As you prepare to create or update your resume, you might feel conflicted about what you should or shouldn’t include. If you participated in an internship, you might wonder whether it’s appropriate to list it or, at a minimum, if that’s a wise decision.
Luckily, figuring out whether you should include your internships is relatively simple. You need to examine your situation and see whether it would benefit you to add it. If you don’t know where to begin, here are some questions you can ask yourself that can guide you in the right direction.
Is the Internship Relevant?
An internship is technically working experience. While you may or may not have been paid for taking part, you were working in a professional environment, using skills you acquired, and enhancing your capabilities along the way. It’s just like any other job in that regard and can be put in the “work history” section of a resume.
As a result, you need to look at your internship the same way you would any other professional experience and determine if it is relevant to the role you want to land. Was it in the same field? Did you acquire transferable skills that a hiring manager would value?
In either of those cases, including your internship on your resume can be the right choice. It lets you highlight valuable experience, so listing it can work in your favor.
Is the Internship Recent?
Another critical consideration is whether the internship was recent. If you are a new graduate or participated in an internship within the past few years in preparation for a career pivot, then you might not have other relevant experience in the field. If that’s the case, then you want to include your internship.
However, if you’ve had several other relevant jobs since you completed your internship, including it might not be necessary. The same situation applies to entry-level jobs once a person gets deep into their career. While the experience might relate to the target role, the details don’t provide the hiring manager with value.
Is Your Resume Short Without It?
There are instances where even an internship from years past might be an excellent addition to a resume. If you’ve only worked for one or two companies since finishing your internship, and your resume seems a bit short as a result, you might want to include it. Otherwise, even if you have a decade or more for experience, your resume may look sparse.
Typically, hiring managers only skim a resume initially. If they seem an ample amount of whitespace at the bottom, they may assume that you don’t have the experience they need or that you are earlier in your career, than you might be. In this case, adding your internship makes your resume look more comprehensive at a glance, increasing the odds the hiring manager will take a closer look.
Ultimately, whether you choose to list an internship on a resume is a personal choice. Consider the questions above and decide whether including it works in your favor. If so, then add it to your “work history section,” just as you would with any other job.