What Do You Want For an Internship

Updated: Apr 23

Take time to reflect and assess your current situation.


Four young adults stand around a busy office desk.

Person standing in front of a teal backdrop

Understand yourself and your goals...


"Why do I want an internship?”



Answering these questions will:

  • Help to focus your search

  • Help to articulate your learning objectives to potential employers

  • Help you to think about your long term goals for your career

Assess Yourself to Better Direct Your Search

  • Personal Interests: What do you enjoy doing? What issues are you passionate about?

  • Academic Interests: What do you most desire to learn or experience?

  • Career or Grad School Goals: What do you see yourself doing for the near future?

  • Work Values: What is important to you? What rewards do you seek?

  • Personal Abilities: What skills and abilities do you have to offer? What skills do you want to develop or enhance?

Person looking out a large window over a city

Explore opportunities...


Do you have a basic awareness of opportunities in a given profession?




  • Do you understand what career opportunities are available in a given field?

  • What competencies/skills/knowledge are most desired?

  • What might a typical path look like in your field?

  • What issues are likely to affect the future of this profession?

To help you answer these questions:

  • Conduct an Informational Interview(s)

  • Review Professional Journals

  • Conduct Web or Library research

Gather more information by checking out these resources...

Narrow down your choices...

What criteria do you have for selecting an Internship? Consider the following:

  • Type of Experience

  • Organizational Mission

  • Geographic Location

  • Pay

  • Reputation

  • Product

  • Academic Credit

  • Timing or # of Hours per week

After research evaluate...

  • Develop a list of 10-30 target organizations

  • Review in light of your goals and criteria

  • Do you meet the organizational requirements (class year, major, skills)?


Person holing out their hand for a handshake

Now here are some steps in securing an internship:


Get organized...





  • Organize a spreadsheet, binder or folder specifically for your search

  • Establish a record–keeping method

  • Dedicate time and space to your search everyday

  • Create a professional outgoing message on your cell phone

  • Refine your On-line identity

Compile basic tools...

  • Resume ~ you may need more than one!

  • Create a LinkedIn profile

  • Develop a cover letter with customized paragraphs for each position

Prepare for the interview...

  • Develop an "elevator speech”. The answer to the question "Tell me about yourself."

  • Review tips & potential common interview questions

  • Conduct a mock interview with Career Services

  • Develop a list of questions to ask the employer based on research

  • Identify appropriate clothing

Follow-up...

  • Write a thank you note after an interview within 24 hours

  • Be persistent with calls, emails but don't stalk

  • Broaden your search as needed

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