This question is a common one among prospective job applicants. At first glance, the answer might seem straightforward enough since internships are a great way to gain new skills and knowledge as you prepare for your chosen career.
However, some might argue that an internship can’t replace real-world experience and years of learning how things operate professionally.
To determine whether or not internships count as work experience, we asked career experts to share their insights.
Associate Director for Employer Relations, University of North Carolina Asheville
Internships are a better way to test drive a job without fully committing
Yes, internships count as work experience. What better way to test drive a job without fully committing? Here are seven reasons why you should consider an internship while you’re in college:
Completed internships offer a lot of useful experience
Most internships have moved away from the “copies and coffee” model that was popular in the era of Mad Men. Now, employers look for interns they can teach the skills needed to be successful in the field.
Most require interns to complete projects, and sometimes interns help employers scale their operations. Completed internships offer a lot of useful experience that you can add to your resume, talk about in interviews, and build from in your career.
Internships are like a four-month interview for both the intern and the organization. Employers often turn to their intern pool whenever they’re looking to fill positions because they already know the person’s work ethic, the level of work they can produce, and their commitment to the organization.
Many interns are hired before they graduate, and some are hired before they even finish their internship.
Build your network
Internships are a great way to get to know folks across a wide variety of functional areas within an organization.
Take advantage of your status as an intern to ask for informational interviews with people in other areas so you can learn about what they do and how they got into the roles they’re in.
Make mistakes without the pressure
Internships offer you the opportunity to learn on the job and make mistakes without the pressure of it being your full-time job.
Organizations expect interns to make mistakes and learn from them. This growth makes it easy for your supervisor to be a reference for you in the future, too, because they can speak to how you received feedback.
Make money in your field
Unpaid internships are so 20th century. Most organizations now understand that interns have value, and they should be paid. Look for internships that offer compensation, so you can focus more intentionally on your work rather than on the part-time job you have that isn’t contributing to your long-term goals.
Also, on average, students who complete an internship are 15% less likely to be unemployed after graduation and have a starting salary that’s 6% higher than those who don’t.
Build professional skills
Does the field you’re going into value professional dress? Are they sticklers for being on time for work? Do they expect cover pages on all their TPS reports? You can find out all these things by working an internship!
Be more confident on your first day of work in your professional job by getting some experience as an intern first!
Earn class credit
Most of the time, your major will offer class credit for completing an internship. Speak with your advisor to find out how your internship course might work toward helping you finish your degree.
Director of Experiential Education, New York Institute of Technology
Internships, part-time jobs, and even volunteer work set a professional foundation
Do internships count as work experience? Yes! Professional work experience in all its forms is valued by employers. Internships, part-time jobs, and even volunteer work set a professional foundation.
These experiences set candidates apart because they learn behaviors such as:
- Adhering to professional standards
- Answering phones and emails
- Incorporating critical feedback into their work
- Responding to priority requests while meeting regular deadlines
Employers can also count on candidates who have interned, worked on campus, or volunteered to have skills that are hard to train but sought after by employers, namely:
- Working positively and collaboratively with colleagues and clients.
- Understanding what it means to have colleagues depending on your presence and professional contributions while balancing personal responsibilities.
- Working and communicating between generations and cultures and differences.
- With this professional foundation set, employers can focus on specific training required for their company.
Employers can expect even more from interns who have worked during the pandemic. Interns have learned how to balance work while at home, communicate with remote colleagues, and build networks even while missing the informal face-to-face interactions that would happen in an office environment.
Adjunct Professor of Communication, University of Tampa
I know from years of experience that employers look at internships as job experience
As a former public relations professional with an additional stint as a headhunter (recruiter) now teaching future public relations professionals, my mantra is and has always been:
“One internship is required for your degree. Two internships, I’ll remember your name. Three internships, I’ll speak to you in the hallway. Four internships, I’ll buy you lunch. Five internships, I’ll introduce you to your new boss.”
I know from years of experience, and from talking with other hiring managers, that employers look at internships as job experience. With the proper coaching from the faculty advisor, the student will be able to add new and higher-level experiences with each internship. It’s a win-win for both sides.
