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When should I take past internships off my resume?

SHARE When should I take past internships off my resume?
SHARE When should I take past internships off my resume?

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a human-resources expert, is tackling your questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society.

I’m currently looking for my next job opportunity. Because I’ve been at my company for most of my professional career, I still have internships on my resume. At what point should I remove internship experiences from my resume? Are there any exceptions?

There are no hard-and-fast rules about removing internships, or any other jobs for that matter, from a resume. However, I can share some general guidelines.

If the internship took place 10 or more years ago, don’t include it unless you gained knowledge and skills or completed assignments that would be interesting to a prospective employer. On the other hand, internships completed five years ago or less should probably remain on your resume.

If you worked as an intern between five and 10 years ago, use your best judgment. If you believe it will help you land your next job, include it.

However, if you have a lot of experience and your internship doesn’t correlate to the job you’re applying for, leave it off. It could detract from your overall resume.

The exception is if you worked as an intern for a famous employer or in a niche field, like the sports industry. In those cases, I’d suggest keeping an internship on your resume because the experience could help you stand out.

Additionally, internships can serve as supplemental experience if you do not meet the required years of experience for a desired job.

Lastly, if you have five or more years of professional experience, start focusing on gaining certifications in your industry or with your profession association. This will show a prospective employer you are continuing to grow in your career and not relying on early academic experience. Certifications also show you have the most current knowledge in your field.

Internships are valuable in helping you to identify a career and prepare for it. But, as you gain professional work experience, they become less important. As a result, your resume will evolve over time.

Read more from USA Today.

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