Strong internship CV examples & writing tips

Highlight skills, extracurriculars and accomplishments over limited work experience. Here's how to put together a well-crafted internship CV that shows hiring managers you have the right professional capabilities.

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Table of Contents

  1. Internship CV example
  2. What is an internship CV?
  3. What do employers look for in an internship CV?
  4. Choosing the right format for your internship CV
  5. Considering changing or modifying your CV format?
  6. How to write an internship CV
  7. More internship CV tips and examples
  8. An internship cover letter: The best way to accompany your CV
  9. The big takeaways
  10. FAQ: Internship CV

Internship CV example

Internship Resume Example

What is an internship CV?

An internship CV differs from other CVs in several key ways. Rather than work experience, an intern CV highlights skills, school activities and accomplishments. By following these internship CV examples and tips, you can create a strong CV for an internship in no time.

This article will cover:

  • Skills to include on an internship CV
  • Internship CV examples and tips
  • The best CV formats to use for an internship CV
  • Frequently asked questions for internship CVs


What do employers look for in an internship CV?

An internship can help you make crucial connections at a company you want to work for. The purpose of this role is for interns to learn practical skills related to their career goals by assisting in various jobs at a company. You may choose to do a summer internship or a part-time internship during the school year depending on the company and whether the internship is for academic credits.

To land a great internship position, you need a strong CV. By including these key elements in your CV, you can place yourself ahead of the competition:

  • Your skills and aptitude for the specific programme
  • Relevant coursework
  • Soft skills or hard skills you’ve acquired at school
  • School activities
  • Relevant extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer work
  • Academic achievements


Choosing the right format for your internship CV

Figuring out how to layout your CV to showcase your best skills is an ongoing process as your career journey continues. You may even be working in a different industry years from now and need to change things around, so don’t be afraid to customise your document as needed. Generally, there are three main types of CV formats you can choose from: Chronological, Combination and Functional.

The best format for your CV depends on your skills and experience, with all three formats being suited to user preference. CVHelp’s CV Builder can help you format a professional CV in just minutes. There are three strategies when it comes to formatting:

  1. Reverse-chronological CV format: The most common format, it focuses on work history and is the one recruiters and hiring managers are most used to seeing.
  2. Functional CV format: Emphasises skills and training, and can be helpful when you don’t have a lot of work history, have been out of the workforce for a long period of time, or are mainly academically focused.
  3. Combination CV format: A good choice if you are applying to jobs in areas outside of your field of study or relevant experience, as it highlights both transferable skills and work experiences.

For an internship, you’ll likely use a functional format, but a combination format also works if you have some professional experience under your belt that showcases the skills and qualifications the internship needs.


Considering changing or modifying your CV format?

Keep these 3 factors in mind:

  1. 1. What’s your level of experience?

    Different CV formats can be used to highlight different aspects of your career background. If you want to demonstrate that you have a strong work history choose a chronological CV format.

    With some work experience and a strong set of industry-specific skills, a combination CV would be an excellent choice. If you are new to the workforce but want to emphasise the skills you’ve developed in school, like in our intern CV sample above, a functional CV format is the best fit.

  2. 2. Is your career progression the focus of your document?

    If you have gaps in your employment history, this should be a consideration for job seekers when choosing the best CV format. If you have been laid off, are light on work experiences, or have taken time off for personal reasons, a functional CV format would emphasise relevant skills over your work history.

    If you want to apply to jobs related to your previous field, but have different training then the best CV format for the job would be a combination CV so you can highlight your transferable skills. The chronological CV format is a solid choice for a professional with a long work history and an impressive career trajectory.

  3. 3. Does it pass the ATS test?

    A well-organised CV is critical to getting past an applicant tracking system (ATS). ATS software is used by the majority of companies in the U.S. and is designed to scan your CV for a specific set of keywords to weed out unqualified candidates. Crafting a well-structured CV starts with a format that is easy to scan and puts your most impressive achievements front and centre.


How to write an internship CV

Header and contact information

Your CV header should contain crucial information such as your full name, your phone number, LinkedIn, and additional contact information like portfolio links. Make sure to select a header that is easy to read and isn’t too boxy or distracting.

Professional summary or career objective

Your professional summary or career objective statement may only be a few sentences long, but it’s key to grabbing employers’ attention. A summary (which is preferred by most job seekers with experience) is an overview of your best skills, work achievements and qualifications that is specifically tailored to the company.

While an objective is used to tell a recruiter what your career goals are and your reasoning for applying to the role, its focus is on your career path.

An example of an objective statement for a college student is:

Student at XYZ University with experience managing marketing for social media accounts seeking an internship in social media marketing with XYZ Company. PRSSA scholarship award winner with strong technical skills and work ethic.

A summary statement would look like:

Highly motivated accounting intern offering working knowledge of accounts receivable, accounts payable and financial reporting. Self-starter, with adaptability to a fast-paced environment with extremely aggressive deadlines.

Showcase key skills from the job posting

A great CV will be tailored to each internship with keywords from the job description. You can pick out relevant skills, tasks and responsibilities to match up with your own experiences and then make sure to place these crucial skills in your bulleted skills list, summary, and a separate skills section if desired.

