Internship Experience: Where Does it Fit on the Resume?

As a student, it can be difficult to find opportunities in your prospective field to gain experience while you are still learning. Internships are designed for students to gain crucial experience before graduating with a degree.

The biggest question for many interns is where that experience fits on the resume. Does it go under a “Work Experience” header, even if it was unpaid? If it was an unpaid experience, should it be listed under a “Volunteer Experience” header? Should it have a section of its own, just for internship experience?

There is not a single correct answer that works for everyone’s resume. The placement of your internship experience depends on the rest of your document.

Example One

If you have a lot of unrelated work experience, like in the food service industry, then burying your relevant internship experience in the “Work Experience” category is not the best idea. In that case, the internship experience should stand on its own and be listed above your work experience so the employer sees it first. The title of this section is up to you – you could call it “Internship Experience,” “Relevant Experience,” or something else entirely.

Example Two

On the other hand, if all your work experience is related to your current job goal, you can simply list it all under “Work Experience.” Some students feel uncomfortable calling an internship “work.” Even if it was an unpaid internship, it can still fall under the category of “Work Experience.” Be sure to state your position title, including the word “intern” (for example: “Social Media Intern”). If you are still uncomfortable including it under “Work Experience,” keep in mind that internship experience can fit in a variety of sections, so choose one you are comfortable with.

The biggest key to presenting your internship experience correctly on the resume is to remember the bigger picture. Your resume should tell the story of your experience that is relevant to your current job goal. Showcase your internship experience to prove that you are highly qualified for the position – where you place the experience on your resume is only one piece of the puzzle.

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