An internship allows you to test your career objectives, helps you identify your talents, and directs you toward an appropriate career, while helping you acquire essential practical and professional skills you need in the business world. It also lets you see how well you fit into a specific company's culture. But finding an internship takes some preparation.

Finding An Internship

Clarify Your Goals

When conducting an internship search, many students go straight to job postings and skip this critical step. Your internship is only as valuable as the time, thought, and effort you put into your experience.  Before beginning your internship search, think about what you want to gain from your experience. A meaningful choice of an internship is going to be far more beneficial to your future career. Questions to consider:

  • Do you want to explore an unknown career field? Select a major?
  • Gain experience within your chosen field?
  • What types of projects would you like to be involved in?
  • What skills would you like to develop?
  • Do you need a local internship?
  • Can you accept an internship in another state, or even another country?
  • When would be the best time for you to complete an internship? Summer? Semester?
  • Can you accept an unpaid position?
  • Do you want to receive credit towards graduation? Does your major require internships?

Research/ Locate Internships

The process of finding an internship is the same process you will use to find a full-time position after graduation. Begin by researching companies or looking through position postings to find opportunities.  Narrowing your search based on the answers to the above questions will be helpful.

Handshake is Washburn University's new job and internship board! With this customizable online tool, you can discover new opportunities! Connect with great companies and non-profits! Show off your best self to employers!

One of the many great things about it, is that it can be a totally personalized experience! Based on the preferences that you set, Handshake will show you the type of internships and jobs that you are qualified for and might interest you. You can browse by location, industry... and many other categories based on what you are looking for.

  • You'll discover awesome jobs and cool companies, both in the Midwest and all over the country!
  • You can connect with employers and apply for jobs directly through Handshake!
  • You can customize your dashboard and "favorite" jobs that you're excited about!
  • You can schedule appointments directly with Career Engagement staff, if you want to go over your application materials or anything else career/calling-related.

If you're reading this as a current student, then guess what? You already have an account in Handshake - all you need to do is activate it!

Handshake for Employers is the world’s largest internship marketplace bringing students, employers and higher education institutions together in one centralized location. They specialize in helping students and young professionals find the right internship to kick start their career.

Your academic department may have information about internships available for your major. Check with your department advisor to see what resources are available.

Career Fairs are a great way to meet with potential internship employers. WU Career Engagement organizes the Career and Graduate School Fair every September and the Career Fair each February. Both events are held in Lee Arena and are open to all students, alumni, and community members. Prior to each event, a list of attending employers can be found on our Career Fairs & Interview Days webpage. Information on other career fairs can also be found here.

Before attending a Career Fair, update and polish your resume and research the companies attending. Target a few that interest you and prepare questions specific to that employer. Be sure to know your internship goals and what you have to offer an employer before attending the fair. 

Many professional organizations encourage student participation through student chapters or lower student membership fees. Joining an organization can provide networking opportunities and allow you to attend conferences in your area of interest. Organizations may have their own job search sites where you can look for internship opportunities.

Not finding the type of experience you are seeking? Have the perfect experience with the ideal company in mind? Consider approaching an organization about creating your own internship. While these internships are less likely to be paid, creating your own internship can be a very rewarding experience. The key is to target a specific organization and how your skills and experience can assist the employer. Try approaching smaller, local business with your resume and several ideas on how you can benefit the organization. Larger organizations often have a formal internship program already in place, but smaller organizations offer more flexibility to create new internships.

Application/ Selection Process

The application and interview process for internships is the same you will use when seeking a full-time position. Please call 670-1450 to schedule an appointment with Career Engagement if you need help getting started.
If you are planning to complete a summer internship, begin your search over winter break or earlier. Many internship programs have strict application deadlines; with an early start and an organized search you can avoid missing important dates.

The resume and cover letter are your opportunity to introduce yourself to an employer and demonstrate how your skills and experiences would benefit the organization. Many candidates make the mistake of creating one resume and cover letter to use with all job applications and assuming that the employer will understand why they are a good fit for the position. Instead tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you apply for. Pay close attention to the job description and focus on how your skills and experiences match the requirements of the position.

Resume Information

Cover Letter Information

If you are contacting an employer with the intention to create your own internship, your cover letter will be slightly different. Rather than focusing on how you are a good match for the position, demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and specifically how you could benefit the organization.

The purpose of the resume is to secure an interview, and the purpose of your interview is to discover whether you and the employer are a match! Try not to think about the interview as a one-way selection process.  Instead, focus on whether the employer and the position are a good fit for your internship goals. Some organizations conduct interviews on campus for internship positions. The campus recruiting schedule is available on Handshake.

To schedule a Mock Interview call 670-1450. Participating in a mock interview can greatly improve your interview skills.

Interview Information

After finding, applying, and interviewing for several positions, you will have an idea about which opportunities would be a good fit for your internship and career goals. Carefully consider your options and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each offer. Once you have accepted an internship, be sure to withdraw your application from all other organizations.
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