How to Start Your Internship Search
- Visit the Career Center: the Career Center may have listings of internships and can help teach you how to market yourself to potential employers.
- Attend Workshops and Career Fairs: the Career Center also offers numerous workshops and career fairs to help students find jobs and internships. Some colleges within the University also offer career fairs specific to your field. A list of upcoming events can be found online.
- Create a Handshake Account: many internship opportunities will be posted on Handshake. The Career Center can help students create a free account.
- Meet with an internship advisor: most colleges, including the Honors College or your major college, have an internship director who can meet with you to give you more individual advice and help you find an internship that will be a good fit.
- Talk to Your Network: talk to your professors, family members, friends, neighbors, etc. You never know what contacts people have until you ask. Any of these people might work at, or know someone who works at, an organization that you are interested in.
- Make Direct Contact: if you are interested in a specific company, explore the careers or human resources pages on their website. If the organization doesn’t advertise internship positions online, you can use the contact information on their website to make a connection and find out if they would be interested in taking on an intern. Some colleges and professional clubs, such as Delta Sigma Pi or Women in Business, also organize visits to major companies that allow you to learn more about various careers and existing internship programs and requirements.
Career Center Web Resources This website provides extensive online resources to search for internship opportunities by major, area of interest, location, or other criteria as well as job search and resume help and career information.
Tips for Success
Once you've found an internship that interests you, it's time to start applying.
- Polish your resume. Most internships require applicants to submit a resume, and often require a cover letter or CV as well. The career center has sample resumes to show you how to format based on your career field, as well as other resume and cover letter resources on their website. It is also helpful to take these documents in to the career center and have someone critique them.
- Dress your best. Suggested attire for most job interviews is a black suit, white dress shirt, and black dress shoes, plus a dark colored tie for guys. Clothes should fit properly and be clean and well ironed. Hair should also be neat, clean, and out of your face.
- Be prepared. Bring a copy of your resume with you, even if you already sent one with your application. Do research online so you are familiar with the company, as well as your interviewer if you know in advance who it will be. Practice interviews are also a great idea and can be set up through the career center. This well help you be less nervous and know what type of questions you can probably expect.
- Ask questions. It is just as important for you to know that this internship is a good fit for you as it is for them to know if you are a good fit for the company. When the interviewer asks if you have any questions towards the end of the interview, have a few prepared. However, make sure you do not ask anything that could easily have been found online.
- Follow up. It is a great idea to send an email later that day thanking the interviewer for his or her time. If you do not hear anything back about the job after a reasonable amount of time, it does not hurt to call or send an email and inquire about the position. This is a polite way to remind the potential employer you are still interested.
- It is important that students understand that job scams can occur through numerous channels. We are aware of students being scammed through a variety of well-known mainstream job boards, as well as by simply responding to an unsolicited email, text message or call about a job opportunity.
Success on the job — now that you have landed the job, it is important to be at your bestso that you can have a positive, educational experience and leave with new skills and good references.
- Communicate effectively and often. Meet with your supervisor to discuss your strengths, how to best put your skills to use, and how you can gain new skills. Ask for feedback on your performance and actually listen when it is given. You can also work with your supervisor to set goals for yourself.
- Be responsible. Always be on time (which actually means 10-15 minutes early) and meet your deadlines.
- Work hard and take initiative. Your job is to produce results and make life easier for your supervisor. Try to anticipate what they might need and deliver it before they ask. Never sit around because there is “nothing to do,” find a way to be productive.
- Network and market yourself. You never know who you will meet in the office. Be prepared with an “elevator pitch” or business cards. Introduce yourself to everyone and talk to as many people as possible. This means asking them questions about themselves and what they do in addition to selling yourself. Seek out a mentor, whether it is your supervisor or someone else.
- Dress the part. Dressing well does not end after the interview, however, depending on your field, your internship may require different levels of professional attire. Some offices may require a suit every day, while others may be slightly more laid back, but you should always look professional. Pay attention to what others in your office wear and do your best to match that. Dressing well shows attention to detail and that you care about your job.
- Keep records of your work. You may want to keep a weekly “log” of what you did or save copies of some of your work for your own file. Keeping a weekly log can help you improve your resume with action verbs and specific skills. You will also be much more impressive at future job interviews if you can provide examples of your work or talk about specific experiences and skills you learned.
- Don’t look at any task as unimportant or beneath you. Be enthusiastic about anything you are asked to do and do it to the absolute best of your ability, even if it is making copies or sorting mail.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. You are at your internship to contribute to the organization, but you are also there to learn. Your supervisor should understand that you are still a student, and it is better to ask a question when you don’t understand than to make a mistake that could have been easily avoided. However, make sure you are not asking the same questions over and over.