The value of internships as legitimate work experience has grown significantly
The answer seems self-evident, but after some thought, it depends. In the past, many employers offered internships simply because interns were cheap (and often free) labor.
Their internship consisted of doing “grunt” work and learning what it was like to work. Unfortunately, on-the-job training to build a transferable or life skill was more hype than reality. So employers took a cautious approach to count an internship toward work experience.
But standing in the job seekers’ shoes, they most certainly added internships to their resumes.
In this tight labor market, employers have begun to shift and treat internships more like apprenticeships. In many respects, an internship offers job training for the intern and vetting of a potential new hire by the employer.
As internships have evolved from summer jobs to build a resume to entry-level paid positions, the value of internships as legitimate work experience has grown significantly.
Executive Coach | Organizational Development and Leadership Specialist
An intern who has been well-integrated can update their resume with the skills acquired
I assigned summer recruits to active projects, along with team members. The intention is that the intern understands team dynamics, collaboration and can learn skills while contributing to the team’s achievements in a real way.
This is a sharp contrast to my experience as a summer intern. Back then, I was placed in a filing room with another intern; our job was to open and sort piles of returned mail. When that task was completed, it was on to filing that was long overdue.
It was horrible—we had little and limited interactions with the staff members.
Contrast this to my nephew’s current summer internship at a Canadian company, he is attending meetings and collaborating with his peers on projects. He feels seen, heard, and is learning new skills as well as technical details of his chosen profession.
It’s an absolute disservice to the interns and the organization when companies do not attempt to integrate them into the company’s normal operations. The intern leaves without any enthusiasm for a job, without any new skills, and a whole lot of frustration. The company, in turn, has not received any return on the investment.
The intern who has been integrated into the organization’s operations can truthfully update their resume with:
- The skills acquired
- Their contributions to the team
- What they learned during their tenure
The intern like me will have to fudge and mention working in a team environment or completing assigned tasks.
The internship is a training ground. The hiring managers need to have a plan of action for the interns and decide what the intern will achieve during the period.
Interns can be rotated to various departments or assigned to one department or project team. The onus is on the organization to ensure that the intern walks away with some new skill or experience that can be used on their resume.
HR Generalist | Author | Owner, Help and Wellness
Only one type of internship matters on a resume to a prospective employer or hiring manager
Given my experience working in HR, only one type of internship matters on a resume to a prospective employer/hiring manager.
There are two main types of internships, but only one will be relevant and may be included on your resume. These are educational practicums (practical internships) and academic internships. Despite the fact that both types of internships have the same objective, it is helpful to understand the differences and what employers and hiring managers look for.
Both internships have the same goal: to allow students to put their academic skills and expertise into practice.
While they have the same goal in mind, their purpose and focus are different. The reality is that most companies do not consider all internships as work experience. The reason would depend on the type of internship.
When to omit your internship on your resume: Academic internship
An academic internship is a credit-bearing work experience that is connected to a career. In a nutshell, it’s the same as attending a lecture and learning conceptually vs. putting your abilities into practice.
You may be expected to undertake practical work in some circumstances, which is generally done at non-profit organizations or government agencies. In this case, the student receives academic credit or points for their efforts.
When to include your internship on your resume: Practical Internship
A practical internship is similar to a job in that it allows students to apply what they’ve learned in school to a real-world situation. This is when you learn new skills and develop said skills during the internship.
Hiring managers take into account the skills and knowledge you obtained during your internship. Most recruiters will want to know what you did and what you learned in that job.
How to include your practical internship on your resume
Focus on the tasks you’ve taken on. Specify how you developed and improved your skills.
Do not include your internship in your resume’s job experience or education sections. Instead, make a distinct section that highlights your responsibilities and talents. Remember to include the name of the company and the duration of your internship.
The bottom line is to understand when your internship should be included in your resume. This is especially useful for recent grads who have no prior work experience. Understanding what prospective employers are looking for in an internship makes it worthwhile to include it on your resume.
Ron Auerbach, MBA
Human Resources Expert | Author, “Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success”
Whatever work they have you doing, it is all considered work experience
Many students, graduates, and other job seekers will mistakenly believe that internships and externships don’t count as work experience, especially if we’re talking about unpaid ones!
