Internship Resources

What is an Internship?

In general, internships are short-term commitments between an employer and student wherein a student gains valuable exposure to a career field and the employer meets the goals of the company while supporting the success of a growing professional. While internships may lead to long-term employment relationships, the norm is for the internship to have a pre-determined termination date. Internships can be paid or unpaid experiences that may translate into academic credit.

The Benefits of Completing an Internship

Experiences help build your resumé — Job hunting is very competitive and any relevant work experience, especially if the experience is in your related field, is an advantage.

Informed Career Choice — The life and profession you are imagining may not be the reality of real-world work. A quality internship can help you decide on the career path that is right for you or steer you toward a career focus within your degree field.

Networking — Professional connections can be critical to making career decisions. Networking can opens doors, steer you to job leads, and provide valuable references or recommendations. When it comes to getting hired, the most important factor is not always what you know or even whom you know, but rather who knows you!

Potential Permanent Employment — For many employers, an internship is a great way to discover future permanent hires. If the internship goes well, the employer may want to keep the intern employed during the school year or hire the student upon graduation. Even if the internship does not translate directly into a job, applications from students who have already worked as an intern for the company are stronger applications.

Cooperative Work Experience or Co-Op

Cooperative work experiences are much like internships with two basic differences: co-ops are most often paid positions and the employment relationship is aimed at taking a student from temporary student employee to permanent hire after graduation. Thus co-ops are longer-term commitments.

Internship/Co-op versus Job or Community Service

The key difference between an internship or co-op and a short-term job or community service is the experiential learning component. An internship or co-op should involve an element of the student being trained for, exposed to, or experiencing the professional world in their discipline. A proper internship or co-op should be a résumé-building experience that enhances the student’s academic course of study.

Student Internship FAQ

When should I consider looking for an internship?

Ideally, students who have just finished their sophomore year or later often are preferred applicants. (Note: Some employers have age and citizenship requirements) If you schedule allows, it is recommended your last two summers before graduating should be spent in an internship.

As far as timing, many companies begin internship recruiting in the Fall. September and October are prime months for attending career fairs, surfing job boards, and watching your favorite employers to catch internships when they are posted. Commonly, companies take applications in the Fall, interview in January/February, and hire interns in early Spring for Summer internships. However, not all companies are always early or proactive. Keep your eyes open for opportunities year-round. It is never too late!

How do I find an internship?

There are several places to go to find internship opportunities.

What kind of internship is right for me?

If you are like most people, you will search for and consider just about any internship in your field as a first step, but before you apply, ask these questions:

  • Is this a paid or unpaid position? Does it work with my schedule?
  • What do you know about the company? It’s industry, culture, or mission?
  • What do you know about the job? What will you learn?
  • What is the time frame? Summer only? Is there a definite end date?
  • What long-term possibilities exist? Future permanent employment?
  • What opportunities will you be giving up if you take the internship?

Only YOU can decide if the answers to the questions are good or bad. Ultimately, the internship has to add value to your overall career plans.

If I am thinking of going to graduate or professional school, should I find an internship?

Yes! Graduate and professional school applications are often stronger when you have a relevant work experience in your history. In addition, the professional with whom you work may be a great reference for the application. The experience itself my help you identify a specialty or particular focus within your discipline to pursue in school.

How do I apply for an internship?

Internship applications are very similar to full-time job applications. A high-quality résumé and cover letter will be needed. If you are applying with a staffing agency like ANR, you want your résumé to be expansive to show all your skills (and be considered for a variety of internships). If you are applying to a Federal program (like SULI), you will apply first through the appropriate site (like DOE’s

For most internships, you will apply directly to the company in the same way you would for a full-time job. If you are unsure about what to do, let us help you!

Have Questions?

Contact Jordyn Creighton, Director of Campus Student Support Services at 

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