In this guide you’re going to get the best tips for seriously impressing employers and earning your dream internship.
Just skills and experience aren’t enough to stand out from a huge pile of CVs, you need much more than that.
That’s why I’m giving you the essentials to internship CV writing and all the tips you need to know before applying for a job. This guide includes…
- How to prepare your CV & what information you should include.
- Writing tips for creating an impressive CV.
- What to write when you have no work experience.
- An internship CV example to inspire your writing.
First, here’s what you need to prepare for your internship CV…
1. How to prepare your cv for an internship – what information you should include
The preparation of your CV is just as important as the creation of it. There is a lot of information to collect and of course, it all needs to be completely accurate.
There is often a short wave of panic when writing a CV… ‘Have I remembered everything? What have I left out?’
Fear not, applying for internships is stressful enough, so rely on our handy checklist. Here’s the information you need to collect before writing your CV:
This is pretty vital, please don’t forget to include your contact details (you’d be surprised at how many people do!) By contact details, we are referring to:
• Your full name – no nicknames or abbreviations.
• Phone number – a mobile number will do just fine.
• Email address – avoid CrazyCatLady6789@gmail.com or any other inappropriate variant of this that will make you look unprofessional. Try just to stick to your name, such as JohnSmith1@gmail.com.
• Social media – only include this where it’s appropriate and relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a creative or social media job and you have a professional profile, it’s a good idea to include this.
• Website – if you have one, great! Make sure to include the URL if it’s relevant to the job.
Who are you? A daunting question… we know.
But, in the first short paragraph try sum yourself up in a few short, punchy sentences.
Include your most favourable characteristics, any relevant hobbies, what you’re passionate about and your future goals (hopefully working in the sector that you’re applying for).
This can be one of the lengthiest tasks when collecting information for your CV.
Reflect back on your full history of work experience and make note of dates (months and years – you don’t have to be too specific) and the role you had at each particular job.
Make a summarised timeline of your employment history that is in easy to digest bullet points or short paragraphs.
As an intern…
You may not have years of experience, but really try to make the best of what you do have. It doesn’t matter where you’ve worked, chances are, you will have improved your communication, team working and customer service skills.
Ah, the star of the show. Your impressive set of remarkable skills. This is your time to shine and really sell yourself to potential employers.
Use your work experience, education and hobbies to create a list of the admirable skills you have acquired. Once you have brief points of the skills you want to mention, you can go into detail when actually writing your CV.
As an intern…
You’re bound to have picked up more skills in University and even college. So, think really hard about what your best skills are. Click here to view some examples in our CV template
Education & Qualifications
Where did you go to school? What qualifications did you gain? What additional education or training have you acquired?
These are the questions you need to find answers to when preparing to write a CV.
As an Intern…
Remember that this section doesn’t just refer to school or university. If you have additional training that could make you stand out from other candidates, make sure to include it. Some examples could be:
• First aid training certificate
• Any training programs you completed in previous employment
• Courses you have taken that are relevant to the job
• Apprenticeships or internships you may have completed
Most employers don’t expect a full reference on your CV as they will usually request one when needed.
However, it is important to include some details about a reference, so employers know that they can have access to one.
At the end of your CV, simply include the name, number, email address and their relationship to you (e.g previous manager, school teacher, trainer etc). Just make sure you have the persons permission first.
Or, write a short explanation stating that a reference is available upon request.
As an intern…
This is a great way to show what you can do even if you don’t have years of experience. A reference gives an insight into how you are as an employee, so find someone you’ve had a professional relationship with that can illustrate just how brilliant you are.
You’ve collected all the information, hurrah! You’re halfway there, now find our top tips for creating an impressive CV…
2. Writing tips for creating an impressive CV
You know what to include, you’ve rounded up the relevant information, I think you’re ready.
Ready to create the best CV to ever exist.
A slight exaggeration? Maybe. But after these 9 tips your CV will be a shining beacon of hope in the thick pile of documents on your potential employers’ desk…
Did you have a dog walking job for a year in 2015? Great, it probably taught you responsibility, patience and organisation.
For your CV, that’s all it needs to be.
Being relevant doesn’t mean you can’t mention slightly irrelevant work experience, but it shouldn’t take up more than a line or two.
Focus on what is relevant to the job and make this the star of your CV.
As an intern…
Think back to all the jobs you’ve ever had, even if it was only for a short period of time. This could be babysitting, working in a family shop or volunteering. Summarise the unique skills you learnt from each experience and you’re well on your way to an impressive CV.
‘Working as a waiter was beneficial for my career and personal development’ isn’t going to cut it.
Why? Why was your work experience beneficial? What did it teach you? How can it be applied to the job you are applying for?
Include all those juicy details that your potential employer is looking for.
And don’t forget to explain how you would apply it to the job, as that’s what this whole CV malarkey is all about.
But, this doesn’t mean you should write 3 paragraphs about how waitressing taught you excellent time management. Be concise and straight to the point when you are talking about the skills you have gained.
