An internship can help shape your career trajectory, expand your professional network, build your resume, and bolster your chances of securing meaningful employment after graduation. Students who benefit the most from internships are intentional in their internship planning. Below are some things to consider before you start your internship search.
Understand what an internship is:
- Time-limited experience (usually a quarter or two) in a workplace setting
- Stronger focus on student learning than is typical with part-time jobs
Get your materials together:
- Draft and polish a resume, cover letter, introductory email, and thank you email.
- The importance of these documents cannot be overstated. Take them seriously. Make sure they are error-free and tailored to specific internships.
Reflect on what you want out of an internship:
- Learn a new skill or practice a skill you recently learned
- Apply your classroom learning in a real-world setting
- Experience a new sector, industry, or work environment
- Explore an interesting career path
- Get your foot in the door at a specific organization
Prepare for interviews:
- Take time to investigate effective interview strategies, research the employer, and figure out how you’ll articulate your value to the employer.
- Schedule a mock interview with Career Services to practice your answers to common interview questions.
Think about logistics:
- Many internships are paid but some are not. How important is pay to you?
- Do you want to pay for and earn academic credit for the learning that takes place in your internship? Earning credit is optional (except for international students) and won’t affect your ability to receive pay from the employer.
- Does the internship involve meaningful work that is of value to the organization?
- Does the employer seem committed to helping you create learning goals and providing ongoing feedback?
- It’s never too early to do an internship, but your sophomore or junior year is a good target.
- Internships can happen any time of the year. When can you squeeze in a 10-15 hour a week internship?
Look for internships:
- Apply for positions you find through referrals, employer websites, internship sites, fairs, etc.
- Create your own by approaching an organization you feel passionate about with an internship proposal.
- Meet with a career counselor to develop an internship strategy
- Start perusing internship postings – Handshake, Internship Fair, departmental resources, etc.
- Utilize Career Services resources on internships, resumes, cover letters, interviews, and LinkedIn
- Check with your academic department about earning credit for the learning that takes place in an internship
- International students - talk to a CIE adviser about CPT.