QUESTION: I took an internship in college that was effectively an unpaid full-time job that directly aligns with the skills I use in my career. But it was for a church; I’ve been told I shouldn’t list it on my résumé for this reason. Is this true?
Lucie Yeomans, Your Career Ally
Yes, include it! Any relevant experience you gain through paid or unpaid internships, regardless of the business type or affiliation, should be included. Many internships are unpaid and should be on your resume, especially if the responsibilities align with your career goals and skills. For example, teachers who intern for private, Christian schools include their internships on their resumes.
Stacie Fehrm, Stacie Writes Resumes
Not true! Your resume serves to demonstrate that you are qualified. Include key words and emphasize accomplishments. Put your boldfaced title first then the name of the church, as you would any other employer. Avoid religious and political controversy by omitting any particular cause unless, of course, you are applying for jobs that promote that cause.
Nancy Grant, Regional Career & Employment Services
If the accomplishments are valuable to your career, by all means include the experience on your resume. Religious organizations are businesses too. List it the same as you would an employer. However, keep your achievements relatable and demonstrate how they are transferable in all business settings. Operating successfully in a business regardless of what type of business it may be.
Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers
Churches and other nonprofits can provide valuable professional experience through internships or paying permanent positions. These organizations need leaders, community partners, and support staff to keep them viable, so don’t feel you have to shy away from them. When quantifying that experience on your resume, describe what you learned and the skills you developed like any other internship.
Beate "Bea" Hait, Resumes Plus
The fact that the internship was for a church is not a reason that it shouldn’t be included in your résumé. The number of years you have been working in your career, how far back the internship extends in comparison, and if it would benefit you to show this is where you gained the valuable skills you still use would be three factors to consider regarding whether to include that information or not.
Jane Roqueplot, JaneCo's Sensible Solutions
You demonstrated why it should be on your resume by including in your question the fact that the skills applied were aligned with those needed in your target career. Include those skiils and combine them with measurable achievements. Use specific numbers or data if possible.
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