How Can Students Stand Out Among Internship Applicants?

May 11, 2011 at 11:35 am | Posted in Finding internships, Intern Advice | Leave a comment
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Joyce Domijan

Often when students create their first resume to apply for their initial internship, their background and experience are lacking due to their youth, and they struggle to find appropriate information to include. I’m sure that you’ve reviewed a few anemic resumes in your years in career services. How can students with little business experience create resumes that will entice employers to call them for an interview?

Employers don’t expect interns to have lots of business experience, so what do they look for in a resume that will differentiate applicants?  Employers want to see indications of prized qualities such as:

  • Creativity
  • Hard work
  • Motivation
  • Dedication
  • Leadership
  • Loyalty

But with little business experience, how can students illustrate these qualities? Students need to think outside the box to unearth examples from their life experience, school experience, extracurricular activities, volunteer efforts and any other area where they can illustrate that they exhibit these qualities.  A few examples might include:

  • Ask a teacher/professor/instructor from a ‘favorite course’ where the student excelled, to write a recommendation and include a bullet under coursework quoting the instructor’s praise.
  • Student’s with a background in athletics, music, or other ‘practiced arts’ should include bullets, describing their workout or practice regimens; their years of dedication; their achievements within their craft; etc. These illustrate their motivation and dedication. Also, include any awards they may have earned (e.g. qualified for state tournament; played first violin; etc.).
  • Most young people are involved in some type of volunteer experiences. Always include these types of activities on the resume. They show a concern and empathy for others and a dedication to their community.
  • A student, who has encountered adversity and overcome it, has built character. This is another area where a student should include examples. If you helped to raise siblings or contributed to the household through odd jobs, it speaks volumes about your character.

Remember – resume content, especially in the early years, should contain information that speaks to the student’s accomplishments, regardless of where they occur. In the end, students need to be creative with their resumes and find ways through their life experience to differentiate themselves from the pack!

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