What are internships?
Internships are opportunities to work directly in a career field that interests you. Many organizations sponsor formal internships and make them available through on-campus departments and University of San Diego Career Services. You might also consider creating an internship within an organization that interests you.
Internships vary according to responsibilities, work time involved (usually 10-15 hours weekly during the semester, up to 40 hours per week in summer), and compensation (hourly pay, class credit, or a stipend are all possibilities).
Internships are valuable, regardless of financial compensation. Internships allow you to learn firsthand about a career field, occupation, or organization. Internships help you increase your experience as you look toward entering a given career field. Internships also build your network of contacts for learning about job openings, other organizations, and the professional climate within a city.
How do I apply for internships?
Respond to an internship announcement according to the directions, which usually suggest emailing a resume or submitting it online. Prepare a resume and cover letter that address the needs the employer has for the internship. Be sure to comment on how you could contribute to their organization.
A few days after you have sent your materials, contact the organization to see that they have been received. Be ready to discuss the following: your interest in the internship, your availability to interview, your availability to start the internship, and your knowledge of the organization.
Meeting with Your Internship Supervisor
Once you have accepted an internship, arrange an initial meeting with your supervisor. Here are matters that you will likely discuss, which can affect your internship experience:
- Start and end dates for the internship
- Working hours (and time off if you have previous conflicting commitments that occur during a holiday or school break)
- Dress code and any professional standards for behavior
- Identity verification requirements that the organization may need to complete for the state and federal governments
- If a stipend is provided, how is it provided and when
- Your work space (access via keys or identity badges), support technology (computer, email account), and transportation (parking availability and location of employee parking)
- Expectations: those of your supervisor and those that you may have
During this initial meeting, pay close attention to how your supervisor prefers to interact. For example, does she need time to consider requests or does she reply immediately? Learn from your interaction and use this knowledge as you work with your supervisor.
As you look toward ending your internship, check to make sure that you have completed your projects. Arrange a time to have a final meeting with your supervisor.
Prior to a final meeting with your supervisor, review your internship journal or portfolio to see the types of projects, skills, and knowledge that you gained. Be ready to discuss these items with your supervisor in an attempt to show how the internship contributes to the organization. During this meeting also request a letter of recommendation or a recommendation on Linked In.
After your internship, write thank-you notes to your supervisor and others with whom you worked closely. Include information such as appreciation for the experience, a synthesis of what you gained, gratitude for any recommendations, and your current contact information.
Follow up with your internship supervisor from time to time, especially after s/he has been contacted as a reference for your next internship or job. Express your appreciation for his/her support.
"I want to thank you for taking the time to help me perfect my resume. I was offered five internships at the Internship Fair. I am set up for this semester through the summer with internship positions."