The skills section of your CV is a great place to show recruiters that even though you may be a student or recent graduate, you have what it takes to make it. This is your opportunity to show competencies in both soft and hard skills like this:

Highlight interpersonal skills such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork/collaboration
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability

And technical skills such as:

  • Research
  • Analytical skills
  • Microsoft Office programmes (e.g., Excel)
  • Industry-specific programmes acquired at school

Work experience section

This may not be the key section for your internship CV, but you can still give examples with quantifying achievements, or highlighting relevant accomplishments and specific responsibilities that match what the new job wants. Here’s what that could look like: Conducted market research and analysed marketing surveys to help management figure out how to improve sales by 15% by the end of the second quarter.

Education

Because you are still in school or university when applying for an internship, your CV education section will look different than someone with years of experience. In your education section list your top academic achievements, your grades if applicable or required, and your college diploma if relevant.

Additional sections

In addition to the basic CV sections above it is important for an internship to be as specific as possible. So if it is relevant to the specific application, you may want to include:

  • Relevant coursework
  • Degree or field of study, e.g., Computer Science
  • Languages
  • Certifications
  • Awards
  • Volunteer activities


More internship CV tips and examples

If you want to make the best impression with your internship CV you need to be able to adapt to changes quickly and have a set of versatile templates that can help your documents be professional and readable. CVHelp has many resources which could help you to create the perfect CV for your next internship opportunity.

Check out these resources if you are looking for just the right way to present your CV:

  • How to feature internships in your CV
  • More CV examples for hundreds of jobs
  • CV templates you can use
  • CV format guide
  • Best fonts for a CV
  • How to write a CV


An internship cover letter: The best way to accompany your CV

A great cover letter is the most effective way to mention your interest in the company and how you believe you’d be the perfect fit for the team by being able to expand on the details of your CV and provide useful background information.

If you need help crafting your cover letter CVHelp has plenty of cover letter writing tips and cover letter examples you can use to write the perfect accompaniment to your internship CV.


The big takeaways

  1. Do your research about the company:
    Make sure you’re adequately prepared by researching things like the company’s mission statement, history, culture, and the skills they value.
  2. Know what your skills are and how your boss can use them:
    Do some self analysis and group your best skills together to find the industry that’s right for you, CVHelp has a great selection of industry CV examples to help you get started.
  3. Make your current experiences work for you:
    Even if you’ve never had a traditional job you can draw from the experiences you have volunteering, academically or through temporary work like babysitting, camp counselling, or seasonal positions.
  4. Be ready to ask important questions:
    It’s important to show that you’re committed to the role by enquiring about training or progression opportunities within the company and showing you’re prepared for the day-to-day responsibilities of the role.
  5. Show off your strong interpersonal skills:
    Be enthusiastic and engaged when interacting with the recruiter or hiring manager and use a skills based approach to your CV so you can showcase the different kinds of soft skills you possess in a Professional Skills or Summary of Qualifications section.
  6. Use your ability to multitask:
    One of the best things you can show in your CV is your ability to switch back and forth between tasks based on their importance and urgency, say by balancing school work with after school activities.
  7. Show you can take constructive criticism well:
    Even if you don’t get this particular internship this can still be a great networking opportunity for you, so focus on the benefits of getting feedback and try to either apply again at a later time or look for opportunities in a similar field.
  8. Practise effective communication:
    Remember to thank the recruiter or hiring manager for their time and consideration and use this CV and cover letter opportunity as a way to get to know your industry and your audience so you can get comfortable with the terms and setting.


FAQ: Internship CV

Q: What is the best format for an internship CV?

The best format for an internship CV depends on how much experience you have. The Reverse-chronological CV format is the most popular format because hiring managers are accustomed to reading it, and it also features your work experience. But, if you don’t have a lot of relevant experience, a functional CV format can place the focus on your skills.

Q: Why is an internship CV important?

An internship CV allows the candidate to make a strong first impression. A professional-looking internship CV shows hiring managers that the candidate has the capabilities to excel in the internship. A great CV can even display your ability to take on a further role in the company.

Hiring managers will often keep the CVs of interns when looking to fill entry-level positions. Your CV can help the hiring manager recall all the hard work you put in during your internship experience.

Q: What is an internship CV?

An internship CV is a document that focuses on education and skills and is highly customised for an internship context. It is used mainly for students and recent graduates to present their background, skills and accomplishments in a way that is easy for recruiters and hiring managers to understand as an internship CV follows the same traditional structure as most CV formats.

Q: How do you write a CV for an internship?

Writing a CV for an internship, especially without direct work accomplishments, means you need to prove your skills another way. The effective combination of a skills-based CV in the functional format and an accompanying cover letter can be an extremely effective way to show that you have the skills required. It can show that you can effectively meet with and work alongside the right people to help you overcome your lack of experience.

Remember to use your skill section (and your cover letter) to show that you’ve researched the company and have curated the right academic or personal experiences for which they are looking.

Q: How do you write an internship CV with no experience?

With no direct work experience it may seem challenging to craft a CV. Instead, you can use research assistance, projects, previous school work, and relevant volunteering experiences as the base of your CV. You can also share your accomplishments, achievements, awards or other relevant accolades.

For your summary section, since you don’t have a directed job title, you can create an introduction to yourself and what you can bring to the company. Create some simple but effective points about your personality and how they would enrich the job you would be doing. List soft skills such as hardworking, trainability and communication skills so you can increase your appeal to hiring managers.

Q: What is the difference between a resume and a CV?

A resume is a one-page document that is mainly focused on relevant work experiences and training that pertain to one particular field. How thorough job seekers need to be with the information put on the page is the central difference between a CV and a resume, your document should include every element of your work and academic history and other relevant background information.

Additionally, for some countries and specified industries, it may be appropriate (or required) to include your picture, hobbies, interests and various background details.

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