Get experience before graduation

Research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers has demonstrated a strong positive relationship between a student having an internship and an increased probability of that student receiving a full-time job offer before graduation.

Internships are designed to be exploratory — a great chance for you to learn about a potential career field or organization before committing to a full-time job. Internships can be paid or unpaid. The most effective internships are project-based and connected to your field of study or career interests. Other ways to get experience in your chosen career path before graduation include both externships and research experience. 

Job and internship worksheet

Need help kick-starting your internship search? Use our job and internship search worksheet.

Why should I get an internship?

  • Employers are interested in communication, problem-solving and administrative skills, which can be developed through internships.
  • Employers look for experience on a student's resume and often hire from within their own internship programs.
  • Having a high GPA is often not enough to get a job.
  • A strong letter of recommendation from an internship supervisor can tip the scale in your favor when you are applying for jobs.

Search tools for internships

There are numerous places where internships are posted. Here is a selection of some of the most reputable and helpful websites for your internship search.

Handshake: This comprehensive job and internship search tool posts opportunities specifically targeted to the VCU student/alumni talent pool.

Parker Dewey: VCU Career Services, Business Career Services and Engineering Career Services have recently partnered with Parker Dewey to begin promoting micro-internships and project-based work opportunities to all VCU students. Projects exist for all majors and can incorporate a student’s outside experience/interests learned outside of their major. Registration details for students, alumni and employers can be found on VCU's Parker Dewey website. The largest web-based internship marketplace is searchable by interest, geography, pay, etc., and also includes an Internship Predictor assessment to help you target internships with the best fit.

ConnectVA: This site provides information, resources and instant access to nonprofits, civic leaders, volunteers and others interested in improving metro Richmond. The job finder is a great place to find local area jobs and internships focused on the nonprofit community.

GoGovernment: Go Government is a project of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Partnership for Public Service, which works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve. Use the website to find and apply for federal government jobs.

Idealist: This searchable database of nonprofit organizations and opportunities is a great resource for Washington, D.C.-area nonprofit internships and international opportunities.

Pathways: This government website offers internships and jobs for recent graduates.