NACE Career Readiness Competencies: Micro-Internship Impact

For Career Services professionals, the NACE Career Readiness Competencies are an invaluable tool for understanding the impact of various career activities being completed by students.  A variety of programs have evaluated a wide range of experiential education opportunities including on-campus internships, virtual internships, and general education coursework.  But how do Micro-Internships impact students’ career readiness?

Since the beginning of May 2022, Parker Dewey has been asking Career Launchers (i.e. students and recent grads) who recently completed Micro-Internships to reflect on the impact of these experiences. These questions are based on newly-revised framework as defined by NACE in 2020.  The chart below illustrates students' perceptions of how they have improved in these areas as a result of their Micro-Internship experiences.



Comprehensive Impact

The data is being collected on an ongoing basis, but the initial feedback from students showcases that even these short-term experiences (generally 10-40 hours in duration)  have a major impact on students’ perceptions of their career readiness. In fact, 95.8% of respondents felt that they improved in 3 or more of the competences as a result of their Micro-Internship(s).


Areas of Most Improvement
For Career Launchers looking to build skills and confidence related to Career & Self Development, Technology, and Professionalism in particular, the survey results indicate that Micro-Internships are a great opportunity. 100% of respondents so far indicated that Micro-Interns either improved or built confidence related to Career & Self Development as well as Technology. The improvement in Technology is especially beneficial to these Career Launchers considering the ever-increasing use of technology in the workplace. When it came to measuring improvement alone, Professionalism is the stand-out competency, with just over 83% of respondents reporting improvements in that ability as a result of their experience and an additional 12.5% reporting an increase in confidence.



The Importance of Confidence

Even for those students whose skills did not improve, most found an increase in confidence.  This result is significant as researchers have found that confidence can have a significant impact on career success. In every surveyed competency, at least 75% of Career Launchers reported either an improvement in the surveyed areas or an increase in confidence.

In the words of one student:

This was a large step up, as an industry professional-led project compared to my self-directed software projects in the past. I am certain that I want to work in this industry now.


These results are particularly important when considering that over 80% of Micro-Internships are completed by students from under-represented backgrounds. Many of these students can experience the imposter syndrome, a challenge that is being addressed more frequently at career centers including University of Florida, Northwestern, and Georgia Tech. The confidence built through Micro-Internships allow these students another opportunity to combat the ill effects of this phenomenon.


Implications for Employers
Employers have repeatedly found a significant mismatch between the competencies that are important and students’ performance in these areas. Based on the NACE Job Outlook 2022 employer survey, Critical Thinking was the competency where there was the greatest difference in employers’ perspective of the level of importance compared to employer perception of students’ proficiency. According to Micro-Internship data, 70.8% of survey respondents have reported an increase in their critical thinking having improved due to their Micro-Internship, and another 20.8% of respondents believed that they have built confidence in this area. 

For employers who are looking for students who are better prepared for the workplace, seeing Micro-Internships on a student’s resume can be a major differentiator in determining their readiness for the workplace. This is something we hear directly in conversations with students like Zach, Raeven and Teagan. It’s also something that students have said en masse with 100% of Career Launchers either extremely or very likely to recommend Parker Dewey to a friend. 

And it’s something we continue to hear from companies who are using Micro-Internships in a variety of ways to engage with early-career talent.


We look forward to continuing to provide updates about students’ perceptions of their career readiness. If you don’t offer Micro-Internships to your campus community, click here to learn more about how Parker Dewey can help.

If you have projects on your professional to-do list that could help Career Launchers increase their skill levels and build confidence in these abilities, post them on Parker Dewey.