Determining if Your Intern Resume Is Market-Ready
You’ve read through your internship resume so many times that the lines are blurring together. There’s nary a typo in sight. But you’re just not positive that it will get you hired. Before you send your resume out into the world, run through the three exercises below. Then, review our final checklist to ensure it’s perfectly polished and desirable to the interviewer.
The Ideal Internship Exercise
Once you’ve completed the first draft of your resume, place your hand over your contact info 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?” Your resume should describe both what you’ve done and what you want to do with precision and enthusiasm.
The Friend Exercise
Distribute your resume to close friends, family, and references. Ask them, “Does this resume communicate my strengths and experiences in an interesting way?” The friend test is important because it can be difficult to highlight your accomplishments and expertise. After all, most of us are told to be modest, so it can be hard to recognize our own strengths. Friends and family can be excellent resources for pointing out your gifts—and encouraging you to share them with the world.
The Employer Exercise
Ask the friends and family who initially reviewed your resume to pass it to someone who does not know you. Ask them to answer the following questions: “What type of internship is this person well suited for?” “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 knowing your strengths and capabilities. This can create a blind spot when it comes to aspects of your resume that need clarification or development. A stranger, on the other hand, has no idea and can give you 100% honesty.
If your resume passes these three exercises, then congratulations! It’s almost ready to go to market. Above all else, remember that this is your marketing brochure, so you must be comfortable with it and happy with its content. If you receive conflicting feedback from different sources, remember that everyone has an opinion. Finalize your resume based on the feedback you feel is worthwhile; you do not have to incorporate every suggestion.
The last step with your finalized product is to run through the following checklist. Go through this checklist each time you change your resume.
- Easy to read, with ample white space and clear sections
- Even margins
- Consistent font and spacing
- Use of highlighting (bold, italics)
- Less than one page
- Could the resume tell the same story if it were shorter?
- Clear and concise
- Logical flow of information
- Clearly labeled sections
- Jargon/abbreviations kept to a minimum
- Consistent sentence structure
- Appropriate verb tenses
- Use of action verbs
- Uses key words from the internship description
Specific and relevant
- Supports internship objective
- Includes precise, quantifiable accomplishments