Why should I do an internship?
Internships provide necessary work experience that is increasingly expected by employers looking to fill entry-level positions. In an increasing number of cases, internships actually lead to full-time job offers. Beyond obtaining experience, internships allow students to find out what a particular industry or field is truly like and what they really like doing. Students also make important networking contacts through internships that can lead to finding out about future employment opportunities or provide other professional benefits.
I don't have a resume - how do I start one?
You can schedule an appointment at a convenient time. Remember to think about all of your experiences—work, special class projects, volunteer—and be ready to put those on paper.
Do internship have to coincide with the dates of a semester?
Internships rarely coincide with the start/end dates of a semester since different employers have different internship programs and needs.
How much time should I be working in my internship?
Each position is different, however we suggest that interns work 12-15 hours/week since that provides continuity in the experience benefiting both the employer and the student. In developing the work schedule, it’s important for the student to make sure they have adequate time for their course work. Generally, employers are flexible in setting up work schedules that meet student needs.
Do employers have to pay me for an internship?
It is up to the student and employer to determine the issue of pay. Many excellent internship opportunities are unpaid. The student needs to make the determination whether or not an unpaid opportunity is feasible, given their situation.
Can I get academic credit for my internship?
Your home academic department may offer credit for your internship but do realize that the requirements are different for each program. That’s why it is imperative that you talk to your program in advance to determine if you are eligible for credit and what you need to do.
Will I get a full-time job from my internship?
While there are an increasing number of students who are receiving offers of full-time employment at the end of their internship, there is no requirement or guarantee of this. Students have many other reasons to do internships and to avoid disappointment, they should not enter into an internship with any expectation of a full-time position.
Do I have to get pre-approval from someone at the University of Louisville to do an internship?
Many employers welcome students to do internship-oriented positions on their own without approval from their college or university. If you want academic credit for your internship, you do need pre-approval. Before you start working or accept a position, you should contact your home academic department to inquire about academic credit. The University Career Center encourages you to visit and tap into the network of employers already seeking interns through the office.
What is the benefit of doing an internship for academic credit?
Typically, internships for credit are strongly related to the student’s academic major and most require that the student connect concepts from their major to the work they are doing in the field. As a result, most students come to important realizations about their field and how it applies to the “real world.” That’s also why some academic programs require internships as a graduation requirement.
How can I look for internship positions?
In addition to using the University Career Center’s position listings, there are numerous other sources of internship opportunities. Many programs and departments around the University list internship positions (for example the UofL Department of Communication—online at comm.louisville.edu). Professional associations often list internship positions being offered by their members (i.e. in the human resource field, the Louisville Society for Human Resource Management—online at lshrm.org). Some of the national online job boards provide internship listings. And most important, students need to network and tell everyone they know what they are interested in doing. Nationally, most students find their first entry-level position via a networking contact and many find internship positions via this route as well. LinkedIn has become a vital social media networking tool for career advancement; students should have an account and frequently access it since internship and full-time employment opportunities are commonly disseminated on this platform. The University Career Center can also can help students navigate LinkedIn.
What should I be looking for in an internship position?
The same things you should be looking for if you were searching for a full-time position. You should be seeking established companies and organizations that have a clear and professional physical or virtual presence. While an increasing number of work positions are virtual/remote, most students will benefit more from an internship in a face-to-face work setting where they can receive regular, on-going supervision and professional mentoring.
Ask questions about what past interns have done at the organization and how they were managed/mentored. The position description should be specific and indicate to you clearly that you will be doing work that will aid your career development and skill set. Students should try to get a feel for the organization as well; is it structured and organized and does that fit with your preferences? Is it more entrepreneurial and fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants? Students should be looking for a fit between what they are looking for and the work, organization, and supervision to ensure that they will have the best experience possible.