How to Target Your Resume for Internship Applications

Writing a resume is easy. Writing a perfectly targeted resume that sends you to the head of the pack is a little more challenging.


When preparing to apply for internships, you could put together a basic resume and probably get some interviews using it. On the other hand, you can spend a little more time tailoring your resume to internship opportunities and stand out as an above average intern candidate. Here are a few ideas on how to target your resume for internships:

  • Include relevant coursework. If you haven’t had any relevant experience yet, I would encourage you to include information on the relevant courses you have completed. The most common way to do this is to list relevant courses in your Education section. Alternatively, you can create a stand-alone Relevant Coursework section and provide more detail. If creating a Relevant Coursework section, be very selective with the courses you list and only list a few. Focus on classes that included a relevant, large project. For example, I know of Advertising and Marketing courses in which students put together campaigns for real clients. List the name of the course and include a couple of bullet points describing your work on the project and outlining the results.
  • Don’t mistake a paycheck for experience. I see many students gaining relevant experience through opportunities that are NOT paid jobs. From providing social media marketing support for philanthropic projects to holding leadership positions with organizations, “experience” comes in all shapes and sizes. When you title your experience section “Work Experience,” you are making it all about paid jobs. Instead, call your section “Experience,” or create two sections: “Relevant Experience” and “Other Experience” (“Other” being for unrelated jobs you’ve held). When you think about it from a pure experience perspective, you might be bringing more to the table than originally thought.
  • Keep your resume to one page. One issue always up for debate is the acceptable length of a resume. While more than a page is accepted in certain circles, it is very hard to make the case for a multi-page resume for a college student with no internship experience. Ultimately, this is what targeting your resume is all about – understanding how to boil down your experiences to the most necessary details. If you are having difficulty doing this, meet with an objective party like a career advisor. One of us will tell you what your resume can do without.

Need more help preparing your resume for internship applications? Check out these posts from the past:

What is one way you have targeted your resume for internship opportunities?

Intern Spotlight: Kelsey Welke

Kelsey Welke

Kelsey Welke, Senior (December 2013)
Major: International Journalism
Minor: Public Relations
Internship: Assistant Photographer/Personal Assistant with Andrejka Photography

How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the opportunity?

I found out about this internship through a friend of mine who works on Mackinac Island during the summer season. He mentioned to me that Andrejka was looking for an intern to help her out and I contacted her. I’ve been interested in photography for a few years now, so having a photography internship seemed too good to be true! I was going to be waitressing on Mackinac Island during the summer, but I knew I could handle a job and an internship. Andrejka and I met up for lunch a couple of days after I got settled on the island. We instantly clicked and I started working soon after.

Describe your internship experience.

I helped Andrejka take photos of weddings on the island. I shot about 6 weddings with her during the summer. These weddings would be 6-10 hours long and were usually on Saturdays. These would be really long days, because there are so many individual, important events during a wedding, such as the first look, group photos, the ceremony, the reception, the first dance, cake cutting, and more. Between her and I, there would be thousands of photos from a single wedding! I helped Andrejka download the images, sort them, make albums online, and prepare the cameras for our next photo shoot.

In a way, I was also her personal assistant. I would run errands for her and help her plan out her weekly schedule. I had so much fun shooting weddings with Andrejka! It gave me so much experience if I ever want to become a wedding photographer someday.

The one thing that I loved most about this internship was working the SnapThis! Photo Booth that Andrejka owned. We set this up at weddings and I was the photo booth attendant. The picture above is me working my first photo booth event. Everyone loved the photo booth – it was always a big hit! Some of the props included top hats, funky sunglasses, feather boas, chalkboards and red clown noses.

What did you learn during your internship experience? How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?

I have been interested in photography ever since I graduated high school and I’ve been taking photos of my friends, couples, and of nature since then. This internship was an absolutely amazing opportunity and I learned more than I ever thought I could! Andrejka was a great teacher and was very patient with me when I wasn’t sure what to do or how to capture an image.

One thing that I learned from this internship is that owning a photography business is a lot harder than it looks, especially if you are as successful and busy as Andrejka is. There is so much involved with being a professional photographer. You can’t just take photos, edit them and burn them to a CD for the happy couple in less than a week. You need to prep the cameras and batteries, make sure you have all of your lenses, write out an agenda for the day, meet the bride and groom a couple of days prior to the wedding to go over everything, and then get ready to take photos all day! After the weddings, Andrejka had a special editing program that we worked with. We sorted out all the good photos, mailed them to a professional photo-editing company who then edited her photos, and then we would put those photos on a CD to mail to the couple, as well as on a slideshow and on an online gallery. Sometimes Andrejka would make a nice hardcover book with the best photos of the wedding, much like SnapFish books, except her wedding books would be much thicker. It was definitely a lot of work, but we could tell that the bride and groom and their families really appreciated the work.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

My internship was paid, but one piece of advice I would give to students would be to not shy away from unpaid internships. I think the experience you’ll get from an internship is worth way more than any amount of money.

What did Kelsey’s supervisor have to say?

