Internships are one of the key components to help develop students into professionals and make you more marketable in the job market. Life after Longwood happens quickly and it’s never too soon to get a jump on developing your professional skills.

At Longwood we recommend that by the time you graduate you should have completed at least three internship or related work experiences centered around your career aspirations. Securing internships early in your college career advances your chances for landing a job, developing professional skills, and expanding your professional network. 

Internships are often part of the student's academic program at Longwood. Internships are seen as different from volunteerism or simple work-for-pay, such as after-class, part-time, or summer jobs. Because academic credit is awarded, academic departments may require additional class meeting times, outside readings, papers, reports, and/or projects. 

Internship experiences can be both paid and/or unpaid depending on the employer and opportunity. 

Ultimately, internships are like jobs in that it’s hard to get one just by applying. To land an internship that might have a competitive applicant pool, it often takes establishing connections and building relationships first. Conducting outreach with alumni is key to success. Here are two articles with critical information for internship seekers. 

The Hiring Manager’s Story How to Conduct a Successful Informational Interview


WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP?

It is an opportunity offered by an employer to undergraduate students to work at an organization for a fixed period of time. Most Internships last between a month to three months depending on the time of year. Summer internships are the most popular, but internships can be offered during a university semester as well. Generally full-time internships are offered in the summer months. Due to COVID-19, more and more internships are being offered virtually.


WHY COMPLETE AN INTERNSHIP?

The primary purpose of the internship is to provide an opportunity for students to work directly in an outside firm or agency, appropriate to the student's major and/or career interests, so that he or she may connect classroom learning to the work environment.

Benefits include:

  • Clarify/Explore career interests
  • Determine Graduate Schools or Certifications
  • Develop and expand personal skills and knowledge base
  • Earn academic credit toward graduation
  • Enhance productive and professional work habits
  • Establish a network of contacts
  • Gain practical knowledge in a professional setting
  • Increase confidence by learning strengths in communication skills
  • Learn personal responsibility and commitment
  • Observe relevance between classroom knowledge and the working world
  • Secure a competitive edge in the job-market
  • Test your career choices early!

NEXT STEPS

  1. Meet with your Academic Department to learn how to gain academic credit and if an internship is a requirement of the program.
  2. Make an appointment with the Office of Alumni and Career Services to explore your internship options and how to go about designing a strategy that will work for you..
  3. Read “The Hiring Manager’s Story” and “How to Conduct a Successful Informational Interview”. Note: conducting outreach with alumni and other professionals in advance of applying for internships is crucial for landing the one you want. 
  4. Check out Handshake and Linkedin to search available internship opportunities.
  5. Begin introducing yourself to alumni that work in the organizations where you might want to secure an internship and find out about their programs. 
  6. Apply for internships through Handshake or Linkedin.