Preparing For Internship Search

When Should I Start Looking?

  • It’s never too early to start! You can start by scheduling an appointment with a career coach for assistance – they can help you assess your interests, strengths and skills, create a resume, participate in practice interviews, research organizations and employers and finally search and apply for opportunities.
  • Each organization follows its own recruitment schedule, but Pomerantz Career Center recommends that a student should begin the process 6-9 months in advance of when they hope to participate in an internship.
  • Students may participate in an internship in the fall, spring or summer semester.

Note: A student must have completed at least 12 hours of UI coursework to register an internship for 0 credit hours and transcript notation.

PDF iconInternship Search Worksheet - Do a little planning, then discuss your goals with your Career Coach. They can help direct you to resources that are tailored to your search. 

Know Yourself

Identify what you are looking for and what your current skills are - which skills do you hope to improve upon?

 Identifying Your Transferable Skills Survey


Identifying Motivations, Goals and Priorities


  • Why do I want an internship?
  • How will obtaining an internship of interest potentially benefit me?
  • In what field am I trying to gain experience?


  • What do I want to gain from an internship?
  • What kind of responsibilities would I like to have as an intern?
  • What do I hope to learn from the internship?


  • Do I prefer to intern at a certain location? Do I want to be in a location where I hope to find a full-time position? Do I want to be at home this summer or to live in a new city?
  • Will I have access to housing? Can I afford to sublet an apartment?
  • Do I need to make money over the summer? How much do I need? How much will my living expenses be? A Paid vs. Unpaid internship – things to consider. Even though an internship is unpaid, you’ll gain connections, training and an understanding for the field. You need to weigh your need for a paycheck against the benefits of the internship.
  • Do I want to obtain an experience with a prominent organization, or do I like the idea of working for a smaller organization where I may be able to contribute to higher-level projects?
  • Do I prefer to register this internship for credit hours or 0 credit hours and transcript notation? Explore your Registration Options


Researching Industries, Occupations & Organizations

Before jumping full-force into an internship search, it is important to do your research. Conducting research will impact the direction of your search by helping you identify fields and careers more clearly. Also, doing careful research will help you market yourself more strategically and allow you to have a more focused conversation about your interests with potential employers.

Understand What Makes a Good Internship

  • Structure - An effective internship provides you the structure, support, and job duties that help you grow while also helping the employing organization. 
  • Specific Duties & Expectations - The internship should have a job description that focuses on specific duties, including the opportunity to support projects and not just perform small tasks.  
  • Supervision - Interns should be supervised by a professional staff member, with structured opportunities for feedback and training.   
  • Pay - While many internships in non-profit organizations and governmental agencies are unpaid, for-profit organizations must pay you unless they meet standards established by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Spotting Fraudulent Employers and/or JobsTips for Spotting a Fraudulent Employer and/or Posting - Make sure to work with the Career Center if the internship is a distance opportunity, if you cannot find company information online, or if it has a residential address or requires fees for out of pocket expenses. If you are ever unsure about an opportunity, please feel free to run it by us. Never provide your social security or bank account information unless you have been officially hired and the person asking for the information is an HR representative.
  • Reviews - You can find internship reviews on and also on Handshake.  

You are ready to apply! 

  • Prepare your resume and understand how cover letters work. Be ready to tailor them to the positions you find and to visit the Pomerantz Career Center for help.
  • Practice your interviewing skills through a Mock Interview