For many recent graduates and college students, obtaining an internship is the first step toward stable future employment. The current job market in America is competitive at best, and discouraging at worst. This is especially true if you have little on-the-job experience.
For this reason, you should never hide an internship at the bottom of your resume. It’s important to highlight your experience, and explain how that experience prepared you for a full-time position.
On the other hand, while an internship is worth highlighting, you should be cautious. There are times when an internship can look tacky or irrelevant, depending on how and when you’ve placed it.
Here are four things you need to know about placing an internship on your clerical resume:
When You Should
You should only include an internship on your resume when that internship is relevant to the position you seek. This relevancy will allow you to highlight related skills and abilities, showing your potential employer how you can thrive and improve in the workplace.
Adding an internship that isn’t relevant could create the impression that you don’t have relevant work experience to offer, and are therefore grasping at straws to prove your worth. If you lack relevant internship experience, simply inform your potential employer that you are an entry-level candidate – and insist on your willingness and ability to learn.
When You Shouldn’t
Once you’ve developed a significant amount of work experience in your field, there’s no reason to include an internship on your resume. After you’ve worked two or three positions in your industry for a year or more, the time has come to focus on your professional employment history.
Relevant internships are impressive on the resumes of entry-level candidates or individuals who’ve recently changed careers. But there’s a certain line you’ll cross someday, beyond which the vast majority of introductory experiences are no longer necessary knowledge for potential employers.
There are exceptions to this rule. If you took part in a prestigious internship – such as those offered by NPR, Disney, or the United Nations – that experience should remain on your resume for the duration of your related career.
Placing Your Internship
Because an internship represents important work experience, it belongs under the “Work History” section of your resume, listed above or below the other positions you’ve held (these are usually shown in chronological order).
If you’ve had multiple internships, you might consider including a separate “Internship” section on your resume. This section should be placed toward the top, but should only be moved above the “Work History” section if your internships are striking relevant for the position you seek.
Describing Your Internship
Here, we’ve included a few tips for describing your internship:
- Include a real job title, because “Intern” isn’t going to cut it. For example, you might list your position as “Clerical Intern” or “Administrative Intern.”
- Include the company name, location, and dates of the internship. These dates should be listed by month and year.
- Include two to four bullet points below the heading. These points should outline your responsibilities and accomplishments throughout the internship.
Contact a Professional for Assistance