Building Your Resume: How Many Internships Do You Need?

When it comes to internships, the looming question that hangs over our heads is often “How many do I need to get a job?” While the answer is not easy, there are a few important things to consider. Internships are meant to be an experience, and while we are raised to believe that strength is in numbers, it is time we slow down and pay close attention to quality. In building your resume, there is no formula for the perfectly balanced resume, but here are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Evaluate the quality of your experience. If you reflect back on your internship and you can’t pull a handful of skills you learned that can be bullet points on a resume, this clearly was not a useful investment of your time. Getting coffee and making copies may have helped you through paying your rent but what employers really want to see is a quality experience that challenged you so much that you finished the summer with a plethora of skills and new knowledge that can be applied to the job you are applying for.

2. Diversity is always a good idea. Depending on what you are looking to do, having a diverse amount of exposure and experience gives you a huge competitive edge. While dipping your toes into many pools may not make sense for pursuing a career in finance, it can absolutely make a difference in other jobs. When applying to a sales position, having experience in both sales and customer service makes all the difference as it shows you have a good understanding of different aspects of your new job title. While the additional customer service internship is not necessary in this case as the sales one is of higher value, it still adds depth to your resume and depth to your experience.

3. Your internship may evolve into a job. When going through internship programs with the idea in mind that you only wish to add bulk to your resume, you lose the opportunity to do incredibly well and potentially turn it into a job. Instead of rushing through the experience only to arrive at the next, consider investing more time and energy into this current position and it may pay off in the long run. When in doubt, perform every day as if your employer will be writing your letter of recommendation based on your performance during that particular shift.

4. Don’t forget to study. Employers want you to be a well-rounded candidate, however they absolutely understand that school comes first. When it comes to working and going to school, know your limits and understand that you will not be questioned or penalized for not having an internship constantly throughout your collegiate experience.

5. Leadership comes in many forms. Believe it or not, resumes do not start and end with your work experience, there is much more that is factored into the mix. Employers look for candidates that not only have a balanced life of work and interest but who are also active in their communities and universities. Having multiple internships is not the only way to set yourself apart– join committees, organizations, lead clubs, volunteer, and make time for your hobbies.

The best part about building your resume is that it is your own, personal, and unique experience. When it does come time to evaluate the position you are in, take a good look at your resume and ask yourself this: “Would I hire myself?”

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Sara Von Dohren

Sara is a Junior Psychology Major at the University of San Francisco. She enjoys the San Francisco fog, yoga, good conversation, and all things Fall except pumpkin spice lattes. Find her on instagram at @_saraashley.