But in reality, they are both considered work experience. So as an intern or extern, paid or unpaid, you are still an employee working for the company.
Whatever work they have you doing, it is all considered work experience. Thus, you can list internships and externships along with your other jobs if you have any. Or you can choose to separate them out to draw more attention to your doing internships/externships vs. other jobs.
But regardless of how you choose to list them, employers and recruiters will consider internships and externships as work experience. And on human resources end, you will be considered as an employee working for the company as an intern or extern.
So you are one of the many classes or categories of workers that companies will hire and use. FYI, even volunteering is considered work experience. So when you work in any capacity for an employer, you can list it as work experience on your resumes or CVs.
HR Business Partner, Zety
Internships do, in fact, count as years of experience on a resume
While it’s true that most internship programs task young adults with menial work, they still give them a fantastic opportunity to pick up hard and soft skills, get exposure to the industry, and generally turbocharge interns’ resumes with tangible work experience.
So, if you’ve recently graduated from college and looking to write your first entry-level resume, make sure to list your internship(s) in the work experience section, regardless of whether it was paid, unpaid, or for college credits.
Here’s how to do it for maximum impact:
- Don’t refer to yourself as an intern. Instead, use your job title. For example, Content Marketing Intern.
- Mention the company name.
- Specify the dates of your internship.
- Add up to 5 duties in bullet points relevant for the position you’re seeking.
- Highlight your achievements and quantify whatever you can, as numbers prove your real-life impact.
Chairman & CEO, The Energists
Internships count in a job seeker’s favor on a resume
Where to put internships on a resume
The other items on your resume will be the biggest factor in how you list an internship. For some recent graduates, it’s their only relevant work experience (and may even be their only work experience, period).
In this case, the internship should be the first item under the “Experience” section of your resume, even if it was unpaid or for college credit—work is work, regardless of how you were compensated for it.
For those who have relevant work experience, you have more flexibility in where and how you list the internship.
It can still be prominent in the “Experience” section, and that’s often the best place for it when you’re early in your career. Alternatively, you can shift it into the “Education” section if that’s a bit slim—say if you went to a trade school or community college and don’t hold a bachelor’s.
How long you keep the internship on your resume will ultimately come down to the prestige level of the institution and where it falls value-wise relative to other experiences.
Including internships in “Years of Experience”
This can get a bit more complicated. If you had an internship for 3 consecutive summers, it’s a bit of a stretch to say you have “3 years of experience”. The same thing goes if the internship was for the length of a college quarter or semester.
There’s no hard and fast formula for this, but a good rule of thumb is to count the number of total months of internship when you’re adding up your experience, then round to the closest year once it’s added to your other professional experience.
Super Julie Braun
Founder & CEO, Super Purposes
A million times yes
Internships are no longer relegated to “go fetch me a coffee” or “I need my file cabinet cleaned.” Internships can be very high-level, challenging, and often advanced projects.
For example, if someone lands a Communications Internship, they could potentially work on:
- Writing, editing, submitting and managing the distribution of press releases
- Pitching a guest for podcasts.
- Pitching to have company leaders featured in articles for small, medium, and large digital publications.
- Submitting for awards.
- Communicate from digital media to the social media team.
- Create media kits, developing relationships with media and booking agents.
The list is really endless, and if the Communications Intern does this work and gets significant experience and bragging rights, it only behooves them to position that experience on their LinkedIn profile and resume.
In the end, does it really matter that they were an intern or does it matter that they did the job?
Want to give a gift to all of your interns? Never call them an “intern” but rather “teammate” and give them an amazing title so they can leverage their skills and experience for their highest potential.
If they understand what you are giving them, they will be forever grateful for the opportunity to turn their “internship” into a job.
Internships can count as work experience depending on a few key factors
For starters, what was the duration of the program? Naturally, you’re bound to learn more the longer you are there. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that an internship can last anywhere from a few weeks up to a year.
Secondly, what was the extent of your exposure to the day-to-day task and responsibilities? Were you just a glorified “donuts and photocopies” assistant, or were you actually part of the team and tangibly contributed to legitimate projects and assignments?
