Unpaid internship on my cv


Hi everyone, I am applying for jobs in consultancies at the moment.

The only work experience I have so far has been an unpaid internship at a small firm in Asia. I have a certificate of employment and a professional recommendation, but there are reasons why I feel I may face problems during the background checks- 1. My boss no longer works there, 2. I am not on the payroll so HR probably has no record of my existence. It doesn’t help that this was 3 years ago, so any temporary records will now be lost or erased.
Had my boss still been there she could have verified me, but unfortunately that isn’t possible.

Will I get into trouble because of this? I really want to put the internship on my CV because it was a really good learning experience and I did very well in it. However, I don’t want to get into trouble with the background checks because I am pretty sure it will be next to impossible for them to confirm my internship by calling HR.

Any advice?


I think you should still put that on your application! Just be honest and say that your boss has left. The HR should have a record of you, even if you weren’t on payroll you should still have had some agreement or health and safety contract.
Any jobs you apply to don’t actually do any reference checks until the very last stage and job offer anyway, after which time you will know them well enough to discuss this with someone.
Maybe you can find your old boss on linkedin and ask them for their email to provide as a reference instead of the actual company?


I agree, you should still put it. I mean, it is not a lie, right? Any experience you list will help you get interviews far easier. It is not a deception or anything, so I don’t see a problem. If you get an offer, you can then worry how to find details/records…


Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in many Asian countries!! There are no health and safety contracts for internships nor are there any records kept by local branches of unpaid interns. HR will not even be aware of my existence, of that I’m sure. However, I am in touch with my supervisor, even though he has left the company. He will give me a reference and he is on the company HR records because he was on the payroll. I have certified hard copies of my internship certificate as well. Should that suffice?


Yes, it should be ok :slight_smile: Don’t worry… worry about making good applications and getting your dream job.
Good luck


Ok, I know I am being paranoid, but imagine this scenario. They make me an offer. They do a background check and get in touch with the human resources department of the bank. As is the norm in local branches for unpaid internships, they will say they don’t have any record of me working there.
This could be a potentially awful situation right?