Making the Most of INTRA
Recent Graduates who have completed an INTRA are in a unique position to present their skills through this professional work experience on their CV, cover letter, and at interview stage. Through your INTRA experience you will have had the opportunity to develop and apply new skills, learned to use new technologies and software, and made a positive impact on the company through a project or process.
The first step to writing about your experience on your CV is to think back on your INTRA experience.
- What are you most proud of achieving? What gave you a sense of accomplishment?
- How did you contribute to a project, initiative, or task? What was your best work?
- When have you been successful at building a relationship or connecting / collaborating with people both internally in the organisation and externally such as with clients or customers?
- What problems did you solve? How did you do it?
- What did you learn? How did you adapt? What challenges did you overcome?
You will use these stories for your interview as well. (You can use this technique for all of your experiences).
You should now have a collection of stories that you can use to frame your bullet points on your CV. Now, you must identify what key skills are required for work in your chosen field, and in a specific role that you want to apply for.
- What 3-5 soft skills are most important to succeed in the roles you are applying for?
- If applicable, what 3-5 technical skills are required?
- Which of your accomplishments from above best demonstrate the skills required for the roles you are applying to?
- Are there any other examples you can think of that highlight the skills required?
You’re ready to write your CV. Use the following tips to help you structure achievement statements into your CV and remember to keep it brief (1-2 lines per bullet point, 5-7 bullet points for each experience), you can tell your full stories at the interview.
- Make it action & results orientated. Start each bullet with positive active verbs (e.g. research, organise, create); avoid weak passive verbs and phrases (e.g., took part in, was responsible for, worked as).
- Use numbers to help provide context, scope, and scale of your work. These numbers don’t have to be big to be impactful (e.g., Wrote 3 peer-reviewed articles which were published to the company blog, increasing website traffic by 10% for 2-weeks).
- Consider separating out your professional experience from your part-time or summer work. For example: divide into “Relevant Employment History” and “Other Employment History” or list all Employment History together.
- Regardless of format, use reverse chronological order, i.e., most recent first.
- Include the dates, title of position, name of organisation.
At the interview stage employers will want to hear about your professional work experience. You have already brainstormed examples of where you have accomplished work, learnt new skills, worked with others and met challenges. Use these examples in your interview using the STAR structure for competency questions.
- Situation: During my INTRA placement…
- Task: I had to… and the biggest challenge I faced was…
- Action: I considered my options…and…
- Result: In the end I was able to… and I improved my ability to use / developed a strong relationship with / learnt how to better…
Your INTRA experience can be a highly valuable aspect of your employability alongside your academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Make sure that you maximise it on your CV and during the interview process.
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