Expected graduation: Spring 2017)
Bachelor of Arts in Communication. English minor. Concentration on public relations.
- Use this to convince the employer that you have learned appropriate transferable skills even if you haven’t experienced them in the workplace.
- Describe what you have studied that demonstrates your proficiency in skills required for the internship.
- Include class projects that bolster your value to the employer.
- Sports writing
- Communicating Effectively: Increased traffic to college’s SportsTalk website through Search Engine Optimization
- Public Speaking
- Video for the Web: Filmed an athlete training for a triathlon
- Engage the employer early. Write a strong summary of your qualifications. Start sentences, whenever possible, with active verbs.
- Align what you have to offer with what employer wants.
- List the skills that are most important to the internship for which you are applying.
- Be creative. You’d be surprised how many life skills transfer to job skills.
- Include proficiencies as well as interpersonal skills.
- Proficient in Microsoft Word, Office, PowerPoint and Excel
- Online research: Project on number of pedestrians killed by drunk drivers posted to landing page of college website
- Bilingual: Fluent in English and Spanish
- Include interests that are relevant to the internship. If you are applying for a job in sports marketing, describe your summers working at the baseball stadium.
- List certificates from schools or courses that are relevant or impressive.
- Describe situations in which you were a leader or an innovator.
- Directed setup of political candidate’s County Fair booth
- Designed website for Junior Fair Queen candidate
- Competed Great Lakes Bike Tour
- Certified in Microsoft Office
- Minimize the fact you don’t have much relevant job experience by highlighting the transferrable skills you got in other jobs. For instance, working at a fast-food restaurant requires much more than bagging burgers. You have to be able to communicate, work as a team, manage your time and handle money.
- Show results of your work.
- Use active verbs whenever you can.
- Remember, past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior so you want to tout your accomplishments.
- Tie professional experience back to objective.
North Rec Swimming Pool, Amherst, Ohio (Summers of 2012, 2013, 2014)
- Drew up plans that led to expanding swimming lessons to infants
- Created Facebook page for pool
- Taught classes of up to 12 youngsters how to swim
- Used Microsoft Office to make posters for annual swim meet
Honors and Activities
- List the awards and academic honors you have received.
- Highlight specific courses, club affiliations and volunteer work relevant to the internship you are seeking.
- Dean’s list, State University (Fall 2013, Spring 2014)
- National Merit Semi-Finalist
- Junior Rotary Club member (2012 to present)
- Nursing home volunteer: Distributed lunches, assisted with daily bingo games (2010)
That should help you write a winning resume.
But remember, a resume should always be a work in progress.
In addition to tweaking and tailoring for each particular job, continually update your professional profile with new skills and experiences.
Be confident and aggressive.
Free Internship Resume Templates and Samples
Now that you know how to write a resume that stands out from the crowd and lands you a dream internship, we’re going to show you some free templates, samples, and resources.
15 Blank Internship Resume Templates
We took 15 fantastic resume samples in PDF (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Connecticut, Northwestern University, California Polytechnic State University, The University of Oklahoma, Syracuse University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Connecticut Storrs – see template descriptions for details), and created 15 professional internship templates in MS Word that you can customize and use.
These templates are designed to showcase the skills and abilities of students who don’t have an extensive work history but still have a lot to offer. They all work. Just pick the one you like, download it and customize it.
6 Internship Resumes and a Cover Letter that Landed High-Profile Jobs
Not sure what to say or how to say it? Well, we convinced six people who landed great internships to allow us to post their resumes here for you. Don’t be scared off because they have more impressive credentials than you do. Keep getting those internships and someday your resume will look like theirs do.
Over 1000 Resume samples and ideas
In this section you will find more than 50 university resources that contain almost 1,000 samples, ideas, and tips for you to use.
University of California, Davis – PDF with 9 resume samples – a simple resume, a chronological format for an internship position, a laboratory research assistant resume, a chronological format for a career position, a functional format for a career position, a chronological format for an entry-level career position, a combination of chronological and functional format for a research position, a resume with international experience, and a technical resume used for applying for positions in information technology, engineering or consulting.
Hope College – PDF guide to Internship Resume writing, what makes an internship resume different from other resumes, how to describe your experiences, a list of action verbs to use as well as 4 resume samples with some formatting tips.
University of Minnesota – 32 real student resume samples for different majors from Continuing Education Majors, Design Majors, Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Science Majors as well as Masters and PhD resume samples.
University of California – Irvine – 7 resume samples including one internship resume as well as two cover letter examples.
Harvard – an online resume workshop explaining how to write resumes, a PDF guide with resume tips, a list of action verbs, how to write an effective cover letter as well as a resume sample and two resume templates and a cover letter sample. They also provide two Word resume samples and two PDF resume samples.
University of Illinois Chicago – Help on creating a resume and writing a cover letter, video that explains the basics of writing resumes 4 freshman resume samples as well as 4 engineering resumes with internship/research experience, along with 6 sample resumes for different majors.
University of California, San Francisco – Video tutorials on how to write a successful internship resume, an action verb list, including 5 sample internship resume and one before and after example.
Purdue University – Resume writing guide including brainstorming techniques, resume formatting tips, which transferable skills employers are looking for, as well as which sections to include in your resumes.
