How to Calculate Work Experience?

6 minute read
How to Calculate Work Experience

Ever opened a job/internship profile as a student and sighed at the sight of a work experience requirement? When applying for an MBA abroad or job opportunities, you’ll often come across the ‘minimum work experience’ criteria. Work experience has become a crucial part of a person’s resume as it represents the practical exposure a person has gained. Read this blog to know more about how to calculate work experience.

What is Work Experience?

Work experience refers to any kind of experience that a person gains in working in a particular field or occupation. It can be a component of your formal work experience plan and may refer to your work before beginning a career path or enhancing your present career. It can be achieved before, during, or after graduating from your undergraduate studies. There are several forms and levels of work experience and ways to calculate work experience. 

How to Calculate Work Experience?

These steps can help you understand how to calculate work experience according to the educational or job opportunity before you:

1. Calculate the amount of time you’ve spent in the industry.

The most common way to calculate work experience is by assessing the number of hours/weeks/months or years you have spent in a role or the duration of your comprehensive work in the industry. In both cases, you have to subtract the last date of employment/current date of employment (if you are currently working in the role) and the date of joining. 

2. Research the university or company

Different companies may have various interpretations of experience levels. For example, one organisation might want someone for an intermediate-level job with four years of experience, while another might require only two years. The same applies to universities; there might be different work experience requirements for various courses in other countries. It is always wise to personally research the university of your preference. 

3. Look at the qualifications instead

This is a crucial step in how to calculate work experience. You should view the job description of the role you are interested in carefully, especially the favoured skills and qualifications section. Universities also have specific criteria mentioned in their eligibility requirements section. For example, an MBA may require a full-time work experience of a minimum of two years, while an Executive MBA may require more years of work experience. To gain clarity, you also contact the human resource manager of a company or the admission counsellor of a university.

4. Consider internships and work experience 

Many employers may recognise unpaid experiences, such as volunteer opportunities and internships for a certain level. At the same time, many universities or employers may not consider internships and volunteer experience as a part of work experience. Hence, you should be mindful of this while understanding how to calculate work experience. 


Work experience can be a valuable part of your profile. Here are some of the benefits of work experience: 

  • Work experience can help you gain exposure towards a career in your desired profession.
  • Work experience can confirm career aspirations. It allows you to get an insight into a job and realise if the career path you are planning on is right for you or not. 
  • It allows you to apply what you have learned in your academics practically. It also helps you gain extra knowledge.
  • It shall help you develop self-understanding, maturity, independence and confidence.
  • Gaining work experience at any level will also help you begin forming a professional network.
  • Mentioning work experience in your resume also enables you to feature notable professional achievements and acts as an applied proof of your capabilities.
  • Highlighting the goals you have accomplished in your past positions can help you show your employer how your presence can help drive a team towards success

Different Types of Work Experience

Before we learn how to calculate work experience, we must be aware of the several forms of work experience: 

  • Previous or Current employment – This is the experience you have gained in your previous job(s) or current job. This can be full-time or part-time employment.
  • Work Placement – This is a duration of work experience that was part of a period of study. Work placements can be paid or unpaid opportunities.
  • Internships- They are short-term works in an organisation, often without monetary compensation. This type of work experience is most common for university students.
  • Work-Based Project –  It consists of a distinct set of activities carried out on the employer’s premises. This might be carried out for your current employer, but the project would be outside the scope of work that you usually do, in that case.
  • Work Shadowing – This type of work experience involves observing an expert or professional while they work. This helps you understand the essence of their role and responsibilities.
  • Voluntary work can also be a kind of work experience. It generally refers to dedicating your time and effort to community service initiatives.

Different Levels

Different job experience levels differentiate people with a strong background in the industry from those who may still require guidance. Here are the most basic work experience levels you might come across:


You can usually get this role right after finishing your bachelor’s study or exploring a new career in a different industry. 


After a few years of working in a specific field, you can start applying to intermediate- or associate-level jobs. At this level, you might also be allowed some leadership opportunities.


Mid-level jobs are managerial roles within their company. A mid-level employee may be responsible for the goals of a particular department and supervise the day-to-day operations.

Senior or executive-level

After working for many years in the same field and gaining experience in managerial roles, a senior level employee can establish overall goals for the organisation, set policies and procedures and communicate with stakeholders. 

Also Read


Can internships be counted as work experience? 

Internships can be featured in the work experience part of your resume. However, if internships can be added to meet the work experience eligibility criteria in companies or universities depends completely on where you are applying. It also usually depends on the number of hours you clock per week and the number of months you have interned for. 

If I have done two summer internships while studying and have five years of working experience after studies, would that count as seven years of work experience? 

No. While internships can be featured in the work experience section of resumes, a two/three-month internship is not equivalent to a year of industrial experience. Hence, it cannot add two full years of work experience. 

Can I put volunteering in the work experience section of my resume? 

Can I put volunteering in the work experience section of my resume? 

Generally, it is preferable to put volunteering experience as a separate section or under extracurricular activities. However, if you’re running low on the work experience section, mentioning it wouldn’t be wrong. Whether volunteering can be added as work experience to meet work experience criteria depends on the organisation’s guidelines. 

Are leaves deducted from the calculation of work experience? 

No, formal leaves are not deducted from work experience if you are still in the work position. Career breaks or duration of unemployment between changing careers will not be counted. 

That was everything you needed to know about how to calculate work experience. We hope this blog was helpful to you. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more informational and exciting content. 

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