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When Should Internships Come Off Your Resume?

When Should Internships Come Off Your Resume?

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

When should internships come off your resume? I graduated a year ago and accepted a one-year, post-grad, entry-level position which ended recently and I am onto my second job since graduation. I was fortunate enough to intern with three really well known companies in my field during my undergrad years that are thought of as highly competitive. These internships clearly gave me in advantage in both post-grad positions.

Now that I have finally settled into my first real job ( I don’t consider the one-year post-grad program a real job since it was not permanent and was without benefits), when should I take off the internships from my resume? I do not plan on job searching any time soon, but I feel like if I were to ever part from my current job, my resume would really skimpy without those internships. Also since I work in the creative field, I have really refined projects from those internships in my portfolio.

Will these positions simply age themselves out and no longer become relevant say 3 or 4 years or should they come off now that I am no longer seeking junior level work?

The test is not whether you’re seeking work at the same level as the internships were. If that were the case, no one would ever have anything on their resume except for their last job.

The idea is that your resume shows the breadth and progression of your experience. If your internship experience is relevant to the jobs you’re applying for, or if they help paint a picture of your career progression, or if your resume would seem sparse without them, they stay.

They should come off only when you feel they no longer strengthen your candidacy or present a picture of who you are. That time is not now, as you only left the internship-period of your life a year ago. If I had to come up with a general rule to quantify it, I’d say that for most people that time will be somewhere between five and ten years after graduation.

To make this more intuitive, think like an employer: Would you rather hire a candidate who appears to have only had one or two jobs, or someone who spent their time in college getting work experience too? At 35, what you did in college probably isn’t going to matter that much. But when college was only a few years ago, it’s still relevant.

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