It’s no secret that some organizations put in the structure and resources to make the internship programs valuable for all parties involved. In these cases, the employee can truly learn a lot, develop invaluable skills and gain hands-on experience on par with full-time employees.
So once again, internships can but do not necessarily have to be counted as work experience. It all depends on how much the candidate learned from the program and how well versed they’ve become in the expertise an organization currently needs.
Whether paid or unpaid—you should be listing your internships on your resume
Yes, internships do count as work experience, and they make someone’s resume much more enticing, especially in certain fields.
When you’re hiring for entry-level positions, you’re looking for someone that can actually do the work, not just someone you can train. To me, as a professional, it also shows initiative and that someone invested time into the field they’re pursuing.
That’s precisely why you see a lot of entry-level job listings requesting people with experience. Most of the time, the employer is not necessarily looking for someone ultra experienced in the field. They just want to see that you know what you’re doing, and you’ll settle nicely into the role.
Before landing some of my biggest roles—as a CTO, for example—I worked with several early-stage startups over the years. It’s the same idea where listing that experience has helped elevate my resume.
Whether paid or unpaid, you should be listing your internships on your resume.
Founder & CEO, Lawmatics
Internships are professional experiences that need to be included in a person’s resume
Yes! To be honest, I find it problematic for some companies not to consider internships as work experience. Internships are professional experiences that need to be included in a person’s resume.
After all, experience is experience, whether it may be paid or not.
When I was still starting out in my career as a lawyer, I signed up for internships so as to get a taste of what it would be really like working in the legal field. Back in the day, interns weren’t paid, but I must say that the experience that I gained was worth the time and unpaid effort that I put into it.
I was exposed to relevant legal cases, which introduced me to ever-changing legal trends and regulations. I had the opportunity of a lifetime to sit in court trials and help our firm in assisting clients through legal proceedings.
When I finally exited the internship phase of my career, I didn’t feel like some half-baked internship. Instead, I felt like I was really working as an attorney at a law firm even though I was still waiting to pass the bar back then.
So, yes, internships really do count as work experience.
Founder, Emagineer — Home of WellBefore
Internship programs help college students gain entry-level work experience
While interns are learning about the practicalities of their chosen field of study, the internship program itself is an excellent way to provide leadership training for our employees. These programs also enable us to retain high potential talent, foster diversity and secure the future of our business.
Helping team members improve their performance is the responsibility of every manager.
It not only enables the company to achieve its goals but also strengthens the company culture. By having our staff members mentor and train our interns, we’re fostering the leadership skills our team needs to advance in their careers as they guide, train, and encourage interns in the job place.
Related: 24 Best Leadership Books of All Time
This makes our employees feel trusted and cared for. Thus, their job satisfaction increases, as does our employee retention rate.
At the same time, our team members successfully help college students gain entry-level work experience. And in turn, these young minds bring a fresh perspective that can inspire new ideas for the team. Ideas that spark innovation and lead to financial gain.
Additionally, internship programs typically attract the best and the brightest talent, providing an opportunity to identify highly talented young workers you may want to recruit in the future.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demographic makeup of millennials makes them the most diverse generation in American history. Therefore, establishing an internship program enables leaders to foster inclusion and diversity to build more dynamic teams.
The supervisorial roles employees adopt also helps management see who is ready to take on greater responsibilities and allows business owners to pinpoint candidates for their succession planning strategy. While it may seem evident that the “next in line” would be the one to take the reigns, their career goals may not align with the goals of the company.
So it’s essential to consider those promising employees who thrive in supervisory roles regardless of their current titles.
Over the years, our internship program has become a mutually beneficial relationship. As we foster the career development of the next generation of professionals, they enhance our employee engagement. Our workers feel greater satisfaction in their jobs, which helps us retain our employees longer. This reciprocity helps us to ensure the future of our business.
Entrepreneur and Business Owner | Life, Style, and Travel Blogger
When I hire permanent members of my team, I hire those who went through an internship program
For my businesses, I often hire interns to help them learn more about the workplace and its systems and processes. This benefits me as well because I know that they are teeming with new and fresh ideas that can help me and my team think of new concepts that can actually sell. It is always great to add fresh minds into the team to disrupt the already established thinking methods at the workplace.
