Tips to Find and Succeed in an Internship or Co-Op

Relevant work experience is key to successful career planning in the college years. Internships and co-ops (extended or two-part internships) offer hands-on career experience and insight into your future profession. Don't wait until graduation to start exploring your career options. Opportunities to build skills and experience the "real" world of work are available to you now.

The internship/co-op search is similar to a full-time job search. Take advantage of the training and advising CES can offer you in this process. Below are some suggested steps to follow:

1. Prepare Your Resume

Your resume is typically the first reflection of you an employer sees, so it should be well written and error free. CES can help you build a strong resume. See Write a Resume to find out how.

2. Explore the Job Market

The "Visible Market"

The Visible Job Market includes employers that are actively recruiting employees. They may use a variety of sources to advertise positions, which may include:

The "Hidden Market"

The Hidden Job Market includes all employers with the potential to hire you. They may not currently have positions advertised where you can see them, but are still prospective employers you should pursue. Your CES Advisor is a great resource to help you. CES also has many additional tools to help you explore the Hidden Market.

3. Network, Network, Network!

Talk to your faculty, family, friends, and neighbors and tell them what you are seeking. People can only help you if they know what you want. You may even want to pass around your resume to some of these people so they can give it to their friends and colleagues.

4. Make Contact

You may need to write a cover letter, apply online, or pick up the phone to begin your application process. Make sure each application you make is professional and well-prepared. See Job Search Tips for advice or make an appointment with your CES Advisor for assistance.

5. Explore Academic Credit Options

6. Be Successful

Getting your foot in the door by landing the internship or co-op is only half of the challenge in turning your career dreams into a reality. The more vital half is to build a reputation during this career experience that will culminate in receiving a full-time job offer. Here are 10 tips to becoming a savvy intern.