A resume with internship experience can help boost your qualifications and demonstrate your commitment to your chosen field. But once you have a few years of relevant work experience under your belt, those summer internships are less important– and might even distract from your current professional achievements.
Deciding when and how to include internship experience on your resume can be tricky. These are a few rules of thumb our recruiters follow.
When to keep internships on the resume
Do any of the following apply?
- You have limited professional work history (2 years or less).
- You’re pivoting careers and past work experience is not as relevant to your new path, but a former internship is applicable.
- You completed a prestigious, highly competitive internship, like a White House internship.
If you answer “yes” to any of the above, keep the internship on your resume but carefully consider where you include it and how you showcase your skills in action.
Where to put internships on your resume
For prestigious internships, simply referencing the organization may be enough. Rather than dedicating precious space to detailing duties you performed five years ago, consider listing the resume under “Additional Experience.” You’ll benefit from the branding boost without distracting from your current professional accomplishments.
Additional Experience: White House Internship Summer 2013
If you have limited work experience or you’re pivoting careers, include your internship under your resume’s main “Professional Experience” section.
What to include
When including an internship, hone in on the responsibilities and skills that are most relevant to your current field and demonstrate initiative and leadership potential. Sure, spending five hours a day researching industry trends may have felt mind numbing during your internship, but now you’re a research machine who can quickly synthesize information and identify overlooked opportunities. Does your resume reflect this?
Don’t simply list tasks; showcase your skills with strong action verbs.
- You were a research machine. Try: Audited, analyzed, forecasted, identified, and tracked.
- You wrote or communicated. Try: Authored, composed, documented, drafted, edited, and promoted.
- You managed a project or oversaw volunteers. Try: Coordinated, executed, organized, designed, developed, and spearheaded.
- You improved a process or increased efficiency. Try: accelerated, achieved, advanced, centralized, enhanced, streamlined, reorganized, and updated.
Finally, quantify your accomplishments. “Wrote social media posts” doesn’t tell someone very much about the volume and frequency of your work or the end result. Instead, try “Drafted six daily social media updates to engage prospects on Twitter and LinkedIn, increasing click-through rates by 37% and boosting trial sign-ups by 45%.”
For more resume tips, be sure to check out the following blog: