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Completing an internship is an excellent way to develop the hands on skills and professionalism needed for a successful transtion into the work place. Below is information on what exactly an internship is, why you should complete one, if and how to earn academic credit, legal aspects to be aware of, how to be successful in your internship, and much more.
- NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) provides the following definition:
“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”
An internship is usually a formal program that provides practical experience for beginners in a specific occupation of profession. They can be paid or unpaid and are usually 3-6 months in length and can be completed at any point during the year, with most students choosing summer term.
They are typically short-term work assignments related to your major or career of interest.
- Explore your interests and gain valuable experience
- Apply theory and knowledge from the classroom
- Develop new skills & confidence
- Build your resume
- Network with employers and professionals
- Explore possible career paths
- Transition into a job or prepare for graduate school
- Serve as a representative of Oregon State University and, as such, have influence regarding the employer's decision to host students from OSU in the future.
- Approach internships in a professional manner that is guided by courtesy, a desire to learn, and a willingness to receive feedback for improvement.
- Act in a responsible and appropriate manner in accordance with the rules and regulations of the organization.
- Students may receive 1 – 12 credits for their internship in majors that offer credit (1 credit per ever 3 hours of work per week for a 10-week term).
- Undergraduates usually sign up for 410 number courses while graduate students sign up for 510 courses.
- Students must obtain approval from their academic advisors, who will also inform the student of any major-related internship requirements.
- For more information, please contact Career Services.
Reforming the Regulation on Internships
by Kathryn Anne Edwards and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
Economic Policy Institute, April 5, 2010
Growth of Unpaid Internships
by Steven Greenhouse
New York Times, April 2, 2010
Legislature approves plan to extened workplace protection to unpaid interns
by The Associated Press
OregonLive June 4, 2013
When starting the intership search, most seekers go straight to the web to public search engines. While that strategy should be part of everyon'e strategy, it should only be a small portion. Employers don't typically advertise internships on search engines, relying instead on their network or the savvyness of students in finding the listing on the company website.
20% Published Listings
25% Targeted Company Websites
55% Hidden Internship Market
Searching for an internship is much like any other job search; it's very social and requires strategy, self knowledge and knowledge of the field you are about to enter.
- Internship Listings: Search for local, national, and international internships, as well as employment and interview listings, with exclusive tools for Oregon State students.
- Develop your own internship: With help from OSU Career Services, find out how you can create a custom internship program.
- Career Fairs/Industry Connections: Make connections with people working in your desired career field.
- On-Campus Interviews: Explore Beaver JobNet listings of available on-campus interviews.
- Meet with a Career Counselor: Career Services helps students create strategies to find excellent internship opportunities.
- OSU College/Department Listings: Review each department and colleges website for information on internships they may have posted.
- Internship Search Strategies: Acquire the tools you need to make your internship search more effective and rewarding.
Skills & Strategies
Being strategic about finding a great internship includes:
- Knowing yourself - strengths, skills, interests, values, and internship goals
- Research opportunities and career paths
- Internship & Job search strategies: useful links, career services presentations, and websites on current industry & company information
- Developing the necessary materials: cover letter, resume, interviewing skills
- Searching for internship opportunties - be familiar with resources and practice diverse search methods, such as networking and informational interviewing
Explore the following resources to assist you in your internship search:
- Job and Internship Search Checklist: Use to keep track of things during your internship search
- Career Guide: Contains job search and career information as well as tools for writing resumes and cover letters
- Internship Predictor is a helpful resource for identifying internships that suit you best.
- Internships.com search engine and resources for finding internships
There are many ways to identify opportunities for internships and co-ops, and the benefits are endless. Please explore the information on this site, and if you have any further questions please contact Career Services.
- Beaver JobNet: is OSU Career Services’ online career management system and it is a great way for students and alums to get started in their job/internship search. Students/alums can connect with employers from a variety of organizations as well as from locations around the country and around the world. Employers are seeking applicants for positions including full-time, co-ops and internships, summer camps, national parks employment, and volunteer organizations such as the Peace Corps.
- General internship Search Engines
- Oregon internships
- National internships
- International internships
- Career Fairs - Held in October, February and April, this is an opportunity to talk with up to 200 employers about their internship opportunities. Visit the Career Fair page for more information.
- Please check with your department for guidance on internship sites.
Career Fairs & Connections
Career fairs give OSU students and prospective employers a way to establish professional relationships. Students get the chance to learn more in-depth information about their future careers from company and organizational representatives.
Networking is the process of developing and maintaining connections with a variety people who can help advance you and your career. Networking with people in your future industry, as well as in other industries, can play a huge role in helping you find a great internship or job opportunity.
Networking tips: Links to various sites and videos with advice on how to network professionally and effectively.
Social Networking: Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can be used effectively to find internships and build your career.
