How to Decