Internship Resume Mistakes: Tips And Advice To Avoid

October 12, 2022

Applying for an internship means being savvy with how you present yourself. Whether that is knowing how to make a fake diploma, using online grammar checkers, and taking advantage of resume generators, creativity and resourcefulness are key.

However, there are some common mistakes internship seekers make that can tank their chances of being accepted into a desired program. To help you create a strong internship resume, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Tips for writing an internship resume

  • Only write down skills and experience relevant to the internship

The key word here is “relevant.” Just like applying for a job, employers want interns who can deliver what the company or the position needs. So, tailor your internship resume as well as you can. For example, let us say you are applying as an intern for an accounting firm. Your resume should highlight any experience or skills you have in accounting, bookkeeping, and financial analysis.

  • Use action verbs

When writing your resume, be sure to use persuasive language and active voice. This will make your resume more engaging and easier to read. Also, remember that your resume is basically you “speaking” to the employer, so using first person is perfectly fine.

Some examples of action verbs you can use include:

  • Managed
  • Organized
  • Led
  • Created
  • Improved
  • Analyzed
  • Conducted
  • Wrote
  • Presented

These action words help you accomplish a couple of things: they make you sound confident, and it makes easier for employers to grasp your depth and breadth of experience.

  • Quantify your experience and skills

When possible, use numbers to illustrate your qualifications. Why? Because numbers make an impact and help your resume stand out. For example, instead of saying “created social media content,” you could say “created social media content that received over 1,000 likes and was shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.”

If you do not have a lot of professional experience to draw from, you can also include quantitative information from class projects, group work, or other extracurricular activities.

  • Use keywords related to the internship

This is a critical resume writing tip in the digital world, and is important whether you are applying for an internship or an official job. Many employers, especially those who allow applicants to submit their documents online, use applicant tracking systems (ATS). This software screens resumes for specific keywords that match the job opening, so it’s important to use them in your resume.

To figure out which keywords to use, first look at the internship listing and make a list of all the required skills and qualities. Look at the job title, too. For example, if you are applying for an “assistant marketing intern” position, some keywords you might want to include are “marketing,” “Assistant,” “intern,” and “customer service.”

  • Have your career advisor review your resume

There will always be something you can improve, no matter how great the first draft of your resume internship may be. A career advisor, or someone with similar experience that you trust, can help you create a more comprehensive and error-free resume.

Writing an internship resume: mistakes to avoid

  • Do not use an unprofessional email address

One of the first things an employer will notice on your resume is your email address. So, make sure it is professional—which means no goofy nicknames or offensive language. If you do not have a professional email address, now is the time to create one.

You can use your name or a combination of your name and some numbers. For example, if your name is Steve King, you could use or

  • Be ruthless about editing out fluff

Remember that the goal of your resume is to show off why you are the best candidate for the internship. So, only include information that is directly related to the position you are applying for. Anything else is just extra fluff that will only take up valuable space on your resume.

Some examples of irrelevant information include:

  • Your high school experiences (unless you are a current high school student, and in that case, skip your middle school experiences)
  • A list of every extracurricular activity you were ever involved in
  • Any experiences that are more than 10 years old
  • Personal information such as your hobbies, interests, or political views

Again, asking a career counselor or a trusted adult go over your internship resume with you can help you edit out any irrelevant information.

  • Do not make it too long

An internship resume should be one page—and in some cases, even half a page will suffice. That is because employers only spend about six seconds looking at each resume. So, you want to make sure the most important and relevant information is front and center. If your resume starts getting longer than one page, go through and delete any unnecessary details.

If you are having trouble cutting things down, try using bullet points instead of paragraphs, and get rid of any information that is not directly related to the internship.

  • Do not use pronouns

When writing your resume, avoid using pronouns such as “I,” “me,” and “my.” For example, instead of saying “I created social media content,” you could say “Created social media content.” This small change can help make your resume sound more powerful and direct.

Applying these tips can help you stand out among others vying for the same internship position. Remember, you only have one chance to impress the employer with your resume, so make it count!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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