This article will cover what internships are, when to include them on your resume, and how to do so effectively to increase your chances of getting selected for an interview.
What Are Internships?
Internships are a way for students to try working in a certain field for a short period of time in order to determine if they are interested in pursuing a career in that industry. Typically, undergraduate and/or graduate students will dedicate 10-20 hours per week to an internship throughout a semester. Since internships are often balanced with other part-time positions and/or schoolwork, they generally don’t require a huge time commitment. However, some students opt to do a more full-time (40-hours per week) summer internship between school years.
Internships can be paid or unpaid, but they are usually extremely valuable to a student as a way to preview the field they are considering for their career. Internships can also provide useful networking opportunities with professionals in the industry, which often helps pave the way for finding jobs in the field after graduation. Additionally, sometimes internships can be claimed as college credits if they are directly related to a student’s area of study.
When To List Internships on Your Resume
It’s a good idea to list internships on your resume if you are still a student or you’ve recently graduated, and the internship is related to the field that you are applying for. Even if an internship isn’t directly related to the field that you are applying to, you can still include it on your resume and show how the skills and experience you gained are transferable and useful for the position that you are currently applying for.
If you have at least five years of professional work experience, it’s no longer necessary to list your internships on your resume. Employers will be more impressed by your more recent work experience and accomplishments in those positions. But, if your five years of experience are all at the same company and you still have blank space to fill on your resume, you may wish to include your internship anyways as long as it’s relevant.
Additionally, if you took an internship or fellowship position after graduating from school as a way to help you make a career change, then listing these positions will still be useful.
If you scored a highly prestigious internship (at the White House, for instance) you may wish to keep that information on your resume long-term to show potential employers that you have experience working for high-profile companies or organizations.
How To Include Internship Experience on Your Resume
If it makes sense for you to include internships on your resume, here’s how to do so:
Add Internships to Your Work Experience Section
Even an unpaid internship still counts as work since it’s in a professional environment, so internships should generally always be listed in your work experience section. You likely gained practical, real-world experience in your internship, so outline that in the bullet points below your internship details. If you’ve completed several internships that are relevant to your career goals, you can also create a separate resume section for your internships.
In either case, list your most relevant work experience and internships first, then list the others in reverse chronological order.
Information to Include
When listing your internship, include the formal title of your position, the company name, the location of the internship, and the dates you worked there. Then include a short description of the position in bullet points, just as you would for any other item in your work experience section.
Add Responsibilities, Achievements, and Accomplishments
In that description, briefly outline your responsibilities, achievements, and accomplishments for the internship. Use resume action words to bring your experience to life, and include quantified data to support your accomplishments whenever possible (e.g. you ‘placed an average of 100 outgoing calls each day to boost sales by 15%’).
Target your resume to each job that you apply for, including the information that you include about your internship - mirror keywords and phrases from the job description to show that you are qualified for the job.
Since internships are short-term and more of a learning experience, you may not be able to think of any massive achievements that you had over the course of your internship. However, you can still share what you learned and what business functions that you were exposed to, indicating your potential for future achievements.
Use a Consistent Format
Use the same format to present your internship information as you use for the rest of your work experience. If you create a separate resume section, be sure that it flows well with the rest of your resume. Use the same fonts, colors, and so forth. And, if you list more than one internship, use the same format for each entry.
Example of Listing an Internship on a Resume
Finally, here’s an example of how to list an internship on your resume:
UX Design Summer Intern
Google, Seattle, WA
- Collaborated with a team of 6 interns
- Defined the overall design and UX of the project to exceed specs
- Delivered the final product after 10 weeks of team effort
It can be helpful to list internships on your resume if you are still a student, you’ve recently graduated, you otherwise don’t have a lot of professional work experience, or you are making a career change. Include all the pertinent details including your title, the company you interned for, the dates, and your responsibilities and achievements.
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