By Riley Vance–

Once you enter the second half of your undergraduate career, the pressure to find an internship is on. Is dedicating your time to an internship worth it? 

First and foremost, why should you even consider applying for an internship? 

Internships can help you decide what you like and what you dislike — and you can apply for another one if the first one didn’t suit you. 

“Students can use the experience to ‘test-drive’ an industry or field they might be interested in,” said Stuart Esrock, a University of Louisville communications professor and internship director for the department. 

“They can also network with professionals; that is crucial since about 70% of college students find their first entry level job via a networking contact. But most important, students gain vital, real-world experience that most employers require for entry-level hires.”

So, what’s next? Where do you look for internship opportunities, and how do you apply?

U of L offers a number of resources to students to look for internships at zero expense.

The first place to look would be either your academic department’s website or Handshake

“But students should also initiate their own initiative and research and proactive efforts, including networking with everyone you know to let them know what you are interested in to see if they can connect you,” Esrock said. 

Students can also attend the Student Internship Panel virtually on Feb. 18 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. or the Faculty/Staff Internship Panel on Feb. 25 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. 

The Student Internship Panel will give students a chance to hear from fellow students about their personal internship experience and how they got those opportunities. 

The Faculty/Staff Internship Panel will provide students with information about internships for academic credit. Students can expect to hear from Dr. Esrock himself along with Paige Hincker Erhart, Career Counselor at the Ulmer Career Management Center. 

Esrock and Erhart will be joined by Jason Gainous, a U of L political science professor and director of the Kentucky General Assembly Internship Program, and Lora Haynes, director of internships and service learning for the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. 

Students should register via Handshake if they wish to attend either panel.

The University Career Center has also prepared an informative video on internships that can be viewed at any time for those who can’t attend the virtual panels. 

Yes, internships do provide valuable experience and networking opportunities that could lead to a postgraduate career, and now you have all the resources you need to find one. 

Get those cover letters and resumes ready and apply to an internship.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal