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Internships 101

Familiarize yourself with ways to prepare for an internship experience.

Internships are work programs offered by an organization for an individual looking to learn more about a potential career. They provide individuals with the opportunity to learn and gain hands-on professional experience in a particular field.

Multiple types of internships exist including paid and unpaid internships with varying lengths ranging between a couple of weeks to a few months, typically occurring during the fall, spring, or summer. Additionally, internships may be in-person, hybrid, or virtual. They may also be available for credit as a part of university coursework. Tasks an intern completes during an internship may vary from research to reporting assignments.

An internship allows one to learn valuable job skills along with learning what they like about a particular industry and organization. This opens connections for a career in the future and allows for the opportunity to reflect on what an individual is looking for. Internships allow students to test-run a potential career all while being exposed to a work environment.

Searching for an internship may sound overwhelming at first, but utilizing the Ascend Network is a great starting point! The Ascend Network will get you matched to Indiana’s top companies while having one-on-one support with a career mentor and personalized recommendations for your preferences.

Below are some ways one can proactively prepare for the internship experience:

  • Connect with your campus’ careers services to learn about any existing connections your school might have with employers. Begin networking with your professors, advisors, and peers.
  • Get involved in student organizations on-campus to build your extracurricular involvement on your resume. Joining professional associations related to your project career field will also help strengthen your resume.
  • Consider leadership roles in on or off campus clubs or organizations.
  • Attend career fairs to learn about employers.
  • Excel in your academic studies and commit to high goals during your time at school.
  • Have your resume and cover letters reviewed by multiple individuals. When applying for internships, be sure to tailor the skills and experiences on your resume to each employer and position.
  • Engage in mock interviews to prepare for behavioral questions during real interviews.
  • Prepare a list of references to be available upon request.
  • Begin applying at least a semester prior to when you hope to begin interning.

What internship experience is right for you?

  • When it comes to finding an internship, be open-minded. Any internship should be a great chance to learn new skills, build your resume, make connections, and figure out what you do (or don’t) want to do in the future.
  • Internships typically start at multiple dates throughout the year – talk to your university advisor or career services to know when an internship fits best in your school schedule.
  • Some internships offer class credit, so talk with your university advisor to know if this is required for you.
  • If you can’t find an internship in your area, consider applying to remote internships that can be completed from anywhere.

How to prepare to interview for an internship:

  • An interview is an important step in landing an internship, so be sure to prepare accordingly.
  • Review common interview questions with Ascend’s guide on Answering the Most Common Interview Questions.
  • Practice answering questions using the STAR Method. Never heard of the STAR method? Learn about it here.
  • Always prepare questions to ask the interviewer – this shows the interviewer you are interested and prepared. Check out Ascend’s guide to asking questions here.
  • Contact your Career Mentor to set up a mock interview or discuss more interview tips.

Visit Ascend’s Job Seeker Resources page to learn more about these strategies and other helpful tips.

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