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How To Find Your Own Internship
Ultimately, you are expected do much of the research on your own to find your internship. Researching, applying for, and interviewing for an internship are all part of the internship's learning process. You will be using these skills in the future when looking for and applying for a job.
Don't find an internship simply to "find an internship"; or to earn course credit. Interns who have done this in the past report getting very little of use out of the internship;and being miserable while completing it. This internship is your first opportunity to work in your future career field, so make the most of it!
Once you have found an internship opportunity, go to Applying for and Setting Up the Internship.
Unsure of what specific field you are interested in?
Here are some tips:
- Visit Career Services. This campus office is not just for people seeking jobs. The office has tools that help you understand what your interests are and where your talents lie.
Check out these sites to help you find the career that best fits you:
O*NET OnLine. This site allows you to pick skills that you have or plan to acquire and then find occupations that match those skills. This site is run by the National O*NET Consortium, organized to develop products for the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Queendom. This site that offers a variety of career tests, including tests on career style and creative problem-solving.
Once you find your career field, read the section below.
Have a specific career field in mind?
These tips will help you.
- Talk to people whose career interests you. Ask them about the possible need for an intern at their organization.
- Use the Internet to search for local companies involved in your field. Find out as much as you can about a company you may be interested in. Websites might list the names of employees who would know about whether the company hires interns. If it's a small company, you might talk to the owner or manager. For larger companies, ask to speak to the human resources director. Don't be afraid to make these cold calls; Employers appreciate the initiative you are showing to gain valuable experience.
- You may not want to limit your research to local companies. There are many national and international internship opportunities. (The federal government offers internship programs, as do national companies such as Disney.) For these internships, however, you will want to prepare well in advance, since they usually have early application deadlines.
- Visit Career Services to search their database for internships.
- Job search websites often include a database of available internships. Download this file for a list of job search websites: Job Hunting Guide (Word).
- Nonprofits can be great places to do internships. Nonprofits often have more work than they can handle, so interns get a lot of responsibility and can practice a variety of skills. Also, you get the extra reward of working for a cause you believe in. Contact a nonprofit you are interested in to ask about internships.
- For journalists, visit the local newspaper office. Small, local newspapers will often given you lots of varied experience;from copyediting to photography to writing headlines and stories
Applying for and Setting up the Internship
Once you have discovered an internship opportunity, follow these steps:
- If you haven't done so already, download and read the documents found on the Course Requirements page.
- If the company already has an internship program set up, it will have an application and interview process that you will follow. If this is the case, then proceed to step 3.
- If the company has never had an intern or has had a few interns but has no formal internship program, set up a time to meet with someone in the organization to discuss an internship opportunity.
- Treat your first meeting with an intern supervisor like you would a job interview. Bring your resume and dress professionally. Research the company and what it does/produces. When discussing internship opportunities, you should be aware of the types of skills you would want to practice and gain during the internship. For a list of these skills, look at the Internship Agreement available on the Course Requirements page. You want to avoid internships that limit you to performing repetitive, nominal tasks that don't challenge you or build on your skills.
- Once your intern supervisor has hired you, discuss the internship agreement with your supervisor. Be sure you both understand what tasks you will be completing.
- Discuss your schedule with the supervisor and how you will be recording your hours. Include this information on the agreement.
- Fill out the agreement with your supervisor, sign it, and make copies: the original should be turned in to the Internship Program Director at Armstrong, one copy goes to the supervisor, and one copy is for you.
- Begin the internship!