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How To Make Your Internship Sound The Best On Your Resume

Your daily commutes, brown bag lunches and early mornings will soon be a thing of the past. Right after you send your supervisor a thank-you note and bid your internship ado, remember to add your experience to your resume. Since you just spent a whole summer working hard, you’ll want to make sure your internship stands out. Open up that Word document because Her Campus has the tips you’ll need for maximizing your internship experience on your resume, straight from the career counselors.
 
Make a list
Before you make any changes to your resume, type or jot down a list of everything you did while you were at your internship. Ideally you kept track during your internship, but if you didn’t, do it now while your experience is fresh in your mind. If you don’t get around to adding your internship until September, at least you won’t be racking your brain trying to think of everything you did.
 
Begin a new entry
Since your internship is likely the most recent position you’ve held, make sure it appears at the top of all your other experience. There are two parts to each entry: the job or internship information and a bulleted list of key accomplishments and duties. Your internship information should take up one line and your bulleted list can be anywhere from 1- 4 lines depending on how much room you need. Here’s an example of what your finished entry could look like:
 
Assistant City Editor, The Daily Tar Heel, Chapel Hill, N.C.(Jan. 2009 – May 2009)

  • Edited staff articles using AP style, developed story ideas and emailed assignments to writers
  • Wrote stories, police logs, and event calendar on a daily deadline, and covered breaking news

Part I. The Position and Company Information
 
Add your title
You should have your title, company, city and state and then the dates worked all on one line. Start with your title first. Were you an intern, an editorial assistant, a sales associate or something else?
 
Next put the company details
After your title, put the company, city and abbreviated state of where you worked. In general, list your position first unless you want to call attention to the name of the prominent companies where you worked, according to Quint Careers. (For example, “if you plan to enter the tourism industry, and you’ve had internships at Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios, you could list company names first,” explains an article from Quint Careers.)
 
Don’t explain the company or organization
Writing “XYZ Company, an environmental non-profit” in your entry takes up valuable space on your resume. You are better off explaining XYZ Company during a job or internship interview, according to Duke University’s Career Center. For example, I studied abroad in London and interned at Itchy City Media, a company not many American employers know. I get questions on job interviews about it and this gives me a chance to explain about the company and my experience.
 
Finish with the dates
On the same line as your title and company details, add the dates you worked. Decide whether to write “Summer 2010” or “May 2010 – August 2010” based on your personal preference and consistency with the rest of your resume.
 
Use clear formatting
Double-check what you just wrote to make sure it looks the same as the rest of your resume. Your resume should have consistent formatting and style. You should be making use of bold, caps and italics but don’t use too many enhancements, according to Duke University’s Career Center. If the rest of your job or internship entries take up three lines each, make sure your new internship entry doesn’t take up six lines.
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Part II. Your Duties and Accomplishments
 
Consult your list of job tasks
Gary Miller, assistant director of University Career Services at UNC-Chapel Hill, says the process of maximizing an internship on a resume usually begins with a good analysis of what roles and responsibilities were held during the experience. Miller says as you examine your projects and tasks, think about what skills were used—these are what are most “sellable” to future employers. Here’s a great website for examples of skills and a short list to get you started:

  • analyzed data             
  • promoted events            
  • organized files                       
  • conducted meetings           
  • operated equipment           
  • maintained records           
  • drafted reports                       
  • coordinated schedules           
  • negotiated conflicts                        
  • compiled statistics           
  • gathered information           
  • designed logos 

Use action verbs
When writing out your responsibilities and skills, Laura Lane, assistant director at UCS at UNC-Chapel Hill, says it is important to use action verbs to describe what you did over the summer and try to avoid “worked with” and “assisted.” If you do a Google search for “action words” and “resume,” you are bound to find a great list to keep bookmarked for next time. Many times they are divided up according to whether that verb is describing research, communication, or management skills. Here is another great list I’ve relied on.
 
Group these skills together
Since space is precious on a resume, group your skills together in a logical way. Use bullet points underneath your initial entry to list these tasks. For example:
 
•Gathered voter information, analyzed demographics data and presented ideas at team meeting
 
Miller says when articulating an internship on a resume, students need to be sure to think about showing their “skills in action” and think about how transferable these skills are to prospective employers. Too many students make the mistake of describing their tasks rather than the skills used to accomplish those tasks. Words in the example above such as “analyzed” and “presented” showed that you practiced skills that are valuable to other employers.
 
Remember your accomplishments
You should also focus not just on duties but on any accomplishments, Lane says. If you wrote a research article for a non-profit that was picked up by a major news outlet, mention that in your description. If you won a scholarship from your company, you should save a spot for that.
 
Quantify your descriptions
Laura Lane says any time you can quantify your descriptions it makes them more powerful. Seeing a specific number or amount stand out gives potential employers the impression that you made a substantial impact. For example, she says you should have statements such as “Increased website traffic by 25%,” “increased the budget by $2,000,” or “supervised a staff of 6.” If you didn’t work with money or supervise a staff, think about how many articles you wrote or how many tweets you contributed each week.
 
Flex your social media skills
Also highlight your social media skills. Lane says if you used social media or any other specific tools of the industry you worked in you want to be sure to describe that. She says you’ll be hired for your skill set in the future and want to be sure to highlight those skills you have in your internship descriptions. Whether it was Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace or YouTube, put it on your resume if you used it during your internship.
 
Avoid redundancies
You should not have too many details of your duties and responsibilities, according to Duke University’s Career Center. For example, you don’t need to mention those pesky coffee runs or endless mail sorting. Make sure you do not use the phrases: “Responsible for…” or “Duties included…” Get right to the point after your bullet points and for example, start with “Wrote articles on a weekly deadlines, compiled calendar entries and brainstormed story ideas.”
 
Check and recheck
Now that you’re back on campus, take advantage of your own career counselor. You should be stopping by occasionally especially as you get closer to graduation. Print out the latest copy of your resume and ask them to review it. They’ll be able to catch spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes you may not have seen. More importantly, they can tell you if you should revise your new entry or reword your job duties.
 
Landing that internship was hard enough but maximizing every experience from your job on your resume doesn’t have to be. Just be clear, concise and use those oh-so-necessary action verbs. The better your internship sounds on your resume, the easier it will be to earn your next one.
 
Check out these three interns’ real resumes that we work-shopped to maximize how their internships sound!

Sample Resumes:
 

 

Sources:
 
Gary Miller, assistant director, UCS at UNC-Chapel Hill
 
Laura Lane, assistant director, UCS at UNC-Chapel Hill
 
Duke University Resume Guide
 
Quint Careers Resume FAQ

Jessica Stringer is a senior journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is originally from Woodbridge, VA. At UNC, she is the editorial director for Rival Magazine, a joint publication between UNC and Duke. She has previously written for the Daily Tar Heel, interned at DC Magazine and CNBC, and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Jessica fell in love with London during her semester abroad and dreams of moving across the pond. Some of her favorite things include coconut cupcakes, Carolina basketball, old Hollywood movies, and her Havanese puppy Max.
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