You’ve landed the perfect internship and had a great time learning the ropes and gaining valuable on-the-job experience in a new industry. The next step is to write up an internship report before you can move on to your next challenge. Being able to summarize your professional experience can be helpful for identifying your ideal career path and growing your resume while also fulfilling any requirements to finish your internship.
What is an internship report?
An internship report is an overview of your experience working for a company as an intern. Internship reports identify milestones in your professional development, highlighting which skills you used most frequently and key moments where you got to put those skills into practice. They combine the personal reflection of a journal entry with the strategic perspective of performance evaluation, giving you the chance to look holistically at our internship experience and identify the lessons you learned.
Why are internship reports important?
Some employers with internship programs require all interns to complete an exit report so they can better develop the program. If your internship qualifies for college credit, you may have to produce a report in order to verify that you earned relevant experience. But internship reports aren't just technical requirements you need to submit to move on to the next step in your career. They provide a chance for you to give feedback to employers and create a written record of your growth and success.
In competitive markets, the connections you make during an internship can have a direct impact on your future career. Having an 'in' at a company by interning there is a great start to finding a paying job, especially if they have access to an internship report highlighting your potential and place within the company.
Six steps for writing the perfect internship report
Set yourself up for success by planning out your report and tackling one section at a time. These six steps will get you on your way to producing an internship report you can be proud of:
- Identify the requirements
- Set up the formatting
- Provide context
- Focus on your role
- Share key takeaways
1. Identify the requirements
Before you start writing, ask your employer or school about any specific instructions and requirements they have for internship reports. Some companies have strict expectations about what goes into an internship report, and may even have a template for you to use. Others have more flexibility, allowing you to focus on whichever aspects feel most relevant to you. Knowing the directions ahead of time will help you write a report that meets expectations and minimize the time you spend editing your work.
2. Set up the formatting
In general, internship reports have the same basic formatting, including a cover page, a table of contents and clearly-titled sections for skills, experience, and future plans. If your employer or school doesn't have a template for internship reports, creating one yourself sets up an easy-to-follow outline and ensures you hit all of the key points you want to include. Choose a professional font to improve readability and get writing.
3. Provide context
Begin your report with the key context of your internship, starting with details about the organization you interned with, such as:
- Company mission statement
- Founding information
- Industry involvement
- Ongoing projects and priorities
While business owners already know this information about their company, it provides a refresher that grounds your internship in a larger context of the company's history. Starting your report with information about the company also makes your internship report a valuable document for showing off your work experience to potential employers or academic programs.
4. Focus on your role
The main part of your report should focus on the specific role you held while interning. Describe the purpose of your position and your daily responsibilities, then explain what you learned completing each task. Include significant examples of lessons you learned or new skills you were able to develop.
5. Share key takeaways
Finish your report with a conclusion that shares how you plan to apply this experience in the future or share feedback on how you would improve the internship experience if you could do it again. This helps the company develop the program and gives you an opportunity to evaluate your own performance and experience so you can make the best career choices going forward.
6. Proofread your work
Even though an internship will likely not have an impact on your grades or pay, you still want to leave a great impression by submitting a polished report free of typos, grammar errors and structure issues.
Internship report sample
After creating your title page and table of contents, use this sample internship report as a template to guide your writing:
The Andrea Knox Learning Center has established in 2006 to provide engaging after-school care for at-risk youth. Located in downtown Houston, the AKLC's mission is to build the confidence of local youth through mental health support, artistic opportunities and academic support. As a psychology major, I chose the AKLC Early Childhood Education Internship to learn about the concept of social-emotional learning and practice working with kids who need emotional support.
As an intern, I wrote lesson plans and assisted the lead teachers in facilitating activities. I prepared materials, checked-in students at the start of each program and helped supervise activities. I helped compile behavior reports for the on-site counselors and built relationships with the attendees to make them feel welcome and supported.
Through my internship, I improved my active listening, public speaking and problem-solving skills. Assessing student profiles and implementing different techniques to help them open up and try new things was especially helpful in developing my critical thinking abilities. Helping a participant with anger control issues learn to communicate respectfully with others was one of my proudest moments where I used interpersonal skills alongside my psychology education.
The AKLC internship gave me real-world opportunities to make a difference in kids' lives while being supported by experienced mentors. My experience will help me communicate effectively with others in the workplace and use educational concepts to encourage a positive mindset in others.