When to Begin the Internship Process

The entire process of finding an internship—from identifying potential employers to applying, interviewing, and accepting a position—will likely take several months. Typically, college students complete internships during junior or senior year, but few realize planning ahead is important. We recommend you begin the internship-search process at least six months before you plan to intern. Some industries have application deadlines many months prior to the intended start date. The earlier you start your search, the more opportunities you will find available.

Steps to Obtaining an Internship

  1. Contact your department internship coordinator as well as the Career Center
  2. Prepare your résumé. Always have a polished résumé ready to go. Contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment with a Career Coach or visit the Career Center Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to have your résumé reviewed by a Peer Coach. 
  3. Search for internship opportunities. Research companies in your field of study and location of interest. You should start by searching websites and Human Resource contacts for the agencies, organizations, and businesses in which you are interested. Being familiar with a company before you interview also gives you a leg up on your competition. Places to search for internships include Cardinal Career Link, Indiana INTERNnet, and Internships.com.
  4. Before you apply, gather as much information about the position and application as possible. The more you know, the more you can cater your résumé, cover letter, and portfolio to fit the needs of your potential employers. Make an appointment with a Career Coach to have your résumé and cover letter reviewed and schedule a practice interview to help you prepare. Apply to several companies. Many companies don’t advertise internship positions. If you do not see any internships available online, ask someone. Some organizations don’t know they need an intern until someone asks to be one.
  5. Follow up. Once interviewed, be sure to send a “thank you” note within 24 hours. Hand-written notes are great, but at the very least, send an email. If you are not contacted by the company within 10 days of the application deadline, call or email to check on the status of your application. If the position has been filled, be gracious and ask about other opportunities within the company or how you could improve for future applications.