College Internships – What You Need to Know

As the school year is coming to a close, many college students and upcoming graduates are looking toward internships as a way to embark upon their career path. Internships can provide countless benefits, such as the ability to:

· Gain practical knowledge and test a particular career field

· Build a professional network and seek mentors

· Get letters of recommendation for future employment opportunities or graduate programs

· Learn about professional culture in the workplace

· Add valuable experience to a resume

Paid Internships

A recent study by Georgetown University found that college graduates who completed a paid internship earned a starting salary of almost 30% higher than those who completed an unpaid internship or didn’t complete an internship at all. Candidates that enter the workplace with a background of real job experience and a professional network of contacts have a higher rate of job offers, as well. This expertise can be even more valuable than a typical summer job because it is focused on a particular field of interest that aligns with education and career goals.

Unpaid Internships

For some fields, unpaid internships seem like a rite of passage. While the financial outcomes may not be as attractive as those from a paid internship, the non-monetary benefits could be substantial. Clear communication and documentation of duties and expectations are essential to ensuring that both the employer and intern are protected. Be sure to check state and local laws to ensure Department of Labor standards are being met.

How Do I Find an Internship?

Start the search for an internship as early as possible. Inquire through professional and personal networks about possibilities in various fields. College career centers and career fairs can present opportunities for positions, as well as researching online through websites like If a particular employer is of interest, contact them directly and pitch yourself for a potential summer program or internship.

If you need help finding or choosing the internship that is right for you, contact one of our career counselors at JFCS at [email protected] or 502-452-6341.

 Kristi Quinn is the Administrative Manager for Career & Workforce Development at JFCS. Originally from Northern Virginia, she holds a BA in English Education from the University of Kentucky and has resided in Louisville since 2005. Kristi has been with JFCS for two years and moved into the role of Administrative Manager in April of 2017. She manages many facets of the Career & Workforce Development Division, including intake, data collection, programs, and all administrative duties. Kristi is excited to continue growing our division and reaching more clients so they can find meaningful and fulfilling work. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

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