It is more important than ever to participate in an internship or pre-professional experience before you look for a job upon graduation. Increasingly, employers want people with experience and an internship, or multiple internships, provides you with that experience. In the job search, having completed an internship clearly gives you an edge over those who haven't.
You can search for and complete an internship at any point during your undergraduate or graduate education. There are even internship opportunities available for recent graduates. Starting the internship search process either freshman or sophomore year allows you the flexibility to complete multiple internships in a variety of areas. By graduation, you will have a better understanding of where and how you like to work.
Many companies have structured internship programs open to students ranging from freshman status to recent graduates. You can find a listing of companies to start your search on the Internships page of the Career Services website. There are opportunities located in Minnesota, regionally and nationally for all areas of study offered at UMD.
- Short-term, supervised, pre-professional work experiences which provide you training and experience in a specific field or career area.
- Learning experiences where you are expected to be productive and add value to the organization.
- Available in a wide variety of fields and from a wide variety of employers.
- Be paid or unpaid.
- Be for academic credit or not.
- Be formal or informal.
- Vary in hours and length.
- Take place any time during formal education or after completion of your degree.
By participating in an internship, you may:
- Gain valuable, hands-on, work experience in a real life career field.
- Explore a career field of interest without making a commitment.
- Identify an employer for full-time employment after college.
- Evaluate and be evaluated by a potential employer.
- Integrate and complement academic studies with on-the-job professional level experience.
- Test personal aptitudes, abilities and interests in relation to your career choice and job demands.
- Develop marketable, transferable skills which employers value.
- Provide a valuable resource to an employer and make a real world impact.
Finding an internship is:
- Similar to finding a job. You look for opportunities and apply for them.
- Often easier than finding a job. Employers value the opportunity to evaluate interns as potential employees and benefit from the energy and ideas interns bring to the workplace.
During the internship, make the most of it by:
- Setting obtainable personal goals.
- Having regular meetings with your supervisor and asking questions when you have them.
- Being professional and maintaining a positive attitude.
- Immersing yourself in the experience and doing your best work.
- Networking with your colleagues.
- Tracking your accomplishments and the work you complete.
- Leaving on a positive note.
After the internship has ended:
- Reflect upon the experience. What did you learn?
- Update your resume.
- Send thank you notes to your supervisor and the colleagues with whom you closely worked.
- Ask your supervisor if she or he is willing to serve as a reference for you.
- Create or update your portfolio to be able to show evidence to future employers of the work you completed during your internship.
- Build upon the experience. If you liked your internship, consider what you can do next to keep gaining experience in the field.
- If you didn't like the internship setting, job duties, or the industry as a whole, meet with a career counselor to explore your next steps.