As in intern…
Use your summarisation and writing skills to impress your potential employer. They may have never thought themselves that work experience in a clothes shop gave you a creative eye, which could be applied to the graphic design internship you’re applying for… so point it out to them!
Keep the layout simple
Less is more, as the late great Robert Browning wrote in his poetry. It’s a concept you should really adapt to when creating your CV.
Ditch the unnecessary calligraphy fonts – this is a job for good old Arial or Calibri.
Stick to clean, professional fonts allows the reader to focus on what you’re saying, rather than the distracting font.
It also allows the reader to take you seriously, as a silly font may translate that you’re not taking the job seriously or that you’re inexperienced in the professional world.
As an intern…
It’s all about showing how you can be totally professional. You’re eager for more experience and want to show that you’re serious about joining the world of work. If you’re unsure about trying a fancy font or quirky layout, err on the side of caution and play it safe.
Use a template
Cheating? We don’t think so!
Not only does a template save you a serious amount of time, but it is a sure way to make sure your layout is clean, simple and on point.
After all, it should be your brilliant writing and stellar skills that are stealing the show, not a fancy layout.
A lot of good inspiration can be found on Pinterest.
Get someone else to check it
You’ve checked it a million times, but that just might be the problem.
When you’ve been working on a single document for so long, it is easy to overlook the most common or frustrating errors.
Don’t leave it to chance. Our recommendation? Ask a dear friend to proof read it for you. Preferably someone who is pretty clued up with spelling and grammar.
They may point out something you never thought of or have a spectacular suggestion that boosts your CV to wordsmithery success.
Always keep it up to date
Handing in an out of date CV is a major offence that is highly punishable by… not getting the job.
But seriously, an out of date CV can make you look lazy, disorganised, uninterested and unprofessional. Not exactly the kind of first impression you are looking to make.
Always make sure your CV is up to date and regularly amend it with any new skills, qualifications, experience or training you receive. This means it is ready to go when you are!
As an intern…
Do you find it difficult to remember all your work experience, including small weekend jobs or the occasional babysitting? Make your life easier by updating your CV as you go and adding in experience as you complete it.
Use positive language with a professional and friendly tone
Who would you hire from these 2 examples?
‘Working in a charity shop gave me lots of skills like customer service and communication.’
‘I gained my fantastic communication abilities and finely tuned customer service skills from my enriching work experience in a charity shop’.
Getting the experience is the first step, but how you express it in your CV also holds a lot of weight in how it is received by a potential employer.
Using positive language to show enthusiasm is a simple way to engage any reader. Also make sure to keep a friendly tone and stick to professional writing. By this I mean avoid slang or any inappropriate language.
As an intern…
What you write on the page isn’t the only way to impress a potential employer. Use your CV to show off your incredible writing skills and take some extra time to carefully select your language. This is especially useful if you don’t necessarily have qualifications in writing, but you know it’s a great skill that you possess.
Keep it to a maximum of 2 pages
If it’s any longer than this, I can almost guarantee that most employers would skip it all together.
Have you ever been faced with copious amounts of text and thought ‘I’d rather not bother’? Well, employers are human too and pages and pages of text is overwhelming!
You want to make it easy for them to digest the information and be able to quickly see the key points. Keep text short and concise and always try to edit unnecessary sections out.
As an intern…
Pages of unedited (slightly waffle-y) writing can be the first sign of inexperience. Even if you don’t have lots of professional experience, show that you are ready for an internship with your ability to summarise and condense key information.
3. What to write on your Internship CV when you have no experience
CVs are designed to sell your best qualities, they aren’t all about work experience. You have plenty of desirable characteristics that make you highly sort after in the professional world, I believe in you.
If you’re writing a CV with no work experience, all you need is a little guidance and support. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Did you have any responsibilities at school?
Netball captain? The book club organiser? Great, sounds like you have strong leadership skills and impressive organisation abilities!
- Do you have a driver’s license?
If you do, make sure to include this. It shows independence, good focus and initiative.
- What are your best characteristics?
If you’ve always been a hard worker or have strong creative writing skills, then sell these desirable qualities. They didn’t come from work experience, you’re just naturally gifted.
- Have you travelled?
Talk about how this taught you cultural awareness and strengthen your communication skills when in a foreign country.
- What is your proudest achievement?
Perhaps it was that English essay you received an A* star on, or maybe the charity event you organised. Whatever it is, talk about why your skills made it a success and how they could be applied to the job.
- Are you open to learning?
Of course you are! You’re an eager, ambitious candidate that is ready to throw themselves into a new role. You may not have a long history of employment, but show your thirst for learning and how you’re ready to gain knowledge and experience.
4. Example of a good CV for an internship
Need a little more inspiration to get your creative juices flowing?
Click here or the button above to view our CV internship template and see all of our tips in practice. Download the template and share with friends to get your CV writing in full flow!