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My Masters Degree consisted of 3 semesters of course work+lab work and then a 6 month full-time, paid internship in a large company. My Internship was in the field of my studies, and I had to submit a report and make a presentation to get course credit.

The company later made me an offer and I became a full time employee. Suppose I have been a full time employee for 6 years 6 month (total of 3 jobs in three different companies) as of now, Do I say that my professional Work Experience is 7 years, or 6.5 years?

Edit I am asking this from a perspective of purely whether a Paid Internship is included in Professional Work Experience or not. This can come up in filling up bid forms, applying for a new position, introducing myself, etc.

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Are you asking if you should include it on the resume/CV? or are you asking when you are asked on a form for the number of years experience: 0-3, 3-5,5-7,7-10 you don't know which box to check? –  mhoran_psprep Nov 21 '12 at 11:44
    
I don't think it really matters much if you just have the one job on your resume. I would not let my internship add a page to my resume though. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Nov 21 '12 at 13:55
    
@mhoran_psprep I asking what I should fill on a form. –  Devdatta Tengshe Nov 21 '12 at 14:26
    
@Chad I just used that as an Example. I am actually on my 3rd job, and my total work experience is 7 years including the internship. –  Devdatta Tengshe Nov 21 '12 at 14:28
    
@DevdattaTengshe - That actually changes how I would answer. I think beths answer sums it up. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Nov 21 '12 at 15:01
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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

OK... so here's a total rewrite. "Professional work experience" is, in my mind, any paid work that relates to your profession. Internships count, although I would expect shades of grey here where your intership is so tied and controlled by the academic institution that it is really "hands on coursework" and not a paid short term learning engagement. For me at least, the line of demarcation is in how much time you spent being part of the team in the company you worked in - in some cases, internships are almost entirely divorced from course credit, it's just a simple final peice of paperwork to receive whatever recognition is requied by the school. In others, the "internship" includes professorial mentoring, close monitoring by the academic institution and as much time spend satisfying coursework requirements as the needs of the company - in those cases, I'd call it coursework, not "professional work experience".

Longetivity plays a factor here. I doubt anyone can give a hard and fast rule, but when you're within 3 years of your internships, you may want to call them out separately, specifically as internships. When you're further on in your career, that extra year of half a year is not a big factor.

Here's some examples of how I answered this question during the course of my career. I worked summer internships at the same company after my 2nd and 3rd years, and then the company paid me for part time telecommuting while I finished my degree on campus. I hired on into a corporate program which I did for a year, and then placed into a permanent assignment which I held another 2 years before my division was sold to another company:

  • Just graduating - "I worked X company, doing two summer internships, they then paid me part time my senior year to keep me on the team". Form entry: 1 year - internship - X company

  • 1 year after graduation - "I've been working full time for a year, but I've worked with the company through a few internships before that, so I've been around for 3 years" Form entry: 2 years - FTE & intern - X company -- or-- one line item for FTE work, one line item for each internship.

  • 5 years after graduation - "I'd been with X and Y companies for a total of 7 years - it's a long story, but it was a collection of internships, corporate programs, and then a sale of my division." Form entry: 4 years - various positions - X company, 2 years - position name - Y company (the purchasing company)".

  • 8+ years after graduation - "This is what I'm up to now..." it has to be one heck of a good conversation if we're going back to the ancient past that is my internship, probably a long conversation with an old acquantaince with a shared history. Form entry: 4 years - final position - X company, 3 years - final position - Y company, more years - more positions - more companies"

  • 14 years after graduation - I actually had to go look at my own resume to remember when I started that internship and the years at company X and company Y just so I could fill out another form. Given that the 2 years of interning are now a small fraction of my professional work history, I don't see it being a big deal one way or the other - with intership, I've worked 16 years, without 14 years - either way I'm a lifer who's worked about 15 years.

In every case, if asked for a single, raw number, I'd just sum it up and include the internships. In the cusp of around 5 years, there seems to be a transition for most people where the work on internships is decidedly less important or worth highlighting in almost any venue when compared to the work done more recently. For the most part, people reading forms are more looking to place you in a bucket. I'm sure the buckets vary from place to place, but a common example is 05, 5-10, 10-20, 20+ Once they figure out which bucket, most form-requiring systems move on to the next question. If you are at the dividing line between buckets (9 years, but with internships, its 10 or 11) then you can figure that they will look at other parts of your data anyway.

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I am more interested in knowing whether I should fill it as 7, or 6.5 on a form. I was not asking it from the view of making my resume. –  Devdatta Tengshe Nov 21 '12 at 14:41
    
Honestly, if this is a form I don't think half a year matters so much. I'd say round up, stick on 7. –  bethlakshmi Nov 21 '12 at 14:45
    
What about talking in general? What if I was a full time employee for 9 months and an intern for 6 month before that? There is a huge difference between 9 month and 15 months. –  Devdatta Tengshe Nov 21 '12 at 14:47
    
I don't honestly believe there is a "general" case, but I'll try to address it in a rewrite. –  bethlakshmi Nov 21 '12 at 15:06
    
Thanks for taking the effort for a complete rewrite!! –  Devdatta Tengshe Nov 22 '12 at 6:19
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My opinion. Split up the work experience to show your internship. I always split up my work on my resume to show each job promotion/position change. Displaying on your resume that you were able to get a paid internship on your studies, and that the company thought highly enough of you to move that internship to a full-time employee position is a great compliment to future employers looking to hire.

It shows that you were able to make the next step in the company when other's may have been competing to obtain the same position. An internship can also be considered professional work experience as you were actively participating in company-level work for a particular field.

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Fully agree; as someone who reviews CVs for my team, I'd say that the difference between 6 and 7 years of experience is negligable.the +/- 6 months of work is irrelevent after a a few years (but vital at first) - however showing you converted an intership into a job (or got promoted internally) is much more impressive. –  GuyM Nov 22 '12 at 18:25
    
Grrr - could't edit fast enough. Sorry for the dupes. –  GuyM Nov 22 '12 at 18:32
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I'd suggest that in all walks of life it is much more common and usual practice to round up 6.5 to 7, and it is a lot more unusual to round 6.5 down to 6 - it says so in Wikipedia so it must be true, right?

I do check dates carefully on CVs and compare that to the years of experience people claim; aggressive upward rounding of say 6.2 years into 7 I'd see as cheeky, but even then its not a "reject" (although it may be for others.)

If this comes up at interview (Well done! You got to the interview!) then responding that "Well it was actually 6.5 years, so I rounded up to 7 on the form" would also be more that acceptable.

In this case we're talking about an accuracy of +/-8% on your work experience, so I wouldn't stress about it. If it was +/-25% or more, then the accuracy would be important. Round up on the form, but make sure you explain why.

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