How to Find an Internship
The most successful internship searches use a number of search strategies and resources. For example, Career Services offers a number of resources to help you find internships and hosts events such as Career Fair throughout the year to help you connect with employers. In addition to our resources and events, you should also utilize your own network of family, friends, and faculty to assist in your search. If you would like assistance with searching for an internship, contact your academic advisor, internship coordinator or make an appointment with a Career Counselor
Career Services Resources
Beaver JobNet - a great way to get your job or internship search started. Meet employers from a variety of organizations as well as from locations around the country and around the world. This is the only job database system where employers are specifically wanting Beavers - YOU!
Career Assessments - What are my interests? Is my personality a good “fit” for a certain career? Career assessments are one tool that can help answer these kinds of questions. Experienced career counselors will help you interpret your results. We offer assessments such as SIGI3 (it's free!), Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and Strong Interest Inventory. Find out more about each assessment.
Career Counseling/Advising - Counselors are available to help you with any career related questions. Whether you are interested in changing your major, wondering about jobs after college, or just interested in exploring your interests, our counselors are here to help.
Career Fairs - Offered 3 times a year (October, February, and April) where employers come to campus and recruit students in one location. Great place to connect with employers and find out about jobs and internships.
Career Guide - provides information about the entire career process all in one document!
Career Services Blog - No matter what your career-related interests may be, we hope this blog has something for you. We promise to update regularly with posts on everything from choosing a major, to “hot jobs” in the current economy.
Career Trail - Prep by Step - College is the time to develop the skills you need, and Career Services is here to help! Career Trail will help you to come out knowing more about yourself, knowing more about the world of work, able to market yourself to others with the right tools and skills, and beginning to connect to that network of folks who can help you continue on your career trail after college!
Drop-In Resume/Cover Letter/Beaver JobNet assistance - Drop-ins are approximately 15 minute sessions that do not require an appointment. At the drop-in sessions, career services staff are on-call to critique your resume, cover letter, curriculum vitae, graduate school applications, and assist you with Beaver JobNet.
Facebook Page - Oregon State University Career Services - Become a fan of our Facebook page to learn about career trends, job and internship postings, connect with other students, and enjoy being part of our OSU community.
Federal Job Application Assistance - A student ambassador from the Department of Energy is available to answer your questions regarding federal jobs and provide you tips on filling out the application.
Handouts - Career Services has many handouts available for students in our office and online on a variety of career related topics.
InterviewStream (Virtual Mock Interviews) - an interactive online video-based practice interviewing tool which uses a webcam to video your practice interview.
Mock Interviews - don't make the mistake of scheduling your most important interview before you practice. Good interviewing skills are learned, and practice is the key to success. Meet with a Career Services counselor/advisor for a one hour session to improve your interviewing skills.
NACE Salary Calculator - The NACE Salary Calculator Center is the hub for compensation data, with salary data for more than 1,000 occupations in 560 regions of the United States. The NACE Salary Calculators are easy to use, and our salary survey data sets are updated monthly to ensure consistently accurate salary data.
Online Seminars & Webinars - Need a seminar right now? Get 24/7 access to seminars and webinars on job and internship topics and to videos featuring employer and graduate school recruiters. Stay tuned--we are continuously adding new videos.
Seminars & Events - Our staff annually deliver many seminars on a range of employment, internship, and graduate school topics some designed for a broad audience to specialized programs for specific populations.
Request a Presentation - we provide presentations to classes, clubs, and groups about many career-related topics plus we are always willing to customize the information for the audience.
Resource Library - Career Services has many books to assist you with career exploration, job researching, resume and cover letter writing, self exploration, graduate school test preparation, etc. You are welcome to read through these books at Career Services or you can check them out through the OSU library.
Develop Your Own Internship
7 Steps to Developing Your Own Internship PDF Version
“9 out of 10 employers prefer potential hires to have at least one internship experience”
If you are looking to gain valuable hands on experience, where you can practice the skills and knowledge you have learned in the classroom, completing an internship is an excellent way to do so . If after conducting an internships search you haven’t found what you are looking for you may think about developing your own internship, one that is tailored to your interests and skills.
Determine Your Goals
Before you develop an internship it’s important that you have developed clear goals you have for the experience. Start by asking yourself the following questions: What do you want to do? (List out possible careers, jobs, professional goals, projects and responsibilities) Why do you want to do an internship? Where do you want to do it? (Think about the environment, location, office culture) What do you hope to gain from the experience? What experience or skills can you bring to the company/organization? What projects would you like to be a part of?
A company of organization you would be interested in working for. Reviewing current job descriptions is a great way to familiarize yourself with the necessary qualifications, projects and responsibilities of a position in the industry you are interested in. That way you can tailor your internship experience to gain the necessary skills required for future positions.
Do your research on the company, review their website including their mission and goals, if they have any products they produce and also become familiar with the staff and what each of their roles entail, this will help you identify areas you may be interested in working for within the company.
