The Preparation

Editing your resume

At this point you should be able to read your resume and feel confident that it describes your past experiences in the best way possible. Next, you want to make sure it will be desirable to the interviewer.

Below are three exercises you should complete as part of preparing your resume for an internship.

  • The Ideal Internship Exercise

    Once you have completed the first draft of your resume, place your hand over the main heading at the top and read the resume as if you were reading an internship description. Ask yourself, "Does this sound like something I want to be doing?" The ideal internship description exercise is important because the resume should describe what you want to do.

  • The Friend Exercise

    Distribute your resume to close friends, family and references. Ask them, "Does this resume communicate my strengths and experiences in a way that will be interesting to the person interviewing me?"

    The friend test is important because a resume that highlights your accomplishments and the expertise you are offering is difficult to develop. Your strengths may be hard for you to see because strengths frequently come naturally and are therefore hard to recognize in ourselves. Friends and family can be excellent resources for pointing out strengths you have not recognized about yourself.

  • The Employer Exercise

    Ask the friends and family who initially reviewed your resume to pass your resume to someone who does not know you. Ask them to answer the following questions: "What type of internship is this person well suited?" "What type of work?" "What industry?" "What are this person's greatest strengths?"

The employer exercise is the best indicator of how a prospective employer who has never met you will react to the resume. Both you and the people who know you are unconsciously influenced by the knowledge of your strengths and capabilities. This creates a blind spot to aspects of your resume that need clarification or development.

If your resume passes these three exercises, then congratulations! Your resume is ready to go to market. This is your marketing brochure and you must be comfortable with it and happy with its content. If you receive conflicting feedback from different sources, remember, with resumes, as with most things in life, everyone has an opinion. Finalize your resume based on the feedback you feel is worthwhile to produce a great marketing piece. You do not have to incorporate every suggestion that is made.

The last step with your finalized product is to run through the following checklist to make sure your resume meets the following criteria. Go through this checklist each time you change your resume.

  • Visual Impact

    • Looks like a professional document
    • Quality resume paper
    • Attractive looking
  • Layout

    • Is visually appealing
    • Is easy to read
    • Good margins and use of white space
    • Good use of highlighting, i.e. Bold, underline, italics
  • Length

    • Could the resume tell the same story if it were shorter?
  • Writing style

    • Clear and concise
    • Logical flow of information
    • Jargon/abbreviations kept to a minimum
    • Consistent style and form
  • Action, achievement and results-oriented

    • Use of action verbs
  • Specific and relevant

    • Resume supports internship objective
  • Complete and accurate

    • No typographical or spelling errors
  • The Bottom Line

    • Does the resume prompt interest from the employer?
    • Does the resume get the applicant invited for an interview?