Crafting CVs for Internships: Our Essential Guide

How do you write a CV for an internship position when you lack work experience? Here are some tips to help you make a strong application.
Jevitha Muthusamy
Editorial Writer

If you’re a university student applying for your first formal internship, then writing your CV may seem like a challenging task. However, there’s no need to panic – employers who offer internships are generally accepting of candidates who possess no prior work experience. After all, everyone needs to start somewhere.

Still, this doesn’t mean you can slack when It comes to writing CVs for internships! Here is our sample CV template for internship and work placement applications. Read on for our guide on how this template works, and what you can apply to your own CV. 

Click here to view our full recommended internship CV template!

What should I put in my CV?

A CV for an internship or work experience application should include the following:

  • Your contact details
  • Your education history
  • Any past work experience or part-time jobs
  • Any active involvement in extracurricular activities (e.g. university societies, volunteer work, external clubs, etc.)

You can include details of your referees if you like (most students will usually list an academic lecturer/professor or former part-time employers). However, you can also just write “references available on request” if you need to save space.

You don’t need to include a photograph, your date of birth, gender, marital status, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.

By the time you’re in university, employers probably won’t be interested in your experiences before SPM/STPM/O-Levels. So leave those out unless you have done something particularly unusual or noteworthy.

What if I have no work experience to put in my CV?

Your CV should showcase evidence of your skills and abilities no matter where you gained them. You can emphasise your involvement in clubs and extracurricular activities. Highlight the times you have taken responsibility for something, such as being an exco member in your club, or helping to organise a fundraising event. 

You can also write about any relevant project work you’ve completed as part of your degree, pre-university, or foundation programme, pointing out the skills you’ve gained in the process.

What format should I use for my CV?

It’s best to use a reverse chronological format – that is, list details about education, work experience and extracurricular activities starting from the most recent first, and then working your way down to older items. 

A CV that is neat and easy to read will be more appealing to employers. Use bullet points to describe your accomplishments and responsibilities instead of long sentences or paragraphs. Be sure to use headings and subheadings to organise your content as well.

Your goal is to strike a balance between depth of information and a concise format. For example, if a part-time job or extracurricular activity is particularly relevant to the employer or the internship role, give it more space in your CV and elaborate more on it than other facts.

How long should my CV be?

Aim for a length of one to two full pages. Remember to focus only on showcasing the most relevant and impressive information to the employer instead of listing everything you’ve done or achieved. Space is a premium here!

List down your professional contact details


Make sure you list contact details that you use or access regularly. Recruiters will likely email or call you to invite you to an interview. However, make sure that your email address looks professional or formal – you want to give the right impression.

f you have a LinkedIn profile and want to list it under your contact details, make sure that the content of your profile matches what you have put in your CV.

Presenting your education history


Start with your most recent degree or program of study. Include the name of the institution, degree earned, and any relevant coursework or projects.

In most cases, you don’t need to outline all of your degree modules and their grades. It is usually sufficient to pick out any that are particularly relevant to the opportunity and to provide brief details of any course projects. 

Showcase your work experience and extracurricular activities


When listing your past experiences, you need to showcase not just what you’ve done, but the skills you developed and what you have achieved. 

Highlight your personal contributions to whatever it is you’re writing about. Focus on your achievements, results, and outcomes, using numbers or measurable data to quantify them wherever possible. This provides hard evidence of the impact you have made.

For best results, you should customise your CV for each individual internship role that you apply for. A helpful tip is to read the job description carefully and mimic the employer's language when describing your achievements. 

For example, if the employer is looking for “client service skills”, make sure you use words like “serviced” and “customers” in your CV. If they used the term “planning and time management skills”, explain how you organised or prioritised tasks and planned out your time. Small touches like these will show the employer that you are a good fit for the opportunity.

Mention any relevant skills or certifications that you have


These could include IT skills, language proficiency, or any other relevant training or certifications. While it's important to be honest in your CV, that doesn’t mean you have to be humble! Consider including any awards or recognitions you have received, or any relevant online courses you’ve taken.

Consider including a cover letter

If you are applying via email or speculatively reaching out to an employer, a cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself and explain why you are the best fit for the internship. This gives you more space to introduce who you are, why you are searching for an internship, and what your key strengths may be. 

You can write your cover letter as your opening email to an employer, or attach it as a separate page along with your CV. However, if you are filling in an online application form or applying via a job portal, there may already be space to include a cover statement, so use that instead.

Just like with your CV, it's a good idea to tailor your cover letter to the specific internship you are applying for, and to highlight any relevant skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate.