Jobs Wordle

Finding Internships

Steps to Finding an Internship

As you begin your internship search, don’t forget that Career Center advisors can help you every step of the way.  Are Career Advisors can provide you with internship search resources, industry insight, and tips to strengthening your internship application.

  • Step 1: Develop your Personal Profile

    Identify what you want from an internship experience:

    • What do you want to do?  
    • What interests you?  
    • What are your career goals?  
    • What skills and experiences do you hope to gain? 

    Identify your internship needs:

    • Time frame - When do you want an internship?  
    • Compensation needs - Do you need to be paid or can you afford a volunteer experience?  
    • Location preferred - Can you afford to relocate for an internship?  
    • Academic Credit - Do you want/need to earn credit for your experience? 

  • Step 2: Develop your application materials
    • Resume – Focused on the industry you are interested in.  Highlight your knowledge skills/abilities, and accomplishments (both work experience, class projects, volunteer work)
    • Cover Letter – Specific to each position you are applying to.  Explain how you will benefit their company (not how this internship will benefit you).  Use key words from the job description.
    • References – Ask professors and former supervisors if they would be willing to be a reference for you.  Generally 3-5 people.  Send them your current resume and contact them every time you provide their name.
    • Portfolio – Some fields require portfolios of your work, either electronic or hard copy.

  • Step 3: Start Searching & Identify Opportunities
    Using a variety of tools and resources when searching for an internship will help you be most effective.  Here are a few tools and resources you should be using during your search: 
    • Career Center resources (Hire a Vandal, Vault Career Insider, eCIS, etc.  Meet with a Career Advisor to learn more about the different resources we offer) 
    • Internet (companies you are interested in, professional associations, on-line job boards, or simply googling “internships in ____”)
    • Your Network (professors, family, friends, supervisors, etc.)  
    • Newspapers  

  • Step 4: Narrow Down Your Search
    • Decide on your top priority position, industry, or location
    • Start research employers according to your priorities
    • Be sure that the company & the internship match your Personal Profile (step 1)  
    • Note the deadlines for applications – job to step 5 if the deadline is soon
    • Rank the open positions that interest you and apply (step 5)
    • Rank the companies that interest you and contact them even if they do not have internships advertised (step 6)
    • Have a back-up plan according to your time frame

  • Step 5: Apply/Follow Up


    • ALWAYS follow the application instructions!!!  
    • Prepare and collect all application materials (resume, cover letter, transcripts, references, etc.)  
    • Send application materials to employer before the deadline.  

    Verify within one week that your application materials have been received:

    • Show your continued interest
    • Ask if you can provide them with anything else
    • Find out when they are setting up interviews (request an interview)
    • Mark your calendar for your next contact


    • If you don't hear from them in 4-6 weeks, contact them when they are setting up interviews to restate your interest and ask about a possible interview.

  • Step 6: Build Connections / Find the Hidden Market
    Contact companies you are interested in by phone email, or in person
    • Show your interest and knowledge of their company
    • Let them know you have looked at their website and have not found any openings
    • As if they have openings or know of any in the near future
    • Find out where they post openings and how often
    • Find out if they accept resumes when positions are not open and how long they keep them
    • If everything is NO, ask for a referral to another company

    Set up an information interview to gain industry information and build your network

    Build your personal brand through LinkedIn, Twitter, or by starting a blog

  • Step 7: Interviews
    • When contacted for an interview, write down the time, place, parking/directions,names & titles of those you will be interviewing with 
    • Research the company and your interviewers
    • Identify the skills and experience that YOU would bring to the company if hired  
    • Practice!  Questions you will be asked and questions for your interviewers  
    • Send a thank-you note within 1-2 days!  Don't just thank them for their time and consideration; use this as an opportunity to restate your interest in the position and highlight the strengths you want them to remember about you. 

  • Step 8: Offers / Final Decision
    • What Internship is the best fit for YOU? Review step 1 to see which internship best meets your personal profile.  
    • Offered the position?  Get all of the details (start date, work schedule, salary, job duties, etc.) before you make your decision.  
    • Didn't get the position?  If you didn't get the position, send them a note thanking them for their consideration and asking them to consider you for future openings.