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How to Describe Your Internship Experience on your CV


One of the main challenges in entering the workforce is the exhaustive list of requirements to qualify to apply. The biggest hurdle is the work history – even an entry-level position requires at least two years of relevant job experience.

For fresh graduates, this is almost impossible. How can you possibly have a two-year work experience when you have spent at least four years in a university to earn your degree? This is where internships come in handy. Internships allow students to acquire real-life work experience and on-the-job training that is essential when you are out in the real world, pursuing your dream career.

The question is, will your internship experience count and can be reflected as ‘work history’ when writing your CV? Will recruiters or hiring managers consider you for a position when your job experience is through an internship?

Don’t sweat it! Read on. We’ve put together foolproof tips to make your CV compelling and professional.

Craft a powerful objective statement.

Usually found at the top part of a CV next to the headshot. An objective statement is a concise yet targeted detail or attribute that clearly outlines your career path while positioning yourself as the best candidate and fit for the role. Albeit optional, this is very useful for candidates who have zero or limited work experience.

“A result-oriented and creative thinker who completed a 15-month digital marketing internship with Google-London, seeking to obtain a position under the marketing department to contribute in generating leads, increasing brand awareness, and assist in converting engagements into revenue using the best practices in digital marketing.”

The above sample is short, clear, and concise; it positions an internship as a powerful tool and an advantage for employers when choosing to hire you.

List your internship under ‘Professional/Work Experience.’

Because it is. An internship should be tagged under ‘Professional Experience’ or ‘Work Experience’ on your CV, not under ‘Trainings.’

When listing your experience, follow the format below:
Spell out the company’s name, address (city and country would suffice), and the internship program’s start and end date.

Refer to your internship with a job title. For example, referring to the above objective statement’s sample, your job title would be listed as a Digital Marketing Intern, not just an Intern. Applying this format adds value to your experience, and overall forges your CV to be more credible.

List your duties and responsibilities in concise yet clear descriptions. Use action words that can be easily translated and related to the specific company you are applying for, i.e., collaborated, designed, analyzed, spearheaded, etc.

If you have any significant achievement during your internship that has been integrated within the company’s policy and procedure, list it under the specific company. This is a significant accomplishment, especially for an intern. You may name it under ‘Achievements or Accomplishments.’

For example: Drafted and implemented a Standard Operating Procedure under the marketing department for social media management and content plan creation.

Apply relevant keywords.

Including relevant and robust keywords on your CV is significant. Because of the volume of CVs and resumés recruiters and hiring managers to go through daily, seldom do they read an application wholly. In fact, a whopping 95% of resumés are never even read! To be efficient, they only take a few seconds, scanning keywords or relevant points within a CV’s content.

That is why you must choose industry-related keywords to stand out. When listing your skills and qualifications, curate keywords that are compelling, straightforward, and related to the industry you are applying for. Staying within the marketing career sample, keywords such as administered, planned, assisted, people-oriented, fast-learner are to be avoided. These are generic, substandard, and do not compel your audience to take action, such as send you an email for an interview.

Instead, replacing those weak keywords with their stronger counterparts such as directed, developed, systematized, results-focused, creative-thinker makes a difference in presenting yourself and levels up your professional experience.

Keep it short and precise.

The fact that your professional experience is limited, it is expected that your CV would be short, too. Don’t give in to the urge of a lengthy CV; longer isn’t always better, especially if you are filling in the content with unrelated information and buzzwords.

“If you aren’t clear and concise on your resume, it’s unlikely to attract the type of response you need,” says Miriam Salpeter, founder of Keppie Careers and a career advisor.

Double-check your contact information.

You’re aiming to be a professional now! So, your contact details should reflect that, too. Almost all correspondence in the recruitment process is initially done via email. Is your email address appropriate? If your current one involves a nickname and a number such as [email protected], it’s safe to say that you’re better off making a new one.

An appropriate email can be as simple as your first and last name combined. A recruiter or hiring manager would be more likely to contact an [email protected] rather than a [email protected]. The former relays a professional and mature image compared to the latter.
And lastly, but not the least…

Include a cover letter

It has been stressed enough that your CV needs to be concise, clear, and compelling. However, there are thoughts and information that may not be found or translated well on your CV. This is where a cover letter is useful. It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself, justify your experience, expound your qualifications, and basically, selling yourself to the reader – why you’re the best person for the job, allowing your charming character to reflect on your cover letter.

Final Thoughts

An internship is incredibly valuable -not to mention beneficial- stepping stone to the path of a successful career. “An internship is an opportunity to show a future employer that you have worked in a professional environment,” augments career coach Eilis Wasserman of Muse. The hundreds of hours spent putting theoretical learnings into the real world always pays off. All you have to do is put your professional experience into compelling, clear, and strong writing.

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Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

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