The new semester has begun and you’ve successfully completed your internship experience. Chances are that between all your classes, you have already started thinking ahead to your next internship or possibly even a full-time job after you graduate. Before you open up a new application, you’ll need to first focus on one important step: updating your resume.
It may seem difficult to process all that you’ve done for the past few months into concise bullets that will appeal to future employers, but it is definitely not impossible. In fact, I have a few recommended tips to help you turn that summer experience into a professional and marketable section on your resume.
1. To begin, pull the original job description back out.
Not only will this document help refresh your memory on all that you did this past summer, but it will also provide insight into key words and skills that are used by according to industry standards. It’s important to use language that is familiar to employers—especially when considering to reapply to the same company that you interned with the previous summer.
However, while these bullets are a good place to start for inspiration, you cannot stop there. Depending solely on the job description will create bullets that are too general or broad; it would not accurately reflect your unique experience.
2. Ask yourself what skills you gained from this experience.
Try to make a list of the types of skills you acquired. Did you gain proficiency in any technical skills, programs, or languages? Did you work with others or manage complex projects? If you are struggling to name the skills you gained, then I would suggest looking at the National Association of Colleges and Employer’s Job Outlook 2016 Survey for the top list of attributes that employers are looking for on a resume. Incorporate these skills into your bullets.
3. What were your major duties or projects?
When remembering your summer experience, it can be easy to recall the everyday responsibilities. However, your employer does not necessarily want to know what an average day looked like for you—instead, focus on larger projects or duties that encompass many skills. Another way to avoid sharing less relevant information is to ask yourself: what is my proudest accomplishment from this summer? This is important to include on your resume because it will then be more likely that an employer will ask about it in an interview, giving you a chance to showcase your skills.
4. What can you quantify?
Now that you’ve thought about all that you’ve done and learned, it is time to attach numbers to these experiences. Employers are always searching for concrete numbers on a resume, Try not to stress about how many numbers you have or how high they are, but focus on whether or not you are providing sufficient context to your experiences. Numbers don’t only have to refer to what is found on a spreadsheet—it can be anything to help give a clearer picture of what you did. An example of providing context to experiences could mean the number of people on your project team, the parameter of the budget with which you worked, the number of contacts your social media postings reached, or the total number of clients with whom you interacted. Remember to write your numbers in numerical form…don’t spell it out as it’s more eye-catching to employers as they skim resumes for relevant information.
5. Each bullet should have a purpose or a specific component that you want to showcase to the employer.
Are you repeating the same type of information over and over again with each new bullet? Are you highlighting a holistic perception of your experience? Every line on your resume is important and should not be wasted space. In other words, every line should help build a clear image of your entire experience, showcasing various skills, projects, accomplishments, and professional development opportunities.
If you had an internship that focused on a lot of technical applications, then it may be a good idea to ensure that one bullet includes skills related to communication and working with other people, as this has been proven to be an important attribute to employers as well. While working on these technical projects, did you work on a team? Did you have to do any presentations or compile any reports for others? All of these opportunities require development of communication skills which could help you stand out.
If your summer internship was especially relevant to what you intend to do in the future, whether it is another internship or full-time position, this should be the longest and most recent section of your resume. Try to have the most bullets dedicated to this specific experience; you could have anywhere from 3-6 bullets. This process is meant to be a reflective practice when thinking back on your summer. It’s also a process that doesn’t need to be done alone. One of the best ways to ensure that you captured your experience effectively is to have your previous supervisor look over your bullets, as they may have a better perspective and understanding of all that you’ve done.