An internship is an excellent way for students to gain hands-on experience in the field of their choice. It provides an opportunity to put classroom theory into practice and learn significant skills that give students an edge when they graduate.
Posting an internship is fast, easy and best of all it’s free. Get started today by logging on to the CSUSB Career Development Center's Coyote Link. Select “For Employers”. Then, go to Register and Post Local Job.
When should you do an internship?
Internships are typically designed for students who have reached junior status. Employers expect students to have a general knowledge of the field in which they will intern. Participating in more than one internship is a great idea. You should strategically plan your internships during your academic career. Some students are offered jobs at the end, so plan accordingly.
Locating an Internship
There are many ways to locate an internship. Internships are available in most industries ranging from Business, Government, Non-Profit Agencies, Education and the Entertainment Industry.
Coyotelink is your one-stop resource for locating an internship and is exclusively for CSUSB students. Registering for an account grants you instant access to hundreds of opportunities. You will have the availability to search for local internships by zip code. Check out the CSUSB Career Development Center for step-by-step instructions on how to create your free Coyotelink account today!
You can locate an internship by researching specific company websites. Internships are typically posted just as full-time positions would be. The websites in the “Local Internships” are just some examples.
In some cases, students have identified a specific organization in which they want to experience an internship. Going directly to the organization and inquiring within has proven to be an effective strategy.
Have you heard the saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know?” Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to securing an internship. Networking is one of the leading methods. For example, Communication Studies students interested in public relations might attend the monthly local Public Relations Society of America chapter luncheons so they meet professionals in their field. These individuals might be recruiting interns. Networking can be a very effective strategy for finding an internship, but it takes time to develop contacts. It is rare that a student attends one meeting, meets someone, and is offered an internship instantly. It takes time and effort to develop professional connections.
Below are examples of organizations that have provided PDC students internships. For internships that are specific to your major, please consult your faculty advisor.
Applying for an Internship
Applying for an internship is a process. Before you get started, there are a few important steps that you should follow. Having an updated resume and cover letter are essential. You can reference the Career Development Center for tips on how to create effective ones. Not all employers require a cover letter but it’s a good idea to have one readily available that can easily be tailored to various positions. It is also recommended that you identify several internship leads and apply to at least 3-5 internships per week. Don’t forget to follow up. An email or phone call is appropriate unless otherwise stated on the internship announcement.
If employers do not require a resume and/or cover letter, instead, you may be instructed to fill out an application online or in person. Whatever the method of applying may be, make sure to read the internship announcement carefully.
If you are invited to an interview, take the time to prepare and practice. Do your research about the organization. You only get one chance at making a great first impression. For interviewing tips, check out the CSUSB Career Development Center website.
Getting Credit for Your Internship,
Registration, and Contract Requirements
Undergraduate and graduate internships can range from 2-5 units, depending on the number of weekly hours worked. For 2 units, you are required to work 6 hours per week; for 3 units, 9 hours; 4 units is 12 hours and 5 units is 15 hours of work per week. The hours and workload can be negotiated with the internship site supervisor.
If you are considering an internship, please consult with your faculty coordinator to determine eligibility and obtain the necessary forms to register and earn credit. Once you have secured your internship, the person supervising your internship is required to complete a short description of the workload and sign the agreement. You must also sign the agreement. After the department chair signs the agreement, you will be officially registered and a copy of the agreement is available for you to pick up from the department.
To receive credit for your internship, you must:
- Complete the total hour requirement inidicated on your internship agreement form.
- Submit a daily log/journal of your internship experience.
- Write a final paper describing what you learned during your internship experience and discussing how the experience relates to your education.
- Undergraduates must prepare an updated resume reflecting your new experience. Resumes should be prepared prior to obtaining internships, but if not, they must be turned in before the quarter ends.
- Additionally, the department will send an agency evaluation form to your internship supervisor. The supervisor must complete and return the form to the department for you to receive credit for the internship.
Internship credit could not be issued simply as credit for life experience or work experience. It is NOT appropriate to simply get internship credit for the job you are already doing. However, if there is an opportunity for you to acquire new skills and knowledge within your current organization, this new experience could make you eligible. Keep in mind that doing an internship at a different organization than the one in which you currently work makes your resume more dynamic.
Here are a few guidelines to follow to make the best impression during your internship:
- Be on time. If you are to arrive at 1:00 p.m., arrive at 1:00 p.m., not 1:10 p.m. If you are unavoidably detained (accident, flat tire, etc.) and you are able, call your supervisor to let him/her know what happened.
- Dress appropriately. On your first day, it's always best to dress in business attire. If you're not sure of what is considered appropriate business attire, ask the internship coordinator, or ask your internship supervisor what she or he prefers you wear to the office.
- Meet the hour requirement of your internship. If you are to complete 15 hours per week, then make sure you complete 15 hours per week. Failure to complete the hours required for the units taken can result in no credit for the internship. You have made a contractual obligation with your internship supervisor to work a certain number of hours. Failure to do this reflects on your professionalism.
- Think and act as a professional - be responsible and dependable.
If you are having problems of any kind at your internship, please contact your faculty coordinator.