Crafting an easy-to-read and impressive resume and cover letter is an essential part of applying for a college internship as well as an important skill. While resume and cover letter formats vary widely, a successful resume and cover letter should make the applicant desirable to an employer.
According to University of California at Berkeley's "Career Center Resume & Letter Writing Guide," a well-crafted resume should not just summarize your accomplishments, it should also highlight the results of your efforts.
Resume Content and Layout
According to UC Berkeley's "Resume & Letter Writing Guide," the resume should typically be no longer than one page and should include the internship applicant's name, address, phone number and email address at the top. The name of the applicant's college, the applicant's major field and the expected graduation date should also be included.
Work experience, both paid and unpaid, should then be listed chronologically with the most recent listed first. This should include accomplishments and contributions made while in these positions. The actual layout of the resume can vary, but typically presents this information under bolded headings. Optional information includes academic honors, skills and volunteer activities.
Resume Mistakes to Avoid
According to California State University, Fullerton's Career Center, there are several mistakes that college students typically make when creating resumes. Common mistakes include making the font too small, leaving out dates when talking about previous positions, and forgetting to edit spelling and grammar errors. UC Berkeley also advises that vague job descriptions and acronyms be avoided.
Cover Letter Layout and Content
A well-written cover letter should both introduce an applicant to a potential employer and highlight writing skills and knowledge of the position's requirements. UC Berkeley recommends that an applicant analyze the internship description and make sure to highlight skills the applicant has that match with the internship. The cover letter should consist of one page and highlight previous experience and accomplishments to show that the applicant is a good fit for the position.
Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid
The UC Berkeley's "Resume & Letter Writing Guide" also highlights several things to avoid when crafting a cover letter. Mistakes to avoid include not proofreading the letter, making the letter too long and not specific enough and writing about experiences without pointing out why they're relevant to the position. A cover letter should avoid focusing on what the internship would contribute to the applicant and instead should focus on what the applicant will bring to the group offering the internship.
Jamie Applegate is a journalist with more than five years of experience writing online and for newspapers. She has been published in the UC Berkeley "Daily Californian" newspaper, Bloomberg Businessweek online, and the "Coalinga Recorder" newspaper. She has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and currently resides in California.