Internships enhance the resume enormously, especially for young professionals. Logical: the less work experience an applicant has, the more critical the internship factor becomes. But what if the only references you have in hand are three internships from your student days. So how do you get across that you not only made coffee there but also delivered solid work? We’ll show you how to include internships in your resume and make the stations look good too.
Which internships should be included in the resume?
The short answer: if possible, only the relevant ones. Internships in the resume should round off the applicant’s profile and underline academic and practical qualifications. Accordingly, only those internships should be mentioned in the resume whose content and experience are directly related to the desired position from the job advertisement. You can leave out irrelevant things, even if you found them interesting and instructive. It’s just reading ballast.
For example, those who apply as project managers increase their chances if they have already organized one or more projects and teams through the internship. The more direct this relation to the job, the better. But indirect references, such as proof of social skills through an internship abroad, are also helpful. The main thing is that you show that you have as many of the required skills as possible.
However, the importance of internships on the resume decreases with increasing professional experience. For internship candidates, trainees, university graduates, and young professionals, they are essential evidence of initial practical experience. However, those who have already held ten or more professional years and various positions can skip the internships unless they are used to fill long-term gaps in your resume.
Internships on the resume: where are they mentioned?
The most relevant internship is of no use if the HR manager first has to look for it in the resume with the monocle. Internships with which you actively advertise yourself belong either in a separate section, "Internships," or in a section called "Professional experience." Especially for you, we have prepared a suitable internship resume template for these purposes.
In no case do you belong in the “Hobbies” section or even in the utterly useless category “Other”? This also applies to voluntary activities related to the desired job: They either deserve their section or are “special interests.”
Personnel decision-makers first quickly scan many resumes from top to bottom to filter out whether applicants meet the minimum qualifications for the position. So don’t bury your internship in the depths of your resume, but elevate it to a throne. And describe its content as precisely and meaningfully as possible:
- How long did the internship last?
- What did you do during that time?
- What could you achieve?
- What skills have you acquired or trained as a result?
You can work through the above questions like a checklist and thus describe the individual internships according to the same pattern. The decisive factor here is that the HR manager must recognize the added value that you can offer with this practical experience for the advertised position.
How many internships are there on the resume?
The already mentioned restriction “only relevant internships with job reference” should significantly reduce the selection. Otherwise, however, the rule of thumb is: you should not list more than three or a maximum of four internships in your resume. At some point, this will dilute your profile – and at some point, many internships no longer seem focussed, let alone top talent more like someone who had to work their way from internship to internship. Also, the resume should not exceed a maximum of two A4 pages.
Internships on the resume: how to mention?
In general, internships are mentioned in the resume, as are other professional positions. The hybrid resume (which is standard today) with the times according to the pattern MM / YYYY – MM / YYYY in the left column and the table of contents in the right column.
Do not exaggerate and stick to the truth! With a clever choice of words, you can pimp individual stations and present them more positively. But you mustn’t lie. After all, HR professionals also know the tricks. And if you then stumble and stutter when you follow up on the interview, you are immediately disqualified.
The better strategy:
- Think again carefully about which of your activities could create which added value in the company.
- How can you describe precisely and positively what you have done?
- Take enough time to identify strong words that also fit and are relevant to the job profile.
- Active formulations beat passive ones – always. Anyone who “organized” the scout camp, for example, and not just “supervised” it, mutated directly from being a companion to being responsible.
Words are powerful. It would help if you never underestimated their importance, but use them for your benefit – also and especially in your resume. Even sideline jobs or mini-jobs can be embellished in this way. As a student, for example, you never waited (how profane!), But gained valuable experience as a service specialist in the catering industry.
Don’t laugh, it’s the nuances that count. You can sometimes make a difference when there are several candidates. Even if HR managers never admit that: Subconsciously, the choice of words has an enormous effect and influences more decisions than many think.
Try to adapt your vocabulary to the respective industry and the job profile and – if possible – to intersperse technical terms. In this way, the resume appears a bit more tailored, and you become more competent.