I strongly believe that internships count as work experience. There are things and skills that can’t be learned from the classroom. A student may be extremely excellent in school and is book-smart, but there are some skills that books can’t teach.
Below are some of the reasons why I think internships are valuable avenues of learning for students looking to explore the actual workplace:
Some valuable interpersonal skills are learned through the workplace
Working with other students their age in school is different from working with other people of different ages, educational backgrounds, and personalities, so it is important for them to know how to correlate and approach them properly so they can work more harmoniously.
By going through an internship program, students will be able to experience working with other people and get a feel of how people interact in the workplace, preparing them for what’s to come when they apply for permanent jobs after graduation.
Applying what is learned in the classroom is easier said than done
A student may know the concepts behind the task assigned to him but lack the experience in applying them. This includes having a hard time doing a given task because the student can’t choose which of the multitude of concepts learned from school should be applied for a particular project.
By going through an internship program, the student can be guided by industry experts working for the company for many years and get insight into how things are usually done.
They will be able to see different work styles through observation supplemented by their own research and look for which one suits them best. They can also find out how to properly approach the tasks by observing which of the methods done by their colleagues are the most effective and efficient.
When I hire permanent members of my team, I hire those who went through an internship program because I know that they already have experience working in a real business setting and the chances of them being culture-shocked in the workplace is less.
Head of People, PhotoAiD
When an internship is over, we provide our interns with referrals and endorsements or hire them
There is the misconception that an internship is not a real job experience:
- “You are just doing a training period for a short amount of time.”
- “During an internship, the employers only exploit you: they assign only tasks that no one wants to deliver without even paying you.”
- “During an internship, you don’t work. They just sign you a paper.”
These are some arguments of common thought, but I disagree with this point of view.
What do you intend as a work experience?
I can’t deny the sad reality of fresh graduates looking for an internship just to have something to write on their CVs. But I am against this phenomenon.
An internship can turn out to be their very first work experience, experiencing the difference between university life and job routine. They will be included in a team, learning how to cope with colleagues for the sake of their project. They will experience what it means to follow the same mission and values as part of a company, not just from books but in real life.
It will be more challenging to be accepted as an intern in a big company, but you’ll have the privilege to experience an established reality from the inside. Startups can easily get you since they lack human assets, and they likely assign you more tasks and responsibilities from the first day.
Internship as a work experience: Employee guide
During an internship, everyone should test themselves: interns can practice their studies, experiencing a corporate culture for the first time. To make the most of any internship experience, my tips are:
- Be propositive: if the company offers you new projects, apply for them. The more you do and the more you’ll learn.
- Choose a reasonable period: 2 months is the minimum legal amount of time but is often not enough for learning a job. My suggestion is to work as an intern for four months or, even better, six months: you’ll receive a more in-depth experience.
- Don’t be afraid to ask: you will appear more committed to the project and eager to deliver better results, asking for clarifications.
Internship as a serious work experience:
We hire many interns through the Erasmus program, and we treat them exactly as our employees. They receive tasks that also involve some responsibilities: they are indeed at their first work experience, but we chose them because they have specific skills that come very in handy.
They need to be trained to deliver high-level performances, but since we assign them only tasks that match their abilities, they can actively contribute to our project even after the first week.
When their internship is over, we provide our interns with referrals and endorsements or hire them. We already know them and trained them according to our needs and corporate culture. We would only lose a good resource, not hiring anyone if they were doing a great job.
Founder & Editor, Realiaproject
Internships count as work experience and give you a competitive edge over others
As an entrepreneur, I often welcome interns to help bring a new flavor to my publication. Thus, being on both sides of the table, I can definitely say one thing – internships do count as work experience.
You’ve worked for that company, completed the given tasks, given your input, and aligned your loyalty with that company. Whether it was paid or unpaid is of no significance. You can’t really put an amount on the experience you gained while working that internship.
As human beings, we are shaped by our experiences. Your future employers would like to know how you’ve performed in the past and what value did you add to the company you worked for.
So, internships do count as work experience and should be included in your resume.
