Does an Internship Count as Work Experience?
Updated March 15, 2023
During college, you may have completed an internship to learn more about your field of interest and gain experience. When you apply for jobs, it's important to detail all of your relevant experience, including your internship. Learning when and how to include internship experience on your resume ensures you accurately describe your qualifications to hiring managers. In this article, we describe when it's acceptable to add your internship experience and where to add it to your resume.
Do internships count as work experience?
Internships count as work experience on your resume, especially when you're applying for entry-level jobs following graduation. Your internship likely allowed you to develop skills that help you stand out from other entry-level candidates. Both paid and unpaid internships of varying lengths can count as experience. Adding internship experience to your resume shows that you take initiative to learn more and grow as a professional.
Related: Definitive Guide to Internships
How to list internship experience on your resume
Here are a few guidelines to follow when listing internships on your resume:
Begin with a strong objective statement.
List internships based on your career level.
Focus on responsibilities and achievements.
Quantify your value.
Use proper formatting.
Ask for feedback.
1. Begin with a strong objective statement
A resume objective is a short description of your career goals and what you hope to contribute to a company. Review the job listings before writing your objective statement to ensure you're including the key elements an employer wants to see. Once you've verified that you have the skills and strengths they're looking for, list the terms and phrases they mentioned in your objective. Keep your objective at one to three sentences so it's easy to read.
2. List internships based on your career level
Choosing where to place your internship on a resume depends on how much experience you have in your career. College students and professionals who have limited work experience should list their internships differently than those who have years of relevant experience in the industry. Follow these guidelines when referencing your internship:
College students and recent graduates: List internships at the top of the work experience section if you don't have any other relevant work history.
Professionals with some experience: Keep internships in reverse chronological order, meaning they should follow your most recent (and relevant) jobs.
Professionals with more than seven years of experience: If you have years of experience in your field, you likely don't need to include internship experience.
3. Focus on responsibilities and achievements
When describing your internship, it's important to pay attention to the details of your content. State your responsibilities and achievements in a way that appeals to the hiring manager. For example, if the company is looking for someone who has experience with marketing campaigns, describe your marketing responsibilities and how it benefited the company you interned with.
4. Quantify your value
Employers often look for numbers and percentages when reviewing your internship experience because it helps determine the level of success you can bring to their company. It also illustrates your ability to understand specific goals and quantify the metrics related to your work efforts. For example, one of your internship responsibilities could be, "Assisted project manager in organizing resources and schedules for six concurrent projects."
5. Use proper formatting
Follow standard formatting guidelines when creating a resume that highlights your internship experience. Here are some simple tips for creating an appealing resume:
Keep it simple. Make your resume easy to read by leaving white space in between sections and paragraphs.
Make it one page. Writing a one-page resume allows hiring managers to quickly scan your qualifications to find the information they need.
Include the most relevant information. Only list extracurricular activities, hobbies and interests if you feel they offer insight into your strengths and skills.
Follow standard resume guidelines. Keep margins at 1 inch, use a basic font type like Times New Roman or Arial, and make the font size between 10 and 12 depending on your preference.
6. Ask for feedback
Once you're finished, ask a trusted friend, professor, classmate or career center adviser to review your resume. Make any suggested changes to enhance the quality of your resume and increase your chances of getting hired.
Internship resume template
Follow this template when designing a resume that features an internship:
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
Internship resume example
When creating your resume, it often helps to have a reference for guidance. Here is a resume example that features internship experience:
1234 Applewood Lane
Cincinnati, OH 41073
Dedicated marketing professional with a passion for campaign strategy, content creation and technology seeking an entry-level role with TrendsNow to work with a team on building highly effective social media campaigns. Looking to gain experience in analytics through platform usage and collaborative projects.
Familiar with Google Analytics
Social media savvy
Proficient in campaign strategy
Ohio State University | Bachelor of Arts in Marketing
September 2015–May 2019
Honors Society member
Dean's List: 2016–2019
Impact Marketing and Design member
Marketing Assistant| January 2018–June 2018
Fastidious Fellows | Springville, MO
Created 10 marketing campaigns for various clients under the supervision of top executives
Implemented brand ambassador program that increased traffic to the company site by 12%
Developed contact lists for four account managers on the executive team
Created unique marketing campaigns for 12 clients who provided positive feedback and appreciation
Generated $1,500 in sales for the company within a 3-month time frame by running localized social media ads
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