It's Never Too Early to Start

Getting Your Feet Wet

Many Park students engage in their first internship after their first year.  But before that time, it's a good idea to start networking, and perhaps shadow some professionals during the breaks in your first year. 

You can start by meeting with professionals in IC's office of Career Services for assistance – they can help you assess your interests, strengths and skills, create a resume, participate in practice interviews, research organizations and employers, and finally search and apply for opportunities.   For first year students, there's an online guide to making a four-year plan and assessing your interests and strengths. Career Services is found at 101 Muller Faculty Center (near the bookstore).  

While each organization follows its own recruitment schedule, we recommend that a student begins the process approximately 6-9 months in advance of when they hope to participate in an internship. Students may participate in an internship in the fall, spring or summer semester.

Identify Your Motivations and Priorities

As a first step to obtaining an internship, it is important to identify your motivations, goals, and priorities. While it is sometimes difficult to decide which career path to pursue, doing so helps you conduct a more focused search for an internship. In addition, these considerations will help you to select an experience that is better aligned with your longer term career goals. In examining your motivations, goals, and priorities related to your internship search, ask yourself these questions:

Motivations

  • Why do I want an internship?
  • How will obtaining an internship of interest potentially benefit me?
  • In what field am I trying to gain experience?

Goals

  • What do I want to gain from an internship?
  • What kind of responsibilities would I like to have as an intern?
  • What do I hope to learn from the internship?

Priorities

  • Do I prefer to intern at a certain location? Do I want to be in a location where I hope to find a full-time position? Do I want to be at home this summer or to live in a new city?
  • Will I have access to housing? Can I afford to sublet an apartment?
  • Do I need to make money over the summer? How much do I need? How much will my living expenses be? A Paid vs. Unpaid internship – things to consider. Even though an internship is unpaid, you’ll gain connections, training and an understanding for the field. You need to weigh your need for a paycheck against the benefits of the internship.
  • Do I want to obtain an experience with a prominent organization, or do I like the idea of working for a smaller organization where I may be able to contribute to higher-level projects?