An internship is a great way for you to gain valuable experience and build your resume. Internships can allow you to:
- Gain insight on your career goals
- Test out different work environments
- Build your resume and develop industry-specific skills
- Shape and grow your professional network
- Practice the job search process
Searching for and Securing an Internship
If you’re not quite sure where you would want to intern or which career field you would like to gain exposure to, you can make an appointment with a Career Center exploratory advisor to help you explore and clarify your skills, values, and interests.
If you have a general idea of your internship preferences, you can:
- Apply to posted internship positions on sites like Handshake, NIC, and CEI Internships
- Learn about potential internships or research opportunities through networking
- Participate in the Internships in Europe program
You can also gain valuable experience by:
- Becoming a fellow
- Working as research assistant or conducting independent research
- Volunteering though RCCL
Paid, Unpaid and Credit Internships
While some employers offer paid internships, an unpaid internship can be an equally valuable opportunity. If you secure an unpaid internship or research position for the summer, you can apply for REACH funding to help cover some of your expenses.
The University of Rochester also offers options for receiving academic credit for completing an unpaid internship. If you’re interested in learning about internship for credit options, we recommend speaking with your academic advisor, academic department or contacting the College Center for Advising Services.
Maximizing your Internship Experience
Starting a new internship or research position can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. You can get the most out of your internships by approaching it as you would a full-time, permanent job, learn as much as you can and concentrate on expanding your professional skills and contacts.
Here are some additional tips for making the most of your experience:
1. Identify your goals: Before you start, think about what you hope to learn and achieve. Approach assignments with initiative and enthusiasm, and seek out new challenges and learning opportunities.
2. Ask questions: Remember, you aren’t expected to know everything. Ask for help when you need it to avoid making mistakes. If you come up with new ideas or ways of doing something be sure to discuss them with your supervisor. There may be limitations as to what you can do in your role as an intern.
3. Be a team player: Build relationships by treating everyone you meet with respect and professionalism. Think of ways you can become a contributing team member and take the time to learn about other divisions or departments.
4. Learn the organization’s/department’s policies and procedures: Review any policy information you have about the organization. However, realize that some policies are not always formal or in writing. During your first few days on the job, ask coworkers and supervisors about email and voicemail etiquette, break or lunch schedules, office attire, internal communications and other protocols.
5. Develop a good working relationship with your supervisor: Be open to all feedback and clarify expectations with your supervisor. Find out how often you will meet with him or her, and be prepared for these meetings by keeping track of your projects and accomplishments. Ask questions to assess your progress and clarify your goals for the internship.
6. Seek out a mentor as a professional resource: A mentor can provide practical advice about your transition from college to the workplace. Someone who started out as an intern, or is in their first or second year on the job, may also be able to give you advice about work-related issues and future career paths.
7. Expand your professional connections within the field: Use the University of Rochester Alumni LinkedIn Group and the Rochester Alumni Exchange during your internship to connect with alumni who are working in the same field, city or organization. Consider joining national or regional professional associations to create even more networking opportunities.
8. Reflect on your current internship and leverage it for future opportunities: At the end of your internship, reflect and assess what you learned about yourself—your abilities, skills, interests, values and accomplishments. How will the new skills and knowledge contribute to your future career plans? Remember to ask your supervisor if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Also, schedule an appointment with a career advisor to update your resume with your latest internship and discuss the experience.