All About Micro-Internships

Updated: September 2, 2020

With COVID-19 throwing a wrench in most peoples’ summer plans, we’ve all had to get creative when it comes to keeping our lives moving at a semi-normal pace. When it comes to summer internships, business as usual has become increasingly unlikely, but that means employers are adjusting in innovative ways.

One of our favorite ways that companies have been adapting to the current circumstances is through offering micro-internships. These mini-assignments offer a different way to gain experience, plus they come with quite a few unexpected benefits.

What is a micro-internship?

As the name implies, a micro-internship is like an internship … but smaller! Still, there are a few ways in which a regular internship and a microinternship differ.  An internship typically entails a 12-week assignment, completed with one company over the course of an entire summer. A micro-internship is much shorter, with an assignment ranging from five to 40 hours of work. Employers give interns completing a micro-internship a single project to work on and complete, and interns manage everything themselves.

Why would I want a micro-internship?

One of our favorite (and what will probably be your favorite) parts of a micro-internship is that they are paid positions. Companies value your knowledge and your willingness to help them with their projects, and they’re willing to prove that with compensation. This provides a great opportunity for students who are looking for ways to make ends meet. 

If you’re focused on landing that full-time job as soon as possible (and let’s be real— that’s all of us), you’ll be delighted to know that a micro-internship still provides a conversion opportunity. Although there is less face-to-face time and culture fit exploration, a micro-internship still provides a platform to showcase your skills. If you make a good enough impression and provide high-quality work, you’re bound to turn some heads. 

Another appealing feature of micro-internships is their flexibility. A micro-internship is always a remote position, so you’re free to work in whatever space you prefer. Also, there is no direct management, meaning that as long as you’re responsible, you’re free to complete the work as you see fit. If you want to wake up at 2 pm, have your “morning” coffee, and start your day that way, feel free! Many students use this flexibility to make progress on their micro-internship projects late at night, when they do not have classes or other work. 

This brings us to the next great reason that you should explore micro-internships: They are really easy to weave into your life, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Since they’re remote and don’t have dedicated work times, you can apply to and complete these positions year-round, as opposed to the typical summer/winter cycle for internships. Also worth noting is that there is no need for downtime. You can quickly hop from one micro-internship to another, collecting tons of different work experiences. 

How do I actually get a micro-internship? 

Now that we’ve introduced you to all the micro-internship basics, it’s only natural to want to know how to get one! Believe it or not, micro-internships are extremely attractive for companies as well because they eliminate a lot of cost for the company. Think about it; the employer doesn’t have to pay for 12 weeks of wages, management, or the typical internship perks, like snacks or housing stipends. What this means for you is that it could be pretty simple to convince a company to give you a micro-internship, especially if you already have a relationship with them! 

Let’s look at a relevant example in the time of COVID-19. If your internship for this summer was canceled due to the pandemic, try reaching back out to see if the employer would be interested in giving you a micro-internship instead! 

If you didn’t have your internship cancelled, a potential strategy could be reaching out to the internship program manager at a company that you want to work at. Most intern program managers are just as upset as you are that they won’t have a full internship program this year. Let them know how you can add value at a low cost, and they’re likely to want to work with you!

All in all, micro-internships are a really effective way to fill any gaps on your resume during this strange period. We highly recommend checking out their viability for you!