How to Find and Apply for an Internship
Step 1: Determine the type of internship or co-op you would like to have
Your major, personal interests or career goals can determine the type of internship that interests you. If you have questions about which career field to enter, utilize the Career Center by taking advantage of career counseling or the Maine Mentor Program.
Step 2: Ways to Find an Internship or Co-op
Search the Career Center’s internship/co-op database. You can go to the Career Center’s homepage for links to many job search engines to search for co-ops and internships. Utilize the compiled list of internship search sites.
Utilize internship listing books available at the Career Center. Browse through company directories in the Career Center that give contact information for companies in numerous career fields. You can send a letter of inquiry to the contact person asking if they have any internship or co-op positions available.
Check your department bulletin boards for postings. Register with the Career Center on CareerLink to be eligible for on-campus recruiting with employers that are looking for co-op students. This also allows you to be included in resume referrals to companies hiring co-op or internship students.
Step 3: How to Apply
Each internship and co-op has a different way of applying, but most require a cover letter, resume, and an interview.
You need to write a cover letter. Once you have a typed draft, feel free to make an appointment at the Career Center to have it critiqued by one of the counselors.
Produce an up-to-date resume. Resumes can be reviewed by a counselor at the Career Center, call 581-1359 for an appointment. Prepare for the interview. The Career Center has many books, handouts, and videos to help out with this. We also offer practice interviews. Collect letters of recommendation (if stated in the application procedure) or have a list of people with contact information you can use for references (3 usually will be sufficient) Once you have been offered and accept an internship or co-op position, contact your faculty coordinator to develop the learning contract and sign up for the field experience course for your major if you are doing it for academic credit.
Step 4: On the Job
Internships and co-ops are designed as learning experiences for students. In order to get the most out of your experience ask questions, research your areas of interest, and get involved. Always think about what you are learning and what you have learned from your experiences.
Have confidence in your ideas and abilities. It is normal to lack confidence when you enter into a new environment; it may take some time to feel comfortable at the work site. College students have the ability to adapt quickly to new circumstances, how long does it take you to get comfortable each semester when you start a new class? Remember that you do have the knowledge and ability to learn in order to perform the job functions well. Ask questions when you do not know how to start or how to continue with a project.
Be professional and courteous in all things that you are requested and required to do. Adopt a positive attitude. Be willing to accept feedback from supervisors and peers, be prompt, ready to learn, motivated, and develop time management skills to make sure that you meet deadlines.
Pay attention to the people around you, notice who is the best person to answer your questions, observe how the people interact with each other, and get to know the people you work with; they may be valuable contacts for you one day.
Ways to Get to Know People at Work
1. Get involved in company teams, professional organizations, and take time to eat lunch with co-workers. These give you an opportunity to get to know people on a less formal basis.
2. Attend office parties, meetings, and other office related activities. This is another chance to network with people who can be contacts for you later on.
3. While attending these functions, be friendly, courteous, listen to others, contribute to the conversation, but do not give your whole life history.