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Selecting an Internship

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Consider these three sets of information in order to be successful during your internship search and beyond.

Step 1: Self

1. “Why do I want an internship?”

Answering this question will help you:

  • Focus your search

  • Articulate your learning objectives to potential employers

  • Consider your long term career goals

2. Evaluate yourself to better direct your search

  • Personal Interests: What do you enjoy doing? What issues are you passionate about?

  • Academic Interests: What do you desire to learn or experience?

  • Career or Grad School Goals: Do you see yourself entering the workforce, or continuing your education?

  • Work Values: What is important to you? What rewards do you seek?

  • Skills: What skills and previous experience do you have to offer? What skills do you want to develop or enhance?

Step 2: Curriculum

1. Do you understand what career opportunities are available in a given field?

  • What competencies/skills/knowledge are most desired?

  • What coursework or certifications might be necessary?

  • What might a typical path look like in your field?

  • What issues are likely to affect the future of this profession?

To help you answer this question, conduct Informational Interviews.

2. Gather information from the following resources

  • Career Services staff

  • Faculty

  • Peer Advisors (current/previous interns)

  • Conferences

  • Professional associations/chapters

  • Previous supervisors

3. Narrow down your choices

What criteria do you need to know when selecting an internship? Consider the following:

  • Type of experience

  • Organizational mission

  • Geographic location

  • Pay

  • Reputation

  • Product

  • Academic credit

  • Timing or number of hours per week

4. After Researching… Evaluate

  • Develop a list of 10-30 organizations to target

  • Consider how they align with your goals and criteria

  • Determine if you meet the organization’s requirements (class year, major, skills, etc.)

Step 3: World of Work

1. Get organized

  • Organize a binder or folder specifically for your search

  • Establish a method for tracking your outreach and applications

  • Dedicate time to your search everyday

  • Create a professional voicemail message on your cell phone

  • Refine your online identify

2. Compile basic tools

  • Visit Career Services for a Resume Review; tailor your resume for each position you apply to

  • Create a LinkedIn profile

  • Develop a cover letter that specifically addresses the qualifications outlined in the job description

3. Prepare for the interview

  • Practice your elevator pitch

  • Visit to review interview tips and potential questions

  • Attend a Mock Interview Day or schedule a Mock Interview with Career Services staff

  • Develop a list of thoughtful questions to ask the employer

  • Select appropriate attire for interviews. For ideas, visit our Pinterest, linked on the homepage of our website

4. Follow-up

  • Write and send a handwritten thank-you note to each interviewer

  • Follow up consistently via email and phone call

  • Broaden your search as needed

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