Internship Guide

What is an Internship?

An internship is an on-site practical work experience in a company or organization that can provide you with firsthand knowledge of a career field. The internship you choose may be related to a major or directly related to your career interest but often is a way for you to explore an entirely different field. Internships often complement your coursework, and are available during the academic year or over the summer. You can incorporate your skills and classroom experience into the workplace while developing new abilities and skills. Internships also provide you with important networking opportuni-
ties. Internships may be paid or unpaid – either way, the rewards are great.

Why is an Internship Important?

  • 25% of employers surveyed indicated that their new college hires come from within the companies internship program.
  • 55% of responding employers indicate that new college hires have previous internship experience.
  • 64% of the employers say they pay new full-time hires with internship experience an average of 8.9% more than their inexperienced counterparts.

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey

Who can do an Internship?

Every student can benefit from one or several internships. Unless a company or organization specifies a class, all students may apply. Be aware of deadlines and the fact that some internship postings are targeted for recent graduates. Otherwise, it’s never too early to explore your career options. Many students plan to do an internship the summer after their junior year, but any time you can devote to an internship is the right time. During the academic year you may only be able to devote 6-10 hours per week to an internship. During the summer months you may wish to work anywhere from 20-40 hours each week. There is no specific number of internship sites that you should plan to contact. How you research and select potential sponsors will be entirely up to you. A Career Center counselor can work with you every step of the way. The sooner you begin your internship search, the more likely you are to succeed. Internships are great resume builders.

Why do an Internship?

Internships are an important element of your career development process. An internship is not the same as a short-term job, internships have structured learning goals, provide you with supervision and offer an experiential learning component that can strengthen your resume. Internships can expand your knowledge of yourself and provide you with insight to the career fields that interest you. You will also gain marketable skills related to the field and make important contacts. Internships allow you to apply your classroom knowledge in the workplace. You can find out what you like (or don’t like) about various types of jobs while determining the best fit for your career preference and interests. Today companies and organizations prefer to hire students who have gained practical work experience through an internship.

To summarize, a successful internship experience can help you…

  • make decisions about career choices.
  • learn more about specific career fields.
  • enable you to acquire new skills.
  • make valuable contacts in your areas of interest.
  • build your resume with practical experience.
  • lead to full time employment at your internship site.
  • provide recommendations for future job searches.
  • prepare for advanced study.

What is a Quality Internship?

An excellent internship allows you to work under a supervisor who will provide you with direction, monitor your duties and spend time mentoring you. If possible, you should plan to visit the internship site and meet the staff before you accept an offer. It is best to be aware of your personal goals and expectations before you consider an internship. How can this organization utilize my skills? Do I like to work alone or in a group? Although you may be required to perform some mundane tasks, the majority of your time should be spent working on projects that enable you to learn about the organization and the field while building your skills.

Preparing for an Internship

A successful internship experience requires awareness of your specific needs and an understanding of the options available to you. Setting your priorities at the onset of your search is very important. It is much more productive to launch your internship search if you have some direction instead of being willing to do anything, anywhere. If you need help, make an appointment to meet with a counselor. Also, visit the Career Exploration section of our site to begin your self assessment.

Internship Resources at the Career Center

Need Credit For an Internship?

If your internship employer requires that you receive credit for doing the internship, you should go to the Registrar’s Office on the second floor of Hopkins and ask for a letter to be sent to your employer.

Other Valuable Resources

  • Intern Inc. contains a large pool of businesses (including Fortune 500 companies) that are always looking for interns. Access is easy, just sign up.
  • The University of Denver has compiled this list of links for International Internships.
  • Internship Queen – Lauren focuses on how to get an internship and all that entails: How to search for, apply for, and land an internship. Now that she has partnered with, students can directly connect with the internships of their dreams through a personalized internship service. These are not internships taken from other sites, but original opportunities and employers that they are directly in contact with on a day to day basis.
  • Think Intern allows you to browse internships by industry, job types, location.
  • offers summer jobs and seasonal staff positions with camps, amusement parks, resorts, national parks, hotels, environmental organizations and more.
  • is a database of over 2,000 internship opportunities in a wide variety of fields in nonprofit organizations in 160 countries.
  • Websites of professional organizations
    Many professional associations offer internship postings on their websites or on-line publications.
  • Chambers of Commerce
    To locate worldwide Chambers of Commerce go to: The chambers typically list member organizations by field along with staff contact information and related website links.
  • World Wide Web search engines
    Conduct a key word search to identify prospective internship sponsors. Using a combination of key words can produce names of organizations in fields and areas of interest (i.e. “curatorial internship Boston museum”)
  • News media
    Utilize print and broadcast media to keep up with current activities of prospective internship sponsors. Newspapers, magazines, television and radio networks can spark ideas and provide information about cutting edge trends and new organizations.
  • State employment agencies
    State employment offices have listings of a variety of positions in all areas.
  • Temporary employment agencies
    Agencies such as Kelly Services will place you in positions based on your skills and experience. There are a variety of positions to be filled besides typing. Temporary agencies are extremely flexible and are ideal if you only want to work part of the summer.