Including internships on CVs is often a topic raised amongst all jobseekers. Where do you add your internships and how do you list them? Others might raise questions such as, is it necessary to list internships on your CV at all?
Entering a particular work field can be tough and many find it challenging to decide whether or not doing an internship is a worthwhile step in climbing the career ladder, particularly those who have completed degrees and feel more adequately suited for junior positions or graduate programmes.
The truth is that most internships are beneficial and often there are few differences between workers in other positions who work with you. The main difference is the salary as many argue that interns do the same job, but earn less. Although this may be the case in some jobs, the wealth of knowledge and skills that you acquire when you do an internship is noteworthy and advantageous when trying to enter a work sector.
An internship can give you a ticket to the next stage of your career and significantly boost your employability when it comes to applying for a job. Including internships on your CV is a way of showing prospective employers that you are motivated and eager to learn, as well.
This CV writing guide explains how to include internships on your CV, when (or not) to put an internship on your CV, how to add internships to your CV, tips for adding your CV experience and where to add internships to your CV.
Use this section of our CV writing guide to create an exceptional CV which uses your internship experience to demonstrate your abilities and skills to recruiters.
When (or not) to put an internship on your CV
Deciding whether or not to include an internship on your CV depends on the individual’s previous work history, academic background, amongst other factors. After all, no person has the same CV, work experience or education, making us all unique with different factors to consider when applying for a job.
Including an internship in the work experience section of your CV can be valuable and increase your chances of being called for an interview.
Here are a list of things you should consider when deciding when (or not) to put an internship on your CV:
- How much work experience you have: if you lack experience in a specific sector (preferably the sector of the job for which you are applying), it is most definitely beneficial to add an internship in a relevant sector on your CV.
- Whether the internship pertains to the job role or qualities of the job.
- If you are switching job sectors, internships can be a helpful middleman between your previous work history (in other sectors) which represents your career and professionalism and a relevant job in the same field, providing that the internship links directly to the job for which you are applying.
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that only young people do internships. Switching careers and swapping a well-paid job you don’t enjoy for a low paid internship you love is not foolish, it’s courageous. Recruiters will recognise this and appreciate your efforts in entering the work field.
- If you have lots of paid work experience which also pertains to the job specification, you might consider it unnecessary to include an internship. Especially if the internship was completed a long time ago. In general, the work experience section of a CV doesn’t date back more than 10-15 years
Deciding how to present yourself to recruiters and what to include in your job application is of course entirely up to the applicant her/himself. You know yourself better than anyone and may choose which information you wish to include and which information you would rather not include or feel may be less valuable. Writing a CV is difficult, as we must think carefully about how to demonstrate that we are equipped for the job by highlighting certain features and choosing which elements are more important than others.
Tips for adding your CV experience
Adding your experience on your CV is crucial for showing hiring managers that you have what it takes to do the job. Adding internships to your experience on your CV is vital for those starting their career, so it’s incredibly important to list your internships in a professional and impressive manner. Here are some tips for adding internships on your CV.
Keep it relevant
Similarly to when listing other work experience on your CV, it’s important to single out skills and responsibilities which coincide with the job specification. Try to pick out the most productive and impressive tasks that you had to complete during your internship.
Top tip: when writing your CV for a specific job application, you can use the job description to comprehend the kinds of skills valued amongst other required and highlight the requirements that you feel you fulfill. Make sure you list these in the work experience section. For example, if the job description requires knowledge of MS Office and you used MS Office on a daily basis during your internship, you should list in the description of your internship on your CV.
Make sure you format your cv and your internships as you would for any other previous work experience. It should all be the same font, size, structure, layout and alignment. Don’t feel that because it’s an internship it has to be in a smaller font than other previous work history. If you’re wondering how to format the rest of your CV
Don’t exaggerate or lie
It might increase your chances of getting an interview, but it won’t feel so great when your prospective employer is probing you with questions on the software you claim you used during your internship. Lying is the worst way to form a relationship with employers and colleagues in a new environment, so be sure to avoid exaggerating or lying on your CV at all costs.
How and where to add internships to your CV
Internships should be listed in the work experience section of your CV. It’s not necessary to separate them from your work history, as they are still work, regardless as to whether you were paid or not. However, you should indicate that it was an internship by including “intern” in the job title or indicating elsewhere.
Seeing as internships can be placed in the same section as the work experience, you should list them exactly as you would a previous job.
Please note: if you wish to have a separate section for unpaid work experience or internships, you can do so. However, if you are referring to something more similar to voluntary work, you can read about how to include voluntary work on your CV here.
For more information on what to include on a CV, read about CV writing and different types of CV here.