What are the benefits of an internship?
Internships are an excellent way to closely explore a career path that interests you. ¬†In addition to hands-on experience, you gain unique contacts in your field, which may serve you well once you begin your job search. ¬†Internships come in various formats, including paid and unpaid, for credit and not for credit. ¬†Some majors require an internship/practicum, while others simply encourage them. ¬†Some students do several internships.
What are the ground rules for internships?
Internships fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Labor, and due to new regulations (Fact Sheet #71) the rules that govern paid and unpaid internships have changed.
If your internship is with a nonprofit organization:
It can be paid or unpaid
You may receive credit
If your internship is with a for-profit organization:
If it is paid, you may receive credit
If it is unpaid, the organization must meet the six criteria under Fact Sheet #71 in order to receive credit
What are the six criteria under Fact Sheet #71?
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the ¬† ¬†employer, is similar to training that be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship;
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
I want to do an unpaid internship for a for-profit organization. Can I still receive credit?
If the organization has read the six criteria of Fact Sheet #71 and has affirmed that the organization meets all six requirements, they must email or fax a signed affirmation to your department's internship advisor. ¬†Please see your internship advisor for assistance.¬†
When should I begin looking for an internship?
Internships can take place during the fall or spring semester or over the summer. ¬†Some fields are more competitive than others, so it's important to allow time to search and apply. ¬†Deadlines for summer internships can occur in late fall; read applications carefully. ¬†Students often choose to do internships during their junior and/or senior years, although internships can take place during sophomore year or following graduation.
What is the difference between an internship for credit and one that's not?
In order to receive credit for an internship, students must abide by the rules of their departments. ¬†In most cases, internships must be approved by the department, and reports must be filed and/or a paper must be written during the cooperative experience. ¬†Some have a required amount of hours that must be fulfilled. ¬†The amount of credit rewarded will be determined by the department.¬†
Internships not completed for credit are agreements made between an organization and a student. ¬†They are not supervised by the university, and are more flexible in terms of hours and arrangement.
Are internships not completed for credit less valuable than internships for credit?
Internships for credit are included on college transcripts, but both are equally valid on resumes. ¬†Employers are more interested in candidates who have relevant experience, so choose internships that align well with your career path.
Can I just use my old resume from last year when I apply for an internship?
Rule #1 for resumes is never recycle an old resume for a new position. ¬†It's worth keeping old resumes for reference-names of old supervisors, time frames for past jobs, etc., but your resume needs to reflect who you are right now, and needs to be focused entirely on the position you're applying for. ¬†Not sure where to start? ¬†Follow our resume how-to guide. ¬†Need hands-on resume help? ¬†Call Careers & Calling at 610-341-5827 to make an appointment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if need help with a cover letter?
Careers & Calling is happy to assist with cover letters as well. ¬†Be sure to use our cover letter how-to guide in writing your draft, and then call Careers & Calling at 610-341-5827 to make an appointment, or email us at email@example.com. Please bring the internship description with you, if possible.
Should I apply only for advertised internships?
Not all internships are advertised, so if there is an organization for which you'd like to work, contact it directly with your resume and cover letter. ¬†Remember to be professional and polite; even if the organization can't take you on as in intern, you may be able to create a new contact.
Are unpaid internships and /or volunteer experiences worth including on resumes?
Absolutely! ¬†Any sort of practical experience is worth including, as long as it is relevant to the position you're applying for.