Internships are vital in helping 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.

We recommend that you complete at least three internships or related work experiences centered around your career aspirations by the time you graduate. Securing internships early in your college career advances your chances of landing a job, developing professional skills and expanding your professional network. 

Ultimately, internships are like jobs in that it’s hard to get one just by applying. Landing an internship with a competitive applicant pool 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

Note: Internships are often part of your academic program and viewed differently from volunteerism or 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 projects. Internship experiences can be both paid and unpaid, depending on the employer and opportunity. 


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


The primary purpose of the internship is to provide an opportunity for students to work directly with professionals in their major or career interests so that they 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!


  1. Meet with your Academic Department to learn how to gain academic credit and if an internship is a program requirement.
  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 before applying for internships is crucial for landing the one you want. 
  4. Check out Handshake and Linkedin to search for 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.