A Guide to Listing Your Internships on a Resume

By Madison White on January 21, 2020

As a college student, you may be thinking about your jump into the workforce in the near future. While searching for jobs, creating the perfect resume, and projecting the right image can be daunting, there are a few key tips and tricks to make it easier. One common issue for college students entering the workforce is their lack of work experience. You may think that your resume looks bare and boring since you haven’t had the opportunity to work full-time in the career you’re pursuing. That’s okay! Most entry-level recruiters and hiring managers know this and are looking for potential and skill level rather than straight-up work experience. To show this potential, you’ll need to know how to properly showcase the internships you have done in the past. Keep reading to learn more.

Internships versus Job Experience

This article assumes that, as a college student, you won’t have any relevant job experience.  Of course, this may not be the case for every student, so if you do have actual work experience, then you will probably want to list those before listing internships depending on how relevant and recent they are. If not, then dive right into the internships.

Relevant and Recent

Choosing how you want to structure your resume is ultimately your choice. There isn’t one right or wrong way to do it. Here are two things to keep in mind: relevant and recent. You want the internship that appears first to either be the most recent or the most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Many people choose to list their experience in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent position they held. This is a great decision because it walks your future employer step by step through what your history working looks like. On the flip side, if you have done an internship that feeds directly into the position you’re applying for, then it may be a good idea to list that one first. A direct relationship like this will catch the recruiter’s eye and show them right away how fit you are for the role.

Information to Include

No hiring manager wants to read a novel about every task you did during your internship. They will be looking for the key information that tells them all they need to know about your time spent working. Here are the key points to include:

Name of the company and its location. This is fairly easy and can be structured like this: Fake Media Company, Chicago, IL. If your internship was remote, simply put the word “Remote” instead of a location.

When you worked there and for how long. Here, you can choose to put a range of dates or the season. For example. May 2017-July 2017, or more simply, Summer 2017. Be sure to include the year.

Position title. The position title is likely to just be “Intern” but you can spice that up a little bit. Try adding in exactly what you did like “Administrative Intern” or “Social Media Intern”. This gives recruiters a better sense of exactly what you did.

Tasks done at the internship. In this case, it is usually best to stick to the rule of threes which means to list three key things you did. Often, these will start with a verb and give some detail about what you accomplished while there. If you didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy, try writing about specific projects or skills you learned while there. Also, don’t be afraid of using adjectives. Instead of “helped with office tasks” try something more detailed like “coordinated multiple administrative tasks like servicing customers, answering queries, and updating paperwork.” If the job you’re applying for and the internships you’ve done aren’t really related, try making your tasks and skills learned more general and focused on soft skills rather than technical. You may want to mention the communication skills you’ve learned or leadership techniques rather than talking about software and programs you mastered that might not be relevant.

Another key point to mention while listing internships is to keep the format of information consistent. You should pick a template for listing the information and stick to it otherwise your resume may end up looking sloppy and unorganized.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you want your internship experiences to illustrate to your future employer why you have the skills and abilities to perform the job you’re applying for. Even if the internships you’ve done aren’t a perfect gateway into the career that you want, don’t think that they aren’t valuable. Doing internships shows to future employers that you are committed to your future job and have put at least some time into that career already. In the end, listing an internship on your resume will hardly ever detract from the image you are trying to project. Good luck and happy applying!

Madison graduated with her Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester (UK), and holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She currently teaches English at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer and blogger on her website Madison White Writes and elsewhere.

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