An internship is a program that is offered by a company to potential employees. It can also be viewed as an opportunity that is presented by a employer to individuals who plan to work for their company. In most cases, an internship does not involve remuneration for services rendered by the intern.
However, many employers consider an internship as a form of work experience. It can help entry-level applicants such as fresh graduates compete for jobs that are available in the market. This is the reason why you should put your internship on a resume.
Why You Should Put An Internship On A Resume
In a competitive job market, you need every advantage you can get. Having an internship on your resume gives you a fighting chance versus applicants who have acquired work experience.
Make no mistake about it. Unless “No Work Experience Necessary” or “Entry Level Applicants Only” is stated on the job post, employers will always prefer to hire someone with work experience.
An internship will close the gap between you and more experienced applicants. At the very least, an internship may spell the difference between a paycheck and another day at the unemployment line.
Should you still put an internship on a resume if you already have work experience?
Although its value may not be as much compared to someone who has no experience, an internship will show the Hiring Manager your level of dedication, commitment, and focus to your career.
Who Should Put An Internship On A Resume?
As mentioned, an internship on a resume will greatly benefit job seekers who do not have work experience. Number one on this list is the fresh college graduate.
The Fresh Graduate
Many universities understand the competitiveness of the job market. Unless the student has an exemplary academic record, it would be difficult for them to vie for jobs when compared to the more experienced applicants.
Thus, a good number of universities have taken the initiative to develop internship programs for their students.
For example, a university may reach out to a company and propose an internship agreement for their students. If interested, the company can design an internship program that will meet their business needs as well as the requirements of the course curriculum.
Upon completion of the program, the company may exercise its option to hire some of the interns to fill out specific positions. In this case, the internship is a sustainable arrangement that provides a win-win solution for both the company and the university.
Whether you are eventually hired or not, include the internship experience on your resume. The best way to capitalize on the benefits of the internship program is to apply to companies in the same industry.
This is because the skills and experience you have gained will be relevant and easily transferable to the potential employer.
People Who Are Switching To A New Career
Are you planning to switch to a new career? It will give your job application a boost if you include an internship on your resume.
When a Hiring Manager reads a resume, the first question that comes to his/her mind is:
Unless you can establish relevancy between the requirements of the new job and the set of responsibilities from your previous employment, the details of your work experience will hardly matter.
For example, a person who is transitioning from a career selling pharmaceuticals to a position in private banking will have a hard time convincing the recruiter to consider his/her application unless proof of competency in some key aspects of banking work can be presented.
If the job seeker joined a summer internship program in a bank during his/her time in college, the experience should be included on the resume.
What if the candidate did not join an internship program while in college? Find one that is relevant to the position and sign up!
Don’t let age get in the way of your internship program. Just because you are eight to 10 years removed from college does not mean you cannot be an intern. On the side of the employer, the job market can be tight on talent.
If the company comes across a potential employee, he/she will be more than welcome to sign up for the internship program regardless of age. For a business, offering an internship program is a cost-effective way to recruit talent.
So if the company you are interested in working for offers an internship program, you should sign up and take part in it.
How To Put An Internship On A Resume
Recruitment officers go through hundreds of resumes every day. They will not have time to thoroughly review a resume. The most experienced ones have a system in place which keeps the qualifying process fast and efficient.
Studies have shown that on average, a recruiter only needs 6 seconds to qualify an applicant from his/her resume.
Therefore, before putting your internship on a resume, there are 3 things you have to consider:
- How to Describe Your Internship
- How to Present Your Internship
- Where to Place Your Internship
Review Your Internship Experience
As we discussed in the previous section, for your internship to become effective, you must establish its relevance to the job position you are applying for.
You must take the time to review your scope of work during the internship and identify the tasks that were similar or relevant to the job position you are applying for.
Consequently, you should review the details indicated on the job post. Find out what the required skills are and if you are confident enough in your ability to provide them according to the standards of the company.
For example, as a fresh college graduate, you want to apply for the position of Credit Analyst at a local bank. However, your internship program was at the quality control department of a manufacturing company.
First, take note of the required skills in the job post. Let’s assume the required skills are as follows:
- Knowledge of spreadsheet programs such as Excel and QuickBooks.
- Exemplary mathematical skills.
- Excellent analytical skills.
- Quick but firm decision-maker
- Dedicated and committed to accomplishing tasks.
Next, do an accounting of the skills you acquired, the training you received, and the experiences you gained during your internship in the manufacturing company. Identify and summarize the skills, responsibilities, and experiences that are transferable and useful for the job of a Credit Analyst:
- Knowing how to use MS Excel is almost always a sure thing. MS Excel is the most basic of all spreadsheet programs. You don’t have to be in banking to find great value in this software.
- Popular QA programs include tools such as Compliance Quest and The Lean Machine which function similar to spreadsheet programs.
- As a QA intern, you had to learn the various product standards of the company and ensure these were applied to all finished output. This requires thorough analysis and critical thinking.
- You should have an eye for detail and a high level of focus to screen products for quality control.
If your internship experience is not related to the job you are applying for, don’t throw in the towel. Take the time to evaluate your internship experience and find common points of reference that are relevant to the job position.
Use the Right Structure for Your Internship
Since many companies consider an internship like work experience, you should present it in the same manner on your resume.
- Create a special heading for the section such as “Internship Program”.
- Identify the name of the company you interned at.
- Use the same title or designation that the company gave you.
- Indicate the inclusive period of the internship.
- List down 5 to 8 duties or responsibilities that were assigned to you.
Again, these duties and responsibilities should be relevant to the job position you are applying for. In our previous example, the right structure for your internship details will be as follows:
Pinnacle Semiconductors Manufacturing Corporation
Intern – Quality Assurance Division
01 June 2018 to 31 December 2018
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Worked closely with the QA supervisor and officers in identifying and qualifying completed output of semiconductor units.
- Cross-referenced completed semiconductor units with specific product details outlined in the company’s standards and guidelines.
- Assessed and analyzed the quality of output in order to establish the equilibrium point of the current production schedule.
- Updated the company’s proprietary spreadsheet program.
- Prepared detailed reports using the Lean Machine software program for distribution and discussion with the operations and inventory management groups.
Apply Strategy on the Location of the Internship On Your Resume
The location of your internship details on your resume will depend on your situation.
If you are a fresh graduate, you should place the section on Internship before “Education”:
- Contact Information
- Objective Statement
- Internship Program
- Personal Information
If you are transitioning or changing careers, you should place the internship section right after “Work Experience”:
- Contact Information
- Objective Statement
- Work Experience
- Internship Program
- Personal Information
The idea is to make sure the details of your Internship is presented in a way that strengthens your claim to the job and helps the recruiter find the answer to the question:
“Why should we hire you?”
A resume isn’t just any ordinary document. It is your first point-of-contact with the employer. As the old saying goes, “First impressions last”. To get that all-important interview, your resume must make a good impression with the recruiter.
The challenge becomes greater if you have no work experience. For this reason, you must always put thought, strategy, and purpose behind your resume. Do not submit any run-of-the-mill resume to a company. You need to stand out from the rest of the competition.
Take the time to work on your internship experience. Done properly, it could put your foot inside the interview door.