Building Your Internship Résumé

No relevant work experience? Fret not! Here are some suggestions on how to beef up your résumé as an aspiring intern.
Jasmine Mun_Writer_gradmalaysia_round
Jasmine Mun
Writer, gradmalaysia
Building Your Internship Résumé_mainphoto

Crafting an internship résumé can be challenging, especially for first-time applicants who have no relevant experience under their belts to refer to.

If you are one such applicant, there’s no need to panic – employers who offer internships are generally accepting of candidates who possess no prior work experience. After all, you’re still a student and we all need to start somewhere!

However, this does not mean you can put in the minimal effort or just skip the résumé entirely! There are a couple of things you can include in your résumé other than relevant work experience to demonstrate your suitability for the internship you want.

Outline Your Career Objective

Start by introducing yourself and your professional goals. Briefly describe what you wish to achieve in your career and with the organisation you are applying for. Here’s an example of a brief and effective introduction:

“Self-motivated journalism student seeking internship opportunities in content writing. Interested in developing professional writing and critical thinking skills to contribute to an organisation’s business objectives while gaining valuable copywriting experience in the media industry.”

By highlighting your motivation, employers are able to see if the position or industry you applied for is the right fit for both of you. It’ll also demonstrate your self-awareness, in that you show what you’re looking for out of this internship in order to fuel your future career.

Include Relevant Skills

Use this opportunity to talk about the skills you gained through your years in university, whether it be from holding positions in clubs and societies or volunteering work.

Start by scanning the description of the internship posting you are applying for. Look for keywords that indicate the relevant skills needed for the task and utilize them when choosing which ones to focus on most.

State your skills most relevant to the role, and don’t forget to demonstrate how you gained these skills through real-life experiences. One way to do so is to make use of quantification (facts, figures, numbers, percentages, etc.) when drafting your skills section.

For example, if you write for the school newspaper, give a rough estimate of how many articles you have written over a period of time, or how many people read your published work.  You can also mention specific scenarios where you felt like you overcame unique challenges or used creative problem-solving in order to get the story.

List Extra-Curricular Activities and Achievements

These include academic awards, scholarships and other recognitions worth mentioning:

  • List in bullet points your active participation in club and society activities and school events
  • Highlight leadership roles that showcase skills that are highly sought-after by employers
  • Include brief descriptions of your contributions and quantify them to make them clearer and more persuasive.

It’s important not to exaggerate or fabricate details about your achievements. Recruiters are experienced in detecting falsehoods and are able to tell whether an applicant is truthful through interviews and assessment centres.

Highlight Related Projects

Think about the projects and assignments you have done and how they reflect your career interests – which should align with the internship you are applying for. This could be your final year project, a portfolio of your work, or even a blog you’ve started to write about issues that you’re passionate about.

List and describe any noteworthy projects and assignments in your résumé. This section will demonstrate to recruiters your dedication and interest, as well as knowledge of the industry in question.

Should you proceed to the interview round in the recruitment process, be prepared to answer questions regarding the projects you’ve described and link them back to how the experiences you gained there make you a suitable candidate for the internship.