Internship CV: Your Guide & Template
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How to write an internship CV
Writing a CV for an internship application? Struggling? Well, you’re not the first. Writing an internship CV is like eating a corn-on-the-cob... tough but rewarding.
Get it right, and recruiters will fight their way through a pack of hungry polar bears to get to you. Get it wrong, and you’ll be lucky if they send you an email.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to writing a CV for an internship.
But before we begin…
Internship CV: QUICK TIPS!
- DON'T go over two A4 pages
- DON'T use colloquial language (slang)
- BE HONEST! Recruiters can smell fibs
- DON'T include a photo, unless they ask you to do so
- ALWAYS check spelling and grammar
CV for internships
Step 1: Personal Details
Start with your name. Obviously you wouldn’t start with somebody else’s name. Unless your name is Hortensia, in which case you should make up a new name.
Start with your name, and leave your contact details below. Your email address and phone number should suffice. You want the recruiter to be able to contact you, so that they can invite you in for an interview, or to say ‘you’re hired!’
Do not write Curriculum Vitae as the title of your CV. Just don’t. Please don’t. Your name should be the title, with contacts details beneath, and your home address.
It’s a good idea to include your address, so that the recruiter knows how far away you are from their offices. Some ‘CV advice’ website even tell you to give coordinates. Again, don’t do it. This isn’t Pirates of the Caribbean.
That’s the easy bit over. If you’re struggling to keep up already, good luck with all of your future adventures.
Step 2: Your Profile
Your profile should be a short paragraph, (no longer than five sentences). It should introduce who you are, explain why you are interested in this internship, and your career aspirations.
Keep it brief, and focused towards the type of internship you are applying for.
If you were, for example, applying for an internship with an accounting firm, it would be a terrible idea to ramble about your cat, your love of the clarinet and weakness for hummus.
The recruiter would read that profile and think, ‘Crumbs, this person has no interest in accounting, or aspirations to do this as a career’. They are not going to recruit you after that, no matter how impressive your qualifications are.
In your profile, you should describe yourself as an analytical and methodical student. Emphasise your keen interest in accounting practices, and seeing how an accountancy firm functions in the professional environment. This way, the recruiter will think, ‘Aces! This candidate is perfect!’
Step 3: Key Skills
Some folks try to shovel their key skills and talents into the profile section. There is a better way of doing it. Put together a list of bullet points, highlighting your strengths and personal skills.
It is not uncommon for there to be between 50-100 applicants for a single role. That means, employers have to sift through an unnatural amount of CV’s and cover letters during recruitment.
Even the most enthusiastic recruiters are unlikely to read that many CV’s from beginning to end. They might just glance at the top half of your CV, and scan through your qualifications. A successful CV needs to grab their attention quickly.
It has striking similarities with speed-dating… you need to impress your peer in thirty seconds
You should focus on the skills that all employers are looking for:
- Able to plan and organise
- Great communication skills
- Problem solving
- . . .
- . . .
- (put some of your own skills in too)
Step 4: Education
The first thing to remember when putting together the education section of your CV, is to put your most recent qualifications first.
If you have just finished you’re A-levels, put those grades first, and your GCSE’s after. You also don’t have to mention what grades you achieved for every subject. If you do this…
Physical Education – A
History – B
French – C
Chemistry – A
… you are wasting lots of space on your CV. (Remember, your CV should not exceed two pages!) Instead of this, write something along the lines of…
A-levels: History – A, English Literature – A, Product Design – B
GCSEs: 4 A’s, 5 B’s, 2 C’s (English – A, Mathematics – B)
While it is essential to save space on your CV, it is a good idea to mention your grades in the core subjects. Most job vacancies specify ‘grade B or higher in English and Maths’. So let the recruiter know that you smashed your English and Maths exams at GCSE.
If you are currently studying at university, it is acceptable to provide a predicted grade. Write – ‘currently working towards a Ba (Hons) English (2:1)’
Any modules, assignments or projects that you have completed that are relevant to the role are also worth a mention. It is a sneaky way of tailoring your CV to the internship, and separating yourself from your enemies, or rival candidates.
Step 5: Previous Employment/Work Experience
When describing any previous employment or work experience, you need to list your key responsibilities.
It is a simple method of highlighting to recruiters what you can bring to a role. A list of key skills is there to whet the appetite, but it is in this section that you give evidence of those skills.
You should also ensure that you give start and end dates for each job. Just so that the recruiter knows you don’t have three jobs on the go. If you were working at Ikea, The Rose and Crown and the Pukka Pie factory at the same time, you would hardly have the time to do an internship.
If you have never had any paid employment, list any short work experience placements or volunteering that you have completed.
It would be splendid if you have any work experience in an industry that is similar to the internship. Employers lose their minds when they see examples of volunteering that is relevant to the role they are recruiting for. They go absolutely bananas.
It shows a keen interest in the internship you are applying for. A recruiter would rather employ an intern that has a passion for the industry, over a candidate that has better qualifications, but is indifferent to the role.
If you’re considering applying for an internship, but you’re unsure whether or not a course is right for you, check out our reviews. RateMyPlacement has almost 25,000 reviews of internships with some of the UK’s biggest companies, all categorised by industry. Read internship reviews here.
Step 6: Interests
In this section of your CV, you outline what you get up to when you’re not at work, school or university. Again, try and link your interests and extra-curricular activities to the internship you are applying for.
If you’re applying for an internship that has its roots in engineering, discuss your joy for taking apart, and then putting back together car engines. Of course, only include activities that you actually do. Recruiters are like anteaters when it comes to sniffing out the truth.
Also try and feed in your key skills to the extra-curricular activities you mention. If you play in a sports team, relate it to your collaboration or leadership skills.
Craft your interests and extra-curricular activities to portray yourself as the ideal candidate for that specific internship.
Step 7: References
Chooses referees that know you. It would be nightmare if an employer contacted your referees and they had never heard of you.
Employers typically ask for you to provide two references. It’s a good idea to choose somebody you know academically, a teacher perhaps, and somebody that you have worked with, a manager or superior colleague. Your mother will not suffice, no matter how charming a reference she would provide.
You do not have to provide the details of your referees when you forward your CV. Write-
REFERENCES ARE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
The recruiter will contact you if they are impressed by your CV, and wish to speak to your referees.
And that’s it! Review your work for spelling and grammar errors. Grab yourself a packet of Frazzles, and wait for the internship offers to start pouring in.
Written by Conor
Conor has been writing for RateMyPlacement since July 2016. He joined the company straight out of university, after his dreams of joining the Fire Brigade were dashed due to his pyrophobia. When Conor isn’t putting words together, you’ll find him watching David Attenborough, thinking about sandwiches or talking to his cat.