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The Power of the Internship PDF Print E-mail

An internship refers to a real world work experience in which a student participates to learn about and gain experience in a potential career field and develop job skills. It is a sort of trial run with a company and is one of the best ways to test out a potential career or employer.

Can I get paid for an Internship?

Maybe.  Some internships include monetary compensation, other internships provide no remuneration.  

Can I get Academic Credit for an Internship?

Possibly.  To determine whether you can earn academic credit for an internship opportunity, check with the internship coordinator in your department.


Why Internships are Important

  • Gain valuable work experience before graduating
  • Develop skills
  • Evaluate personal likes and dislikes that will enable you to make sound career decision
  • Develop professional contacts
  • Gain confidence in your abilities
  • Build a stronger résumé that will help in obtaining full-time employment.


Key to Success

Determine Your Goals

  • What can you do? Know your skills, abilities, interests and values.
  • Review your educational background. What do you like/dislike about school?
  • Do you want to work with people, data, things, or ideas and why?
  • How important is work environment, salary, benefits, geographic location, and/or time off?

Identify Prospective Employers

Organization directories, the Yellow Pages, and local newspapers are useful sources to pinpoint organizations of interest, including summer employers: hotels, camps, convention centers, government agencies, etc. The Jones Resource Center provides reference books, company listings, and websites for internships and summer jobs.

Develop a Résumé to Emphasize Skills

A résumé can effectively present your background and distinguish you from other job seekers. What do you have to offer?  Think about technical, clerical, communication, artistic, organizational, computer, and language skills.

Start Contacting Employers Early

If you seek a career-related position, it is appropriate to contact the manager of a local organization in your area of interest, as well as the Human Resources Department, as early as three or four months in advance.

Complete Application and Prepare for Interviews

For a general, non-career-related position, you may be asked to complete and return a formal application.  Complete the forms neatly and type them when possible. If granted an interview, demonstrate a positive attitude and be prepared to answer questions about your background.

Follow Up All Interviews

Always send a thank-you letter to the interviewer.  Your interest and enthusiasm will distinguish you from other job seekers.

Finding the Right Internship

More employers are using work experiences as screening devices to assess the skills and abilities of prospective employees.  Skills learned on the job supplement the skills learned in the classroom.  Interns who have proved themselves to a company throughout a semester of successful on-the-job experience will be favored candidates for full-time positions.

Clarify the Following before Accepting an Offer

  • What is the name of the individual to whom you will be responsible?
  • What are the working hours and how flexible will your schedule be?
  • Will you be paid and/or receive academic credit?
  • What kinds of day-to-day assignments can you expect to receive?
  • Are there any special requirements in connection with the work?
  • Where will you be working throughout your experience?
  • Will travel be necessary as part of your responsibilities?
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