Apart from the experience, internships give you a competitive edge over others. In today’s competitive world, passing exams and scoring ranks without work experience isn’t gonna get you a job.
Internships also help you develop work ethics and make you a team player. No matter how good you are, you can never work alone, which is why it’s important to learn team culture. Internships give you a chance to apply your theoretical knowledge practically and help you learn and grow.
You might discover what you are skilled at and what your weaknesses are and accordingly work upon them. It may be challenging, but the benefits far outweigh the discomfort of being pushed out of your comfort zone.
Internships count as professional work experience and one should always add it to their resume
Yes, an internship definitely counts as professional work experience, and one should always add it to their resume. Especially if you’re starting with your career or have an entry-level resume, you should definitely add it, and it will make a difference.
No matter whether your internship was paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, experience is experience. Some experience is always better than no experience, and an internship is a great way to start your career.
Suppose someone had recently graduated from college and started their first entry-level job. In that case, they should always add their internship experience on top of the work experience section in their resume.
Recruiters would absolutely want to know about your internship experience and what kind of knowledge and skills you learned during that time. It will help them make a better decision.
No matter what field you go in or in what organization you go to, your experience will always help because you will be already exposed to the work environment, what problems do they face, how do they communicate, and all this will give you that extra confidence while you apply for your first entry-level job.
Investor | CEO, Digital Dynasty SEO
People that had only internship experience were without a doubt some of our best hires
When we started requiring experience as opposed to training from the ground up, the biggest difference was getting people who were already accustomed to working within a similar structure and using similar systems.
However, people that had only internship experience were without a doubt some of our best hires.
They were “hungrier” than most and had a more seamless way of plugging into our flow with their own working and learning habits. It was pretty often that the others with paid job experience were more likely to lack that easily pluggable flow, let alone the willingness to push themselves.
Why does internship experience make for a better worker?
I believe that in today’s society, there are many employees that don’t enjoy the work they’re doing. The majority are just there to minimally fulfill their duties and get paid. And when that’s the case, curiosity and advancement just don’t play a role in their work-life – to them, that would mean more work.
Interns are likely to work for free to learn something they were already curious about. Some of them go through internships just so they can use the experience as leverage to be hired later on at a company they want to work for – literally driven to advance themselves.
When hiring an employee with internship experience, you either get a worker with 1 of those qualities or a mixture of both. In either case, it will benefit the company to have them.
So, we love when applicants have only internship experience on their resume, it tells us a lot about who they are. While we cut out certain applicants from the hiring process, we leave those in to be interviewed, giving us a high chance of landing a really great hire that will advance with us for the long run.
We factor in the internship period that our qualified candidates undertook
At our company, we factor in the internship period that our qualified candidates undertook as they were growing their careers. Especially for entry-level staff, we know that internships are vital in helping them master the skill that they then come to offer our customers through our organization.
We believe in internships serving as work experience because of the following reasons:
Internship is a period of learning
An internship is a period for all interns to learn both technical and soft skills required to excel in a career later. Once done with the internship, they have valuable skills that they can apply directly to a job.
Interns are job market-ready
Most interns are job market-ready by the time they leave their internship positions and start looking for formal employment. The enthusiasm that they bring to the workplace is vital in boosting morale.
Senior Employment Advisor, VelvetJobs
Yes, internships do count as work experience because they are part of on-the-job training
This means that it is perfectly acceptable to include internships as part of your resume under the work experience section.
You should include any internship you have undertaken, whether paid or unpaid, regardless of length. Be detailed as possible about the tasks done and skills gained during the internship.
You should also make sure to highlight the tasks and skills that are directly related to the job you are applying for.
Founder & CEO, SignWell
Internships can be counted as work experience if you’ve handled relevant responsibilities
You need to check if the experience gained is relevant to the job you’re applying for. If there’s no relevance, it won’t be counted anyway.
A lot of resume writing is about projecting your experience so that you seem better than other applicants. So try highlighting aspects of the internship that’s more relevant to the job at hand.
The length of the internship is also important.
Recruiters should feel that there was enough time for you to get value out of the experience. If possible, try to add data so as to show your contribution. Use KPIs that would give them an idea of how much you contributed and thus learned.
