Creating internships

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
  • View sample resumes on our website
  • Get 1:1 coaching on creating internships - make an appointment


  • 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.