Creating Internships

Applying to open positions isn’t the only way to find an internship.  Many students create their own.  Employers without structured internship programs (most often smaller companies and non-profits) aren’t necessarily closed off to the idea of having interns…they’re just waiting for curious, self-motivated students to reach out to them!

Reflect & Research

  • Find an organization you’re genuinely passionate about…you love their products, care about the population they serve, believe in their mission, etc.
  • Reflect on what you want out of an internship…to hone a skill you learned in class, develop a new skill, practice a new style of working, experience a new work setting, etc.
  • Figure out a good-fit contact within the organization...somebody who works in a department of interest to you, somebody with whom you share something in common, or somebody who knows somebody you know.

Write & Refine

  • Tailor your resume to showcase your most relevant skills and experiences.
  • Write a one-page proposal letter (similar to a cover letter) that covers the following:
    • How do you know about the employer and why are you interested in interning there?
    • How can you contribute to their organization? Give brief ideas of projects you can work on, problems you can help solve, populations you can serve, etc.
    • How are you qualified?  What knowledge, skills, and experience would help you be successful there?
    • What do you want to learn from them?  Share some brief ideas; you’ll create actual learning goals later.
    • Available start date, preferred end date, and approximate number of hours per week you’re available.
  • Craft a professional email with a short, compelling summary of what’s in your attached resume and proposal.
  • Have your documents reviewed and then polish them.

Reach Out

  • Consider setting up a meeting with your contact to discuss your proposal or get advice.
  • Prepare to give your resume and proposal letter to your contact or a hiring manager on a specific team when appropriate.
  • Follow-up in a week or two…and then follow-up one more time if you don’t hear back.
  • Send thank you notes to your contacts and the employers who engaged with you.

Note: These tasks do not have to be completed in the order presented.  For example, you could set up a meeting with a contact first and then create a proposal that builds on what you discussed.  Do what works for your situation!

What to do next

  • Go to events where you’ll meet employers and other contacts
  • Connect with potential employers at linkedin.com
  • View sample resumes on our website
  • Get 1:1 coaching on creating internships - make an appointment

 

Tips

  • Connections can be key.  Resist the urge to sit behind your computer and randomly send a gazillion resumes.
  • Enthusiasm goes a long way.  Isn’t it fun seeing somebody light up (on paper or in person) when they’re passionate about something?!
  • Make it easy for them.  Employers like when candidates spell out how they can contribute or bring value as interns.