Kelsey demonstrated a variety of strengths over the period of her internship. She showed strong computer and organizational skills as well as [an] ability to relate to a variety of people. She is also a strong artist with a beautiful eye. There are two aspects that impressed me most with Kelsey: her ability to take initiative and her ability to relate to people.

Kelsey was an incredible intern. I was proud to have her represent my company.

Congratulations Kelsey on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for February 2013!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Kelsey? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-Whitewater students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!

How to Find an Internship

The first step to getting that all important internship is finding it. So this is where we will start your semester-long journey towards internship success.

First of all, finding an internship is not much different from finding any other job. This is one of the reasons I believe all students should seek out an internship opportunity. It’s perfect practice as you approach the BIG job search when graduation looms.

There are a variety of ways to find out about an internship opportunity. Here are the most common:

  • Internship Postings. Check out online internship/job boards for openly advertised internship opportunities. There are a seemingly endless number of websites out there. Some are exclusively for internships, like Others are resources you can use now for internships and use in the future for post-grad jobs, such as Hawk Jobs. Stick to quality search sites – Check with a career advisor if you are questioning a source. Also keep in mind that this is the most popular way to search for internships. The higher volume of viewers means more applicants for the opportunities and more competition for you. Read my previous post on effectively searching internship postings.
  • Employer Sourcing. Know of a company or organization that you would LOVE to intern for? Check them out directly. Once you identify an organization, see if they have internship opportunities posted on their website. If they don’t, reach out by phone or email. Read more about the complete employer sourcing process, from finding organizations to making contact.
  • Networking. Have you ever heard that it’s all about who you know? Well, it’s true. Next to searching postings and connecting directly with specific employers, networking has proven to be an effective strategy for UW-Whitewater students seeking internships. You already have connections through family and friends, and it’s never too late to build new ones. I’ve written about networking A LOT, but this networking post is a good overview of using it as a strategy in your search.
  • Create Your Own. Did you know that it is sometimes possible to create your own internship? This is a very proactive approach. But if you can make it happen, there is the potential to have one of the best internship experiences possible. Interested? Read all about the process of creating an internship.

Curious how other UW-Whitewater students found their internships? Read the stories of interns who have been featured in our Intern Spotlight (aka Intern of the Month Program).

Have you started searching for internship opportunities? What strategies are working for you?

Photo from I Has A Hotdog

Get That Internship!

This is the year it’s going to happen. You are going to get that internship!


Over the course of this semester, I am going to walk you through the process of finding, applying for, securing, and being successful in the internship you want. If you stick with me, you’ll find your career taking off.

While I can never guarantee that the story will end that way you (and I) hope it will, I do know that following the process I am going outline for you will be immensely beneficial. If an internship doesn’t happen this summer, you will be in a better position to get an internship in the fall (or next spring, or next summer).

Next Monday, I’ll start to cover the process of finding internship opportunities. But since writing a resume is inevitably on the horizon, I would encourage you to stop by the Resume Doctor next week:

  • Tuesday, January 29 / 1-4pm / Andersen Library
  • Wednesday, January 30 / 1-4pm / Andersen Library
  • Thursday, January 31 / 1-4pm / Andersen Library

If you have a resume, bring it with you to get some quick feedback on it. If you don’t have a resume, you can grab some of our resume handouts to help get you started.

So who is with me? Who is going to get that internship for this summer?

Winter Break: Gear Up Time for Your Summer Internship Search

I can barely believe that winter break is already upon us. The fall semester flew by, and I’m guessing this spring semester will do the same. This means that summer – and its abundant internships – will be here before we know it.

Winter scenery

For my last post of the fall semester, I want to leave you with some things to do over the winter break to be prepared for your summer internship search. Opportunities will begin popping up in late January/early February, so you will want to be ready to take advantage of them. Here we go…

1. Get that resume ready!

It probably goes without saying, but you will need a resume in order to apply for most internships. And if great internships start getting posted and you don’t have that resume ready, you are going to be behind many of your peers. The break is an ideal time to work on your resume. No assignments, no papers, and no studying leave plenty of time to focus. I have written about internship resumes before, so check out these posts:

2. Google yourself and act accordingly.

Have you Googled yourself lately… or ever? If you are going to apply for internships, it’s a good idea. With the high potential for employers to scope you out online, you will want to be ahead of the game and know what’s out there. And if you’re strategic, you can start to mold your online presence and make it a positive one. Check out this thorough SlideShare presentation to help you get started:

3. Start building a profile on LinkedIn.

I refer to LinkedIn as your resume meets Facebook. It’s your professional social network, and it’s never been easier for students to build profiles on the site. LinkedIn takes your resume to a new level and will help you develop your professional network. Where do you begin? Check out the LinkedIn resources on our Career Resources website and read over the following articles:

Other social media sites can be beneficial as well. For tips, read Six Sites Every Potential Intern Must Be On.

Wishing you a relaxing, yet productive, winter break! “See” you in late January!

What is one thing that you will definitely accomplish over the winter break?

Photo by Bernt Rostad