STEP 1 – Set goals, make decisions.
There are a number of practical considerations that you will need to address:
STEP 2 – Getting Approval from your Faculty Advisor
- Pay: Do you have to be paid for your internship, or can you afford to consider unpaid opportunities? (Many internships are unpaid or pay a low wage. Fields such as business and finance, technology, and the sciences often provide compensation, while many arts and nonprofit organizations cannot afford to pay you.)
- What is your geographic preference? For a summer internship, if you are not living at home, where will you live, and can you afford to support yourself during the summer?
- Will you be using public transportation, or will you have a car available?
- Career field: What industry or career field do you want to target? There are many ways to answer this question.
- Some students simply choose to do an internship related to their major – a marketing major may choose to do a marketing internship, or a communications major may do a public relations internship.
- Other students may be drawn to a particular field, such as sports, the arts, national security, or the environment, simply out of personal interest, even though that interest may not be reflected in their major.
- Some students really don't know what industry or career field to try. Often these students will find that some “self-assessment” is helpful. The Office of Career Development is available to help you with assessment.
- Academic Credit: Will you be completing an internship for academic credit? Some major require internships. Be sure to meet with your faculty advisor, register and complete a learning contract. (see Step 2.)
In most majors offered here at The College of New Rochelle there are 3 to 6 credits available toward internships; for some majors, internships are required. Each student needs to meet with their faculty advisor to get approval for an internship opportunity, and very often the faculty advisor will be able to provide some contacts for specific internship opportunities in their field.
If your internship is for credit, it is just like a class and you will need to register for it just like you do for all classes. Additionally you will need to complete a learning contract and submit it to the Dean's office. You can get learning contracts from your academic advisor or from the Dean's office.
In addition to for credit internships a student may be able to do a not for credit internship with an organization, volunteer or get a job in an industry they are considering.
The Career Development Office can provide strategies on pursuing these opportunities.
STEP 3 – Prepare your resume and cover letters, apply to internships.
First, remember that the Office of Career Development is available to help you with this entire process. We highly recommend that you:
- Attend a Resume Boot Camp
- Bring your resume and cover letters in for critiques.
A few words about resumes:
STEP 4 – Interviews and Choosing
Practice and prepare! Practice and prepare! Practice and prepare!
- You choose what gets the most attention on your resume - and that should reflect the skills and experiences that you think the employer will find most valuable for the particular internship you are applying for.
- Your unpaid experiences (extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, unpaid internships, leadership roles) may be of equal or greater value than your paid work experiences. You can highlight these experiences and explain them in detail on your resume, just as you would your paid experiences.
You are generally competing with other students for an internship – the more prestigious, or the more interesting, or the better the pay, the tougher the competition. SO – the best way to get that good internship is to:
- Practice – The Office of Career Development runs several interview workshops or you can schedule a one on one session with a counselor.
- Prepare – research the organization – know what they do, and how, and where. THINK about questions they might ask you, and questions you want to ask them.
Remember, the more you prepare, and the more you practice, the easier this process will become.
Choosing an internship can be tricky. Here's a fact – some internships may not be what you expect. You're making coffee, sorting mail, or even returning your boss's sour milk to the store! Many internships involve at least some grunt work. BUT a good internship will allow you to be challenged in some way, to learn about a career field or industry, and to pick up new skills that will be valuable to you and to future employers.
How do you avoid the crummy internships? Ask questions during your interview!!!
- What percentage of my time will I be spending at each type of activity?
- Can you describe what a typical day will be like for me as an intern?
- What type of training will I receive? From whom?
- Will my work be monitored on a regular basis? Will I get regular feedback on my work? From whom?