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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Oct 10, 2016

Resume for an Internship or Campus Job

By On 06:45
Don’t feel intimidated that you have little or no real-world experience.

Internships, work-study, student jobs, and even relevant coursework can make your resume stand out. Your goal is to present this information in the best possible way: present relevant details, be thoughtful in layout, and tailor each resume to the specific position.

To be clear, internships and campus jobs are just that, but they can be stepping-stones to your dream posting after graduation.

Begin with the Basics


This is an excellent practice to get into for the future. ALWAYS suit your resume and cover letter to the post to which you are applying. Generic and irrelevant content are just as likely to get you ignored on campus as in the real world. This is important!

Campus job and internship resumes are different than those for jobs out in industry. It’s encouraged to include relevant coursework, non-work experience, as well as grades or GPA in the body of the document. The hiring managers in these jobs are looking for a great student AND someone who can benefit from the duties of the part-time job. These elements mean that the incumbent will perform well and work to learn /master new skills at their limited time in the position.

  • Consider Including: Skills (soft skills or technical), Memberships, Awards, Internships, Software and Technology, Volunteering and Community Engagement, Research Projects, Interests, and Work Experience. 
  • Want to add the job at the Minute Mart….is it relevant…you decide.
*. If you don’t have particularly good grades as a student, don't included you GPA, better still- be sure to include your “Relevant Coursework”

Many years ago, the general rule was that you wanted to keep your resume under one page—unless you had good reasons for going over. Today, that is less of a rule, but know this you should AT LEAST fill a single page.

Don’t Half-Ass This: A half-page resume is ridiculous... it's like you're saying that you have not been thoughtful about your own worth and suitability. Never apply for a job with a half-page of half-thoughts and half-complete sentences! You are attempting to get a job that will make you a marketable, viable candidate once out in the real job market. Be thorough and intentional. This practice run--landing an internship or campus job--is important. 

  1. Using a template? Use a simple one with wide margins to give ample white space. 
  2. Do not over-use colors or graphic elements. Stick with 1-2 colors and rely on the typography to present hierarchy (use Title, Headings and paragraph text, and bulleted lists).
  3. Get a Reviewer: a friend, professor, or career services agent at your university..
  4. PDF is better than a Word file..if you have used a template or special formatting, PDFs display exactly the same on every computer everywhere. Word files can change formatting and make your resume and cover letters look like garbage. While this is not your intention, it could be perceived that way ....

    (I know this because of a recent experience with a potential intern. Her resume formatting, created in an early version of MS Office, displayed horribly on my Mac--which had newer software, and she could not explain her "design decisions' in layout of her application materials. It was unfortunate. This undergraduate student eventually re-submitted to me her PDF resume and I was able to see the layout that she originally intended.

    In most cases, you may not get a second chance to make that first impression. Instead, the recruiter might think you unsuitable for the post, because of  a demonstrated lack of knowledge of basic page layout and formatting...got me?) 

For god’s sake spell-check your application documents before you hit send! It’s best to get someone to read through them. Spelling and grammatical errors are another reason why resumes get thrown into the circular file.

*. did you work a Pubic Service Announcement or a Public Service Announcement for class?

This element of your application can help to set you apart from other candidates. Stating your interest in a note/letter that shows you have done basic research about the company or department is important. Include a cover letter--addressed to an individual (not "Dear Hiring manager" or "To Whom it May Concern")--that gives a better idea of you and your interest in the post. No need to overthink this, but be sure it it not generic.

To help you tailor the message:

  • visit the organization or department's website to learn something about them, making the slightest effort can help make you the only candidate for the post.
  • Don't just talk about you, demonstrate some knowledge about the org or department.
  • Learn 7 Tips to an Excellent Cover Letter...

When applying for an on-campus job or an internship, remember that you are being evaluated first by the resume and cover letter--it is normally the first contact that the department will have with you. Take the time and care to do a good job and you’ll be guaranteed an interview for any post to which you apply. Seriously!