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4 ways to make your CV shine (without work experience)

Applying for your first internship, but don’t have relevant work experience?

We know what it’s like. You’ve slogged it out in the library. You’ve put in the work and you’ve got the grades to show for it, but you find yourself struggling to make your CV sing. We understand that it can be a challenge to get work experience that relates to your field of study when you’re focusing on your grades, however it’s important to remember that employers can be impressed by things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Whether you’re applying for your first ever internship, or you’ve worked at Pizza Hut for the last few years to fund your studies, you need to be smart to make your CV reflect the excellent candidate that you are. Never, never, never lie about your experience. But do try to think outside the box.

1. Don’t dismiss your academic experience. See if you can link some of your academic experience to the role you are applying for. If you haven’t had the chance to get work experience, but your academic experience has made you a good candidate for the job, feel free to include it. For example: If you are applying for an internship in Public Relations, and you did an advertising project with a solid final product, go ahead and include it on your CV. If you haven’t gotten that far in your major, that’s OK too. Certain courses can give you useful skills like critical thinking and communication. So, instead of including specific projects, list some important skills that your education has given you.

2. Think extracurricularly. Get involved in some extracurricular activities, especially those that will develop your skills for the area that you want to work in. If you are applying for an internship in event coordination, find out if there are on campus groups that you can join where you can help with their social activities. You’ll gain experience and make some good connections in your community while you’re at it.

3. Volunteer. There are so many opportunities in your local community to help others. Volunteering will give you experience and also show potential employers that you care about others. You might not find a volunteer position in your exact field of interest, but think about skill sets that would help you in your career and look for volunteer work that will develop those skills.

4. Be concise. Finally, your CV shouldn’t sprawl over pages and pages. Be concise and summarize your achievements into one page. Employers will appreciate it and be impressed with your organizational skills.

Once you’ve got that CV shining, apply for our international internship program to boost your career!

Photos and blog by Rebecca Lipkowitz

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!