5 Reasons That Doctoral Students Should Consider Having a Micro-Internship

Unlike traditional internships, a micro-internship is often project-based and lasts a shorter time. Both types offer great opportunities to gain experience and hone your skills. At the same time, micro-internships require less time investment, which often means it is easier to stay on target with your academic commitments and degree milestones.  

Of course, if you are really interested in a certain work area and want to delve into it, especially when time permits, then a traditional internship would be an excellent option for you. Yet, if you are right at the beginning of your career exploration, a micro-internship is what you should consider. Here are some of the benefits of micro-internships:  

1. Broadening your knowledge about career opportunities beyond academia  

A micro-internship usually takes place outside of your academic department. It is an excellent channel to explore and expand your knowledge about different career options.  

2. Strengthening diverse and transferable skills sought by future employers 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), there are eight core competencies that employers look for. You may have already built up some of those skills; however, a micro-internship is also an excellent opportunity to enhance the knowledge you already possess. In addition, these micro-internships can also help develop different skills that a future employer looks for in a job candidate. 

3. Gaining career-related experience and remaining engaged in your academic commitments 

A micro-internship typically lasts 2 – 6 weeks and could fit nicely into a doctoral student’s busy academic schedule. By committing to a short time frame, you don’t have to leave your academic work behind, while at the same time, you accumulate work-related experience that may help pave your way to the career of your interest.  

4. Expanding your professional network  

In a micro-internship, you will have the chance to meet and work with different people in your career area. It will help enrich your network beyond your academic department.  

5. Applying your knowledge and skills to projects outside of one’s academic program 

During your academic training, you could have developed excellent skills and a wide range of knowledge in particular subject areas, but transferring what you know to another setting is different. A micro-internship would be a perfect opportunity for you to apply what you have already acquired (skills, knowledge, experience, etc.) to practices beyond your academic program.  

There are different channels to find a micro-internship. If you are interested in higher education affairs and academic administration without relocating, make sure to check out the UConn project-based on-campus Micro-internship Program for Doctoral Students. It is a pilot program launched this spring with micro-internship openings hosted by departments at UConn for Summer 2022.  

If you would like to explore other experiential learning opportunities outside of UConn, please visit the following platforms:  

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash 

By Damiao Zoe Xu
Damiao Zoe Xu Graduate Assistant, Graduate Student and Postdoc Career Programs and Services | Pronouns: she/her/hers