Rose Hulman Institute of Technology – 5 Sample resumes by class year, and 20 sample resumes by major.
University of Oklahoma – 76 Sample resumes by major for full time jobs and internships. 8 are internship resume samples along with a sample freshman resume and cover letter for an internship in advertising.
San Jose State University – 75 pre-career and career resume samples by major in applied sciences and arts, business, education, engineering, humanities, science and social science.
The Evergreen State College – 2 sample internship resumes.
Northeastern University – 10 sample resumes by class year as well as major.
Princeton University – 4 sample resumes by class year.
University of Texas, Dallas – 4 sample internship resumes in PDF format.
St. Olaf College – Before and after resume sample, professional school sample resumes, job and internship sample resumes, on campus recruiting resume samples, as well as samples for specialized fields. 28 samples available in total.
University of Berkeley – 56 page job and internship guide which includes a resume and letter writing guide that included resume dos and don’ts along with 9 sample resumes and cover letters.
Pepperdine University – 6 PDF sample resumes for MFT and psychology in both functional and chronological formats.
Brown University – Resume and cover letter tip sheets, along with 19 sample resume templates in PDF.
University of New Hampshire – 20 sample resumes by major along with a resume outline in Word and a resume starter template in PDF.
Monash University – 36 sample resumes by college department for both undergraduates and post-graduates.
University of North Florida – 4 Sample PDF resumes for internships, 6 sample resumes for entry-level jobs, and 5 sample resumes for experienced alumni.
Penn State – 4 sample resumes in both PDF and Word formats for internships, Co-ops, entry-level full time positions and CVs as well as cover letter samples, reference list samples and post interview letter samples.
Rutgers University – Career and internship planning guide in PDF format which includes sections on preparing for internships, finding an internship, making an impact at your internship along with resume writing tips that include anatomy of a resume, tips to strengthen your resume, how to write accomplishment statements, using a problem, action, result approach and some power verbs to include in your resume. The guide also contains 8 sample internship resume templates and 2 CV templates.
Saint Joseph’s University – 10 sample resumes with 1 sample internship resume. They also have resume examples by major and a “Resumes for International Students” webinar.
Rollins College – Resume guide on how to write a resume, resume format and style as well as samples of different types of resumes, such as targeted, integrated, CVs, and federal resumes.
Marquette University – PDF guide to Resume and Cover Letter Writing for Internships along with a sample cover letter and 2 sample resumes.
Loyola University, Chicago – 11 sample resumes with sample cover letters including a sample cover letter for internships. They also have various resume and job search guides.
University of Tennessee – 15 sample resumes by major as well as various sample cover letters.
Wake Forest University – Resume writing guide with 10 samples based on different experiences one may have as well as 5 resume samples for different majors.
Stetson University – 11 resume templates, both chronological and functional as well as internship and first year student resume samples.
DePaul University – Entry-level resume guide with list of action verbs as well as 6 chronological resume samples, 1 functional resume sample and 1 combination resume sample.
East Carolina University – 39 sample resumes by major.
Johnson & Wales University – 6 international student resume and CV examples.
Northwestern University – 16 resume samples by major including 2 for internships for students with less experience as well as more experience.
Rowan University – Resume writing tips, action worlds, interviewing tips and 8 resume samples by major.
Muhlenberg College – 18 resume samples by job function and class-year.
University of Richmond – Guides on resume formatting tips, writing a resume, action verbs and 15 resume samples in PDF.
Carnegie Mellon University – 4 sample mechanical engineering resumes.
Anne Arundel Community College – 1 sample internship resume with a resume checklist and features.
University of North Carolina, Charlotte – Online presentation on “Resumes That Get you the Interview”, resume writing guide and 1 sample resume.
College of Charleston – Resume writing guide, resume do’s and don’ts, action verbs, with 6 sample resumes in chronological, functional and combination forms.
San Francisco State University – Video on internship, sample goal and objectives and 3 samples for scanning, position-based and skill-based resumes, as well as a resume checklist.
Boston University – 4 sample resume templates.
University of South Carolina – 1 sample resume template for public history students.
The City University of New York – 11 resume guides for different majors.
James Madison University – A resume writing guide focussing on objective, education, coursework, projects and skills, experience and activities, format, appearance, and references.
Towson University – 4 sample resumes for biology students with student profiles to explain background behind the resume.
George Washington University – Optimal resume online service to create your resume as a guide on types of resumes, action verbs, sections to include in your resume and 347 samples for different resumes by major.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
It’s the final step: customization. You chose a template you like. You got to see what resumes of successful intern candidates look like. It’s time to paint the picture of you. Your resume should be as unique as you are. And the good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do it.
Internship resume tips
- Make sure you know rules and the basics that apply to all resumes.
- List the experiences relevant to the internship near the top of your resume.
- Internships are offered year-round, not just in the summer.
- Got your eye on interning for a specific company? Check out their intern opportunities online and research what those companies look for in employees.
- Seeking a particular job title for your internship? Differing titles can make you miss some opportunities. For instance, administrative assistant jobs can also be listed as admin assistant, admin asst, admin assist.
- The more internships you can squeeze into your college years, the more you will learn and the better job candidate you will make.