Develop a tailored resume and cover letter for each company you are looking at contacting, making sure to match your skills and experience with what you have learned about the company in your research. Review the Resume Checklist for more information on how to create the best version of your resume.
Before contacting the company, think through what types of projects you would be interested in working on, what your professional goals are and list out the requirements of your internship including the logistics: how many hours a week, duration of the internship, potential start and end dates etc. Make sure you to being intentional about what the companies needs are and address how you can help them in their initiatives.
Now that you have identified a few companies you are interested in interning at, start to connect with someone at the company who would be in charge of hiring and supervision. This can be accomplished through LinkedIn, calling the organization/company, or sending an email to introduce yourself.
After contacting the company they may want to have you in for an interview. It is important to bring all necessary documents with you this should include: Resume, Cover letter, list of references and your ideas for projects and possible schedule. Dress professionally and keep the company dress code in mind, it is always better to over dress for an interview and ask about the daily dress code once you have the internship. If you would like help preparing for the interview you can set up an appointment with a Career Counselor in Career Services to do a Mock Interview or you can use InterviewStream at your convenience.
Strategies & Tips for Success
- The preferred means of connecting is via telephone (unless noted on organization website or materials) as this will expedite your attempt to reach someone at the company.
- Don't say you are willing to do anything. Be clear and concise when explaining what you want to do and why they need you to do it. But keep an open mind to the needs of the organization.
- Communicate why you are the right person for their organization using information about your academic abilities, interests, skills, and experiences.
- Offer to send a resume and cover letter for their consideration and ask for the appropriate address to send that information.
- Be assertive, but not pushy, when conducting follow-up with a contact you have made.
- Prepare a phone script and consider your responses to possible comments or questions. The more you prepare, you will be less likely to stumble on your words. Have your resume and key talking points in front of you to reference.
- Dress professionally every time you are meeting with someone or even if you are dropping resumes off at potential internships sites, first impressions are vital.
- Follow-up with every contact, regardless of the level of support or help they provided. This can be done via email.
Your advisor is a vital resource if you are interested in receiving academic credit for your internship. Contact them early in order to identify whether or not you are able to get academic credit for an internship and what the requirements are.
OSU Internship Portal (www.oregonstate.edu/internships)
Given the decentralized nature of OSU’s campus the Internship Portal has been developed to serve as a resource for students, employers and faculty in regards to internships.
- Department Internship Coordinator
- Campus Contact List
- Search Strategies, Internship Resources & Links to Search Engines
Career Services (www.oregonstate.edu/career)
- Interview Stream
- Career Counseling
- Mock Interviews
The Career Trail (www.oregonstate.edu/career/trail )
- Know your Self
- Know the Work of Work
- Develop Tools & Skills
- Learn How to Connect
How to be Successful in Your Internship
Tips for a Successful Internship
Securing an internship is only the beginning; a lot of hard work and dedication goes into creating an experience that is both meaningful and beneficial to you and the employer. Here are some tips on how to make your internship experience a successful one.
- The first step to a successful internship is being able to identify what industry and position you are interested in working in. This will require you to think intentionally about your experience and work to align it with your career goals.
- Some things to think about include: the environment you want to work in, what projects or tasks would you enjoy completing, and what your own professional goals are.
- The wonderful part about an internship is that you have to opportunity to ask a lot of questions. Take this time to become educated about the company or organization you are interning with, understand their structure, mission and function of the work space.
- Your site supervisor is there to serve as your mentor and resources of information. Don’t be shy about asking the why or how questions, they understand that this is a learning experience for you and are there to support you.
- Don’t be afraid to jump right in when you start you internship, this is your chance to gain on the job experience and really engage in hands on learning within your field of interest.
- Take on any and every project you have the chance to do, whether it is a large or small, it will show your commitment and work ethic and likely lead to other projects during your internship.
- Actively engage with your co-workers and be a team player, this will enrich the experience for everyone.
- Really take this opportunity to learn from those around you, especially the individuals who have been in the industry for many years, ask them about their experience and the road to their current position.
- Conduct an informational interview with someone whose position interests you or you could see yourself doing in the future.
- This is your opportunity to learn from them and engage in meaningful conversations about their experience and to form a solid network that will contiune after your internship.
- The foundation of experiential education is the element of reflection done throughout the experience and at its completion. In order to develop a summary of the skills and knowledge you learned both professionally and personally reflecting on your experience is essential.
- This will also help you to articulate to an employer in an interview or conversation what the key points and take aways from your internship experience were and what transferable skills you will bring to the next position or experience you have.
A Successful Internship has the following components:
- A Mentor
- Training / Orientation
- A chance for all interns to meet periodically
- A defined Project / Work Scope
- A designated person to go to for help
- The opportunity to develop Professional Relationships
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