Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Why do an internship? To gain skills and experience for a competitive edge in the workplace, confirm if a career is the right fit for you, to gain valuable contacts in your field, be offered more long‐term positions, and gain understanding into workplace issues and ethics.

Step 1: Assessing Your Goals
Prior to selecting an internship, you will need to have a clear understanding of what you are hoping to gain from the
experience. Do you want experience in Canada or abroad? Are you looking for a large or small organization? Are
there financial issues you need to address? What experience and skills do you need to develop? The “Choosing Your
Career” workshop can assist you. Sign up on the intranet.

Step 2: Finding an Internship
As internships can take on a variety of forms, there is often confusion as to what an internship really is, which can
make it tricky to locate the internship of your dreams. Internships can be listed in a variety of places (or not listed at
all!), so you need to have a multi‐pronged approach to find yours. Be sure to attend our Volunteer & Internship Fair
offered each year. Start with some of the resources listed on this tipsheet to help you identify potential opportunities.
Most of these resources are on‐line as there are less and less internship directories being printed. The print
directories, although older, can still be useful for generating some leads as they typically list organizations that are
larger and more stable. It would be beneficial to look at specific company websites to see if they offer internships. If
you would like to intern with a specific company or organization, but they do not advertise internships, contact them,
explain your interest in the company and your background and ask if they would sponsor an internship for you. Many
students have found internships by taking this initiative. If you need help identifying employers in your field, consult
the employer directories available in the Career Resource Library.

Step 3: Researching the Organization
You can never know too much about a potential placement. The Career Resource Library and the Internet are good
places to start. You will want to find out about the current trends, challenges facing the organization, innovations,
recent successes, and workplace philosophy.

Step 4: Applying and interviewing
Applying to an internship typically involves writing an effective résumé/application that clearly outlines your skills,
education, experience, volunteer work, accomplishments and interests. If you are writing a résumé, be sure to include
a targeted cover letter. For help, attend a “Winning Résumés and Cover Letters” seminar. Also, have these documents
critiqued with the Résumé Critique Service, to ensure you are marketing yourself effectively. If an interview is
required, prepare for it as seriously as you would for any other job interview. The Academic Advising & Career Centre
offers the “Interview Techniques to Land That Job” seminar as well as one‐on‐one Practice Interview sessions. In
addition to these services, the Career Resource Library (AC213) offers a number of resources on résumés, cover
letters, and interviews.

Step 5: Making the most of your internship
This is your chance to get some of that much needed work experience! For a successful internship be sure to be
punctual and professional; show initiative, energy and commitment; learn from those who have more experience than
you; participate in team projects; ask questions; understand how the company operates; learn about the
organization’s recruitment strategy; ask for a letter of recommendation when you leave and keep in touch with the
company; send a thank you letter upon completion of the internship.

For list of internship websites visit the Internship Tipsheet brought to you by the Academic and Career Centre

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