By: Laura Droste, Liberal Arts & Social Sciences career advisor

Did you know it was possible to turn an existing part-time job into an internship? Many students I meet have paid part-time jobs that can be hard to give up in order to intern somewhere else. There are only so many hours in the day. This is why it is important to know how to ‘upgrade’ your part-time job into an internship experience.

Here are some recent examples:

Position: Expeditor at casual dining restaurant

Original Duties: Work in the kitchen to ensure orders are cooked in a timely fashion; work with servers to confirm food was delivered to customers’ tables.

Internship Upgrade: In addition to working as an expeditor, the student committed 10 hours per week for 10 weeks to the following responsibilities:

  • Assisted managers with bi-weekly inventory counts
  • Trained a new employee
  • Helped transition the restaurant to new software system by learning how to use the program and attending webinars to learn how to teach staff to use it

Position: Floor Associate at retail store

Original Duties: Greet customers entering store, clean and organize merchandise on floor and work at the register.

Internship Upgrade: In addition to regular store duties, the student committed 10 hours per week for 10 weeks to the following responsibilities:

  • Assisted in the hiring process of a new employee by participating in interviews
  • Trained new hire
  • Assisted managers with staff scheduling
  • Shadowed conference calls with direct managers and other store managers to learn about business metrics and plans
  • Compiled business reports for store manager by first learning how to read and articulate reports

Sound great? Here are the University Internship Program (UIP) standards that must be met when upgrading your part-time job:

  • Allow you to explore career development issues and interests
  • Open up opportunities for you to enhance analytical, technical and interpersonal skills
  • Cannot entail more than 25% clerical work
  • Involve substantial interaction with professional staff
  • Be supervised or mentored by a paid professional within the organization
  • Require a minimum of 10 hours per week and a minimum of 100 hours total work experience
  • Require at least 10 consecutive weeks of work, or same amount of weeks as the term of enrollment (e.g. Winter intersession term is only three weeks long)

Enrolling in a UIP course while you intern will allow you to fulfill your experiential learning requirement. This is why it is important for your upgraded part-time job responsibilities to meet the above standards. While this is an opportunity to make the most of an existing part-time job, also keep in mind that internships are helpful when exploring career options and critical when building experience for the career path you want to pursue. Whether you create an internship opportunity from an existing job or apply to a new company/organization, always be working towards your career goals.