Internship FAQ

Internships provide necessary work experience 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 actually 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.

Typically yes, most employers will want you to submit a resume and cover letter in order to apply for internships and then interview for the position. If you don't have a resume or have never written a cover letter, the UofL Career Development Center features Drop-In Advising where you can come in during certain hours and work one-on-one with a career coach to develop a resume and cover letter template, or you can schedule an appointment. The Career Center can also help you get ready if you have never interviewed for a position by doing mock interviews. For more information or to schedule an appointment, go to this URL (http://louisville.edu/career) or call the Center at 852-6701.

Internships rarely coincide with the start/end dates of a semester because different employers have different internship programs and needs.

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 students to assure they have aside adequate time for coursework. Generally, employers are flexible in setting up work schedules that meet student needs.

The issue of pay is up to student and employer to determine. Many excellent internship opportunities are unpaid. Students need to make the determination whether an unpaid opportunity is feasible, given their situation.

Although an increasing number of students receive offers of full-time employment at the end of their internships, no requirement or guarantee for employment exists. Students have many reasons for doing internships and to avoid disappointment, they should not enter into an internship with any expectation of a full-time position.

Many employers welcome students to do internship-oriented positions on their own without approval from their college or university. If students want academic credit for their internship, they do need pre-approval.

If you are seeking academic credit, before you accept a position or start working, you should contact your home academic department; in the Department of Communication, Stuart Esrock (stuart.esrock@louisville.edu). For one hour of credit, you can also contact Ron Burse at the UofL Career Development Center (ron.burse@louisville.edu).

The Department of Communication offers academic credit for qualified Communication majors who obtain qualified positions.

Senior Communication majors with at least 90 credit hours or more can register for Comm 417 (three credit hours).

Communication majors with fewer than 90 hours can register for Comm 317 (one credit hour).

If you are a Communication major and want academic credit for an internship, it is imperative that you contact the Communication Internship Director (stuart.esrock@louisville.edu) in advance to determine if you are eligible for credit and to find out what you need to do.

The UofL Career Development Center also offers one hour of academic credit for internships (GEN 203). For information and eligibility requirements, contact Ron Burse (ron.burse@louisville.edu).

Typically, internships for credit are strongly related to the student's academic major and most require that the student connect concepts from the major to the work done in the field. As a result, most students come to important realizations about their field and how it applies to the "real world." That is why the Department of Communication requires internships as a graduation requirement for B.S. majors.

In addition to using the Department of Communication's internship listings and the internship bulletin board in the Strickler Hallway, numerous other sources of internship opportunities exist.

Many programs and departments around the University list internship positions (for example the UofL Career Development Center: for more information contact ron.burse@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 is online at lshrm.org). Some of the online job portals (i.e. monster.com) 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. Linked-In has become a vital social media networking tool for career advancement; students should have an account and frequently access it because internship and full-time employment opportunities are commonly disseminated on this platform.

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.

For more information on Communication internships contact Stuart Esrock (stuart.esrock@louisville.edu)