Internships give students and new workers a valuable chance to gain experience in a profession and a means of getting a foot in the door for a new career. But internships can also be competitive, with many students applying for the same intern positions at well known businesses and agencies. Your curriculum vitae is one way to make yourself stand out from the crowd of applicants.
CV vs. Resume
A curriculum vitae, or CV, is an alternative to a standard employee resume. While resumes list contact information, work experience and special skills for job applicants, CVs include this same information in addition to relevant activities, honors and life experiences. CVs can be significantly longer, often more than two or three pages. Compared to constructing a resume, writing your CV to apply for an internship allows you to list more information and find additional ways to set yourself apart from other applicants.
There is no single standard format for CVs. However, most CVs follow a similar format. The first section lists contact information, including your name, home address, phone number and e-mail address. Many CVs open with a description of your personal goals and career aspirations. The next section generally details academic, work and life experiences in chronological order. The last main section of an internship CV should include honors and awards, training and certifications and personal information relevant to the internship, such as hobbies or personal interests.
One of the challenges in constructing a CV to submit with your internship application is the possible lack of work experience. Students applying for internships are looking for their first forays into the field and don't have a list of relevant jobs or work to make note of. However, the longer format of a CV allows you to include experience in each section rather than confining it to the section devoted to work experience. For example, if you have experience as a volunteer, you can note the skills you developed and training you received with the position. Likewise, you can note the personal skills, such as time management and multitasking, gained from participation in class projects on the section that lists your current and previous education experience.
The objective section is another area where CVs can give you an edge in applying for an internship, as well as a place where they differ from resumes. Following your contact information, place a short paragraph that explains your aspirations and why you think you'd be a good candidate. This shouldn't include the same information as the cover letter you submit, which refers to the specific internship, but it might be a part of your CV that you customize for each internship you apply for. Draw attention to the skills that you think will be most useful in the position and state goals that make sense given the internship.