Completing an internship or two can be vital to eventually landing your dream job. Internships teach you a lot about your industry and connect you with key people which may lead to even more opportunities. Crafting your resume for one of these positions is a unique process because you may not have a lot of related work experience yet. After all, that’s what internships are for—to gain valuable work experience that helps you land a job in your career field later down the line (or show you the career field isn’t for you).
When writing your resume, start out by thoroughly studying the job description and thinking about how any of your experiences relate. Ask yourself, “What would a potential employer want to know about me as it relates to the job?” Forming this list makes it easier to think about what qualities you have or activities you’ve done that correspond to the desired qualifications. Here are a few ways you can tailor your outside experiences to write a resume for an internship that interests you.
Classroom work/projects. When you use the qualifications on a job description as a checklist, you’ll know where you’re lacking in real job experience. But, you may be able to think of class projects you’ve completed in school that directly relate to something on the checklist. To demonstrate how this coursework will help an employer in this new job, you could include a heading called something like “Course Projects.” Relate directly on how these classroom projects will allow you to jump right into the internship. For example, if they’re looking for someone who can write code, and you’ve used Java for a class project, describe this assignment in detail as it relates to what they’re looking for.
Sports. If you’ve been active in athletics during your high school or college career, you can relate this to qualifications a hiring manager is seeking. As an athlete, think about how the skills you gained while playing sports are appealing to a company. For example, maybe you were elected to be team captain of your basketball team and had many students under your direction as a result. You can also talk about how you’ve developed key skills like concentration, problem-solving, and perseverance while participating in sports. You can list these qualities in various ways on your resume like “Relevant Experience” or “Leadership Experience.”
Volunteering. When you don’t have extensive related on-the-job experience, taking advantage of all of your exposure to volunteering is a good replacement. You especially gain a lot of soft skill experience when you volunteer for organizations. Maybe you’ve offered to answer the phones for a crisis line or served food at a homeless shelter. Both of these roles gave you a lot of interpersonal skills you can talk about your resume and relate back how it will help you be a great intern. If you’re applying to intern at a nonprofit, you can highlight your volunteering experiences in general as these industries encourage this kind of work.