During the early stages of your career path, prospective employers are often reluctant to give you a chance to prove yourself. In the case of candidates with a minimal or no work history, this is especially accurate. You must be able to immediately impact an employer’s bottom line to succeed today.
In this way, they can determine how you perform in similar circumstances. How about when you’re looking for a job for the first time? Can you get a job if you have only internship experience? Is unpaid internship experience counted as work experience? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions about internships and work experience.
On a Resume, Does Internship Experience Count?
Yes, it does. Generally speaking, internship experiences are an asset that you should include on your resume. When creating your first resume after college graduation, you should pay particular attention to this. There is no difference between a paid internship and an unpaid internship or a paid internship for college credit. Your college internship provided you with valuable work experience. You gained skills and exposure to the industry during the internship.
Nevertheless, when it comes to calculating your internship experience and how it is incorporated into your resume, there are many factors to consider.
Internships: When Should You Include Them and When Should You Exclude Them
When including your internship work experience, there are a few simple rules to follow. If your internship situation and experience match any of the following, please include them.
- The first job you’ve applied for is in your field of choice. You can only include internship work experience on your resume if it applies to the job. Adding that is better than adding none at all.
- Work experience you gained during your internship directly relates to the job you want to apply for. Your qualifications will be enhanced by the experience if that’s the case.
- Having internship experience isn’t directly relevant, but your internship contributed to your career goals. This is one way you may be able to demonstrate your value to an employer.
However, suppose you have no relevant real-world work experience besides an internship. In that case, you may want to omit that work experience. Ultimately, it boils down to this: internship work experience will make your entry-level resume stand out!
Calculating Internship Experience for Work Experience
The first thing to consider is the amount of time you spent as an intern with the company. What was your employment status? Part-time or full-time? In the case of a part-time internship, what was your normal work week schedule?
A full-time finance internship over three summers can not be added up as three full years of experience. The majority of your work time is spent during three months of the year, every year, roughly one quarter of the year.
Therefore, even though your internships were valuable, you gained less work experience than working for a full 12 months straight. This does not mean that you shouldn’t include your experience on your resume. Simply be realistic when estimating your relevant experience and assessing your qualification for a specific job position.
How to List Internship Experience on Your Resume
Here are a few guidelines to follow when listing internships on your resume.
Clearly Define Your Objectives at the Outset
An objective on your resume describes what you hope to accomplish in your career and what you can offer a company. First, review the job posting to include all the key elements an employer wants to see in your objective statement. After verifying you possess the abilities and strengths they seek, make a note of the specific words and phrases they used in their objectives. Make your objective easy to read by keeping it between one and three sentences.
Get Paid for What You Do
The unpaid internship is a thing of the past. It is now common knowledge that interns are valuable, so it is only fair to compensate them. Make sure the internships you choose offer payment. You can then devote your energy to your main job instead of doing part-time work that isn’t advancing your career.
Internships also reduce the likelihood of unemployed students by 15% after graduation and increase their starting salaries by 6%.
Internships On Your Resume
Your internship should be placed on your resume based on your level of experience. For those with limited work experience, such as college students and professionals, internships should be listed differently from those with more relevant work experience. Reference your internship using these guidelines.
- Recent graduates and college students: When you do not have any other relevant work experience, list internships at the top.
- Experienced professionals: Use a reverse chronological list starting with the position you held most recently if relevant to the job. Then, list the internship further down.
- Over seven years in the field: You might not need to include internship experience if you have years of experience in the field.
Prioritize Responsibilities and Accomplishments
You should pay careful attention to the details when you describe your internship. Provide the hiring manager with a description of your responsibilities and accomplishments that are relevant. For example, if the company needs someone with marketing experience, describe the marketing duties you performed during your internship and how they benefitted the business.
Make Your Value Quantifiable
A potential employer often looks at your internship experience in terms of numbers and percentages to determine how successful you can be. Also, it shows your understanding of specific goals and quantifies the results of your work.
Ensure your resume follows consistent formatting guidelines that emphasize your experience as an intern. To create an appealing resume, follow these simple tips:
- Don’t complicate things. Leave white space between sections and paragraphs on your resume to make it easy to read.
- One page is enough. You can quickly scan a one-page resume to find the information that hiring managers require.
- Ensure that all relevant information is included. For example, extracurricular hobbies and interests should only be listed if they demonstrate your talents and skills.
- Ensure that your resume follows standard guidelines. The margin should be one inch, the font should be Arial, and you should choose a font size of either 10 or 12, according to your preference.
- A part of formatting is re-reading. Read it several times over and see what stands out and what doesn’t. Should something be added or taken away? Does it sound like how you would describe your career journey?
Feedback Is Always Welcome
Your resume should be reviewed by an adviser at the career center or a trusted friend or professor once you have completed it. Then, you can make any changes to your resume to improve its quality and make it more appealing to employers.
When you don’t have any relevant work experience, landing your first major job can be difficult. Therefore, many workers today seek internships before entering the job industry. You can add great value to your resume with internship work experience. Knowing what to include on your resume and what to avoid can improve your chances of landing that dream job.