Internships are one of the top college experiences that employers value.
Clarify Your Career Goals
- Identify your interests, values, and abilities through career counseling
- Reflect on your education, experiences, and personal attributes
- Determine what you can offer to future employers
- Consider your personal preferences (geographic location, employer size, work environment)
Identify Career Fields/Employers of Interest
- Research career fields and industries (corporate, government, non-profit, education, health care, etc.) - Career Guide to Industries
- Explore specific occupations - Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Review internship descriptions on "Career Opportunities" sections of employer websites
- Consider government employment, state and local agencies
- Contact your academic college internship office to identify their internship opportunities and employer contacts
Plan and Organize your Internship Search
- Identify the steps you need to take and the resources you will need
- Create a timeline for implementing your internship search plan
- Utilize resources from Career Services and your academic college
- Track your internship search progress and your interactions with employers
Create Effective Internship Search Tools
Your resume can be the basis for determining whether or not you reach the next step: the interview. An effective resume and cover letter will help you communicate your experiences, skills, and education in a concise, clear format.
- Visit the Penn State Career Services Resumes & Cover Letters page
Use Multiple Internship Search Strategies
Comprehensive internship search involves more than one strategy to reach and communicate with prospective employers. Some industries tend to favor the use of some strategies more than others. Review all of the strategies to determine which works best for your career field. No matter what your field of interest, networking remains one of the top strategies. As you engage in the various search strategies, consider working with a career counseling adviser.
Penn State Offices
Career Services (University Park)
- Nittany Lion Career Network
- http://www.internships.com (US and internationally for all majors)
- http://www.internships-usa.com (for non-technical majors)
Networking is the process of developing professional relationships and partnerships that support you as you explore and pursue your career goals. It is one of the most effective ways to gain career-related information and identify internship opportunities.
- Establish goals by deciding what type of information you want
- Compile a list of questions to ask
- Research the industry as well as specific employers
- Send a thank-you to express appreciation for the time and information given to you
- Develop a contacts file to keep track of the information shared and for follow-up
Penn State Career Connection
"Penn State Career Connection" is a LinkedIn Group focused on connecting Penn State students with employers regarding career-specific issues. You will be able to engage in a discussion with employers on general career topics such as resume writing, interviewing, internship search strategies, etc. You can also join a subgroup relevant to your career interests.
LionLink is a networking program designed to help Penn State students make professional connections and gain useful information to assist with career decisions and internship searches.
The internet is useful in obtaining information related to your search including internship postings, employer data, salary statistics, employment and workforce trends, and much more. Even though the internet may be helpful in identifying opportunities, it is not recommended that you rely on this strategy alone when applying for internships.
- Employer websites
- Industry Guides (OOH Industry Guide)
- Large Job Boards (Career Builder, College Grad, Indeed, Monster)
- Industry Specific Job Boards (e.g. Idealist.org for non-profit opportunities)
Most fields have one or more professional associations that represent their career area. These sites are geared toward the practicing professional, but many also have a designated area for students interested in that discipline. Professional association sites are useful in learning about the profession and identifying employment opportunities in the field. To learn about the associations related to your career field, search online or use University Park's Career Information Center resources.
State and Local Employment Agencies
Each state has a government-sponsored employment agency to assist residents in finding employment. In addition, there are private agencies that offer short- and long-term employment opportunities. Be sure to research each agency to understand potential fees and policies for involvement with the agency.
Job Posting/Company Verification Disclaimer
Read the full disclaimer which describes the shared responsibility among Penn State Career Services (including University Park and Commonwealth Campus career offices) and internship/job seekers in researching and identifying potential concerns about the legitimacy of employers and their respective postings.