UofL Micro-Internship Initiative


UofL Micro-Internship Initiative

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL is launching a collaboration with a national organization to promote so-called “micro-internships” with short-term, paid work experiences. Over the course of the last five years, Parker Dewey has connected thousands of students to these project-based, mostly virtual opportunities, involving employers from across the country.

The internship coordinator for the UofL University Career Center, Maddie McNabb, says there are a number of reasons why students should consider micro-internships. “Micro-internships are a great professional development opportunity, as they can give students an idea of what an entry-level job in their desired field might look like without the commitment of a summer- or semester-long in-person internship. On top of that, every project posted on Parker Dewey’s website is paid, and students can create a connection with top-tier companies they may want to work for in the future.”

Through micro-internships, students can demonstrate skills and explore career paths. Unlike a traditional internship, these paid opportunities typically range from 5 to 40 hours of work, and most can be completed remotely.  Project deadlines normally range from one week to a month.

The average project pays $360 at an average rate of $15-20/hour. Each micro-internship is vetted by Parker Dewey to make sure that it is appropriate for college students/recent grads and compensated fairly.

While micro-internships are not as ideal as full-scale, onsite internships, they do provide a way for students to connect with employers and network with professionals. In addition, students can enhance their track record of work experience, enhancing applications for future internships and career opportunities.

Parker Dewey reports micro-internships can result in offers for internships and full-time jobs from the host company, and are even used as a recruitment tool on occasion for those opportunities.  Employers who have implemented micro-internships recognize that although the project may be short-term, the projects can be a great way to identify students’ potential and evaluate skills like problem solving ability that is difficult to assess during a traditional recruiting process. 

In a time of a global pandemic and an uncertain job market, McNabb said micro-internships provide a great opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain professional experience. “Parker Dewey has cited an increase in activity on their platform during the months of March and April, and I imagine this uptick will continue throughout the summer. I predict micro-internships will continue to remain prominent post-pandemic due to the low-risk career exploration opportunity they provide and because the short time commitment required will be beneficial to students who cannot otherwise commit to a full-time internship.”

Parker Dewey micro-internships can include projects across all departments.  The most prevalent opportunities include:

  • Sales
  • Human Resources
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Research
  • Operations and Support
  • Finance and Accounting

Students who want to apply for Parker Dewey micro-internships create an account on the company’s website including information about their experiences, education, a resume, and other possible materials like work samples.  Once they have completed their profile, students have access to all opportunities currently available on the site and can then apply for projects.

Students who get an offer receive support for their micro-internship in a variety of forms.  They will receive the contact information for representatives from the company hosting the project as well as from Parker Dewey’s “Client Success” team.  Students also receive a number of onboarding emails as well as resources from Parker Dewey. And at the conclusion of the project, students get feedback on their work. 

To learn more and apply for micro-internships, visit the UofL - Parker Dewey website. UofL students who obtain Parker Dewey micro-internships are encouraged to in the University Career Center to tell us about your experience.