Should I Include Internship Experiences on My Resume?
Writing a job-winning resume can be a whole lot of work. As times and seasons pass, the way things are operated also changes with it. The resume format 10 years ago is a lot different from the acceptable format today. Candidates looking for new job opportunities should always be updated on new information.
The resume you used for nailing your first job should not be the one you submit for this current job role you are applying for. There is a need to regularly update your resume. With the change in trend comes a lot of questions. What should I include on my resume? What is the acceptable format of a resume? How best should I describe myself? How do I write an outstanding resume? What are the pros and cons of resume writing? You may also happen to ask about the importance of an internship on a resume. Questions like should I include my internship experience on my resume? Which section of the resume should it be? Should I create a different section for the internship? How much detail should be included under the internship section?
An internship is a professional learning experience that offers a meaningful practical work-related experience that is related to a student’s field of study or career field. It gives the student room for career exploration and development. It is also a place to develop new soft and hard skills. Most importantly it gives the student an insight into the real working environment. This way the students can decide whether that career part is truly what they want. Students usually complete the internship program during their undergraduate or graduate programs. The importance of an internship to a student cannot be undermined. Internships can be a means of diversifying a student’s professional network. They can establish a mentor in the career world during an internship program. Internships sections on a resume are usually helpful for entry-level candidates or recent graduates that do not have sufficient work experience to include on their resume. This is not to say that internships are not important to experienced employees, but this group has lots of relevant work experience they have to consider putting on their resume before including the internship. This is because the standard acceptable resume should be just one page for an entry-level job and 2 to 3 for an experienced employee.
When should a candidate include an internship section in a resume?
To decide whether an internship section is necessary on your resume, ask yourself the following questions?
Is the internship program recent?
A good time to include an internship program for an experienced candidate is when he participates in an internship program to gain or improve his knowledge of certain skills. It could be that you have been in a particular Career part but want to swap to a different career field. With changes in trends, internships are not carried out compulsorily within the four walls of a company. It can even be conducted online depending on the kind of industry. With the change in the operation of the workforce due to COVID 19, most companies operate online. For students, recent graduates, and entry-level candidates, there is always a need to lean on your internship experiences when applying for a job. Even if you are applying for an internship, a previous internship will give you an edge over other candidates. Additionally, candidates that are applying for undergraduate and master’s programs will need to provide proof of internships to stay above other applicants.
What other work experiences do you have?
As you start climbing the professional ladder, you will have more post-internship professional experiences. When you update your resume, you will notice that those work experiences will begin filling up your resume leaving less room for internships. But just having 10 years of experience does not mean that you will not have room to include your internship. For instance, you might have spent the whole 10 years in one company. This way you will have much space left to include your internship position. But if you have worked in 4 different companies within 10 years, then you might not have enough space to include the four previous work experiences with your internships too. Also, bear in mind that you will not only list the job title and name of the previous company. For every experience you include on your resume, you have to include an extensive explanation of the task you carried out in each company. This is what takes up space on your resume. You have to consider all of these before including your internship programs.
Is the internship relevant to your next step?
Every work experience you include on your resume should always be tailored to the role, company, and industry you are applying to. The same goes for your internship. If you have 3 different work experiences but the role you are applying for is related to one of the internships programs you participated in, consider including it in your resume before some of your work experiences that are not related to the job role. Due to the voluminous number of resumes that companies receive, several companies have started using the applicant tracking system to screen candidates. Applicant tracking systems are always looking out for some action words that are related to the job role you are applying to. If the applicant tracking system does not detect those action words your resume might be discarded. If an internship experience is going to put you in a better position, then make sure you include it on your resume.
Is the organization very prestigious?
There are some companies of a very high standard, that their name alone can clear the path for you. Even if that particular internship was carried out a while back, it is still worth mentioning in your resume. Even if you do not want to detail your functions during the internship period, you can just include the name of the organization, the job role, and when you carried out the internship program. For instance, if you had the opportunity to land an internship opportunity with Google, the presidential house, the world bank, or united nations, even after 5 to 10 years, the appearance of that internship on your resume can be a lot of help.
There are some instances that it is advisable to neglect an internship program even if you have a positive answer for all the questions above. One of those rare instances include:
1) If something went wrong during your internship
Do not lead yourself into temptation. You can choose to leave out an internship opportunity from your resume if it will do you more harm than good. For instance, you committed an offense that led to your dismissal. Many hiring managers contact previous employers of prospective candidates to get information about their personality, skills, and expertise. Better to let sleeping dogs lie than put yourself into trouble.
How to put internship experience to your resume
If you have checked out all the pros and cons related to the presence of internship programs on a resume and decided that it is a good option for you, the following guide will give you an insight on how to write the internship section of your resume.
Add your internship to your work experience section
There is always a conflict of interest on where to add internship experience. Some might suggest that the internship experience should be under the education section since it was gained as part of the school process. But this is a big fallacy, even if internships are usually part of the undergraduate and graduate school process, it is still in a professional sphere. Therefore, it should not be included in the education section. Your internship and work experience can be written together in chronological order with the most recent experience topping the list.
Create a separate section for internship
Instead of adding your internship to the education section, you can create a different section for it. It will give you more room to highlight your key responsibilities and achievements. The education section usually contains just the name of the school, date attended, grade, and award. It does not leave room to talk about job roles. Remember, sometimes you might use a table with rows and columns that will bear specific heading. You do not want to write a heading and have a different body of idea under it.
List your responsibility and achievements
When writing the internship section, ensure you include the following details: Name of company, job title held, duration of the internship, location of the company you worked in. Also, list the responsibilities you held during the internship program. For an entry-level candidate with not much work experience, you can choose to include all your internship programs, especially if you are applying for a management or graduate trainee program. But if you are experienced personnel, with lots of other full-time work experience to include on your resume, then consider including only internships that are relevant to the job role you are applying to. You can list your responsibilities using short bullet points that are clear, specific, and straight to the point. Also, you can include the key achievements that will make you stand out. When talking about your accomplishment always use quantifiable terms to describe your winnings. For instance, you can use percentages or other statistical terms to quantify what you achieved. For example, I was able to visit a total of 20 schools, with over 500 students and I was able to reconcile so many adolescents to their career objectives.