Owner and CEO, Aquarium Store Depot
An intern’s willingness to gain experience makes them more attractive for employment
Do internships count as work experience? My answer is definitely, yes!
My passion for Aquatics started when I was 11 years old by working at local fish stores. My first experience was learning how to handle and take care of a variety of fish sourced from credible sources from over the globe. As an intern, I learned to keep freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks.
As you most probably know how finicky fish are, their water has to be just the right temperature. You have to know the correct species of fish to introduce into the same tank or pond life if you want to create harmony and not have them fighting or eating one another.
They need the right amount of food, lighting, and stimulation to create a pet-friendly and visually dynamic tank to watch as you ease off daily stresses.
Does my internship count as experience?
After 25 years, my internship experience has turned my business into one of the most credible and successful aquatic e-stores. I only sell what I have experienced to work, and this goes back to my days as a youngster working at various stores as an intern. This has helped my customers as my experience saves them from wasting money on trial and error.
When interns approach me for work, I know that they already have a passion for aquatics, and their willingness to gain the experience for work opportunities definitely makes them more attractive for employment.
CMA Coach | Founder, CMA Exam Academy
Interns help move a company forward
Yes, internships do count as work experience. Whether it is paid or not, or if it is for college credit, internships provide invaluable experience for those who take part in them.
Interns take on all kinds of projects for companies, from social media marketing to data entry, and they help businesses move forward towards achieving their goals.
Many company leaders are swamped with all of the projects they have to manage each day, and interns help take some of the tasks off their plates. Internship participants also learn all kinds of skills that are necessary for success in their industries, from time management to professional email communication and technical abilities.
Community Manager, LiveCareer
Only when they add value
Internships are an excellent way to discover your interest areas and develop skills for your career. They can also help you build your first connections and establish relationships that can benefit you in the future.
Many prospective interns expect their first internship experience to be packed with engaging projects, creative brainstorming, and meaningful contributions. However, the reality is often far from it.
Based on our recent study, a full 93% of interns will inevitably perform menial tasks during their internships, such as answering phones, shredding documents, or making Starbucks trips for the team.
That’s why you should always find out as much as you can about the details of the internship program. Is there a plan for your time there? Are you going to have a mentor that will supervise your progress?
It’s normal that you’ll also have less challenging tasks during the internship, but it’s essential that you primarily do things beneficial for your growth. Only then can you later count your internship as actual work experience rather than just a must-have on your resume.
CEO and Co-Founder, Airfocus
It depends on whether an internship is considered a legitimate work experience
For instance, if really young people apply for a job, they usually don’t have a lot of work experience, and internships are a valid substitute. This is the indication that a person is hard-working and has some knowledge of the business.
I usually really appreciate recent college graduates who have one or more internships to include in their resumes. However, people who have graduated a long time should have some legitimate work experience as well.
In this case, I primarily look at their previous jobs, and internships are just a bonus. It’s not that these don’t count – they are simply secondary to the full-time positions people had in the past.
Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.
Internships form the very foundation of your professional journey
Internships form the very foundation of your professional journey, and they most certainly count as work experience. However, this does come down to the type of internship in question.
If your internship required you to hone your skills and put your practical knowledge into real-world applications, then it equates to experience. You may not share the job title of a full-time employee, but it doesn’t take away the invaluable lessons you learned along the way.
CEO and Co-Founder, Clickx
Mentioning your internships is dependent on your years of work experience
The congruity and value of mentioning your internships on your resume depend on its recency. If you’re a new graduate or applying or aiming for an entry-level position, then the internship is worth mentioning.
However, if you’ve been working for five or more years, specifying your internship experience is only appropriate if you’ve garnered your tenure in only one company. However, if you have changed companies once or twice during the span of five or more years, then mentioning it may no longer be relevant.
Payel Gupta, MD
Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer, Get Cleared
Internships help you build skills and reputation
I just hired a new junior accountant who graduated from an excellent four-year accountancy school in May. She wanted to work at a healthcare startup and applied for the job.
She had two years of summer internship experience in the finance department of a big pharmaceutical company, and my neighbor was her mentor there.
She told me, “You’ll never find someone more capable or hardworking than this young woman.”
That opened the door for an interview with our senior accountant. What’s valuable about internships is that you not only build skills, but you also build a reputation.
Co-Founder and Marketing Director, Education Platform School Authority
Internships are considered work experience and you should definitely put them on your resume
Many students and first-time job seekers get their first exposure to the work environment through internships. Personally, I think there is no fundamental difference between an internship and a new full-time employee’s first exposure to the workplace. Work is work.
Both the intern and the new employee are subjected to a new environment that they don’t have any experience with before.
Both are required to develop certain skills to perform well in their jobs. Many of these skills are transferable to any industry, so it’s a big plus if you could articulate exactly the skills you learned or built during your stint as an intern.
Marketing Intern, Turnkey Technologies
Internships are a great way to learn and hone our craft
I believe that internships should definitely be considered work experience because the entire point of an internship is to gain experience.
I had the opportunity through an initiative put out through my high school to be partnered with an organization that I can truly learn from. This was my first ever job, so as a marketing intern, I got to experience what a real work environment was like—instead of just learning about it in classes.
Even though marketing doesn’t directly fit into cybersecurity/computer science (what I want to pursue as a career), this work experience was extremely important for me. I got to learn skills that will carry over throughout my entire career, and frankly, my entire life.
Even just the daily act of talking to my coworkers throughout the office was an entirely new thing for me. It will help me form relationships and bonds down the line even when I’m not with the company anymore.
The experience isn’t just the relational side; it’s also technical.
Internships are a great way where we can get to learn and hone our craft. I had the wonderful opportunity to help out my company with updating their website for SEO, and I am even looking to help become an SEO Consultant for the company in the future. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for that initial internship, as they pave the way for success down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Disadvantages to Including Internships as Work Experience on My Resume?
While there are many advantages to including your internship experience on your resume, there are a few things to keep in mind:
If your internships were non-accredited or unpaid, some employers might view them as less valuable than other work experience. Be prepared to explain the nature of your internship and the skills and experience it provided.
Suppose you have completed many internships but have yet to gain any other work experience to show for it. In that case, some employers might question your suitability for a full-time position.
It’s important to showcase other skills and experience you may have gained through volunteer work, extracurricular activities, or academic projects.
Suppose you include too many details about your internship experiences on your resume. In that case, it can become cluttered and difficult to read.
Focus on the most important responsibilities and accomplishments and use bullet points to make the information easy to digest.
Overall, including internships on your resume can be a great way to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. As long as you’re clear about the nature of your internship and the skills it taught you, it can be a valuable asset in your job search.
What if I Hadn’t Had a Positive Internship Experience? Should I Still Include It on My Resume?
If you didn’t have a positive experience during your internship, it’s up to you whether or not you want to include it on your resume. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
• Suppose the experience was negative, and you have nothing positive to say about it. In that case, you may want to leave it off your resume altogether.
• Suppose the experience had some positive aspects, such as certain skills you gained or projects you completed. In that case, you might want to include it on your resume, but be prepared to talk about your challenges and what you learned from the experience.
• Be honest and transparent about your experience. If you were unhappy with your internship, explain why and what you’d do differently in the future.
Remember that employers are looking for honest, transparent applicants willing to learn from their experience. As long as you can demonstrate what skills and experience you gained during your internship and how they are relevant to the position you’re applying for, it may be worthwhile to include them on your resume.
How Do I Find Internships in My Field of Interest?
To find internships in your field of interest, here are a few tips:
Research companies and organizations in your field: Start by researching companies and organizations in your desired industry. Look for companies that offer internships or have hired interns in the past.
Utilize online job boards: Many job boards, such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor, also have internship listings. Use search filters to narrow down results to internships in your desired field.
Use your network: Talk to friends, relatives, and acquaintances who may have connections in your desired industry. They may be able to provide you with leads on internships or put you in touch with someone who can help.
Attend career fairs and networking events: These events are a great way to meet potential employers and learn about internship opportunities in your field.
Check with your university or college’s career center: Many schools have career centers that can provide resources and guidance for finding internships.
Using a combination of these strategies, you can find internships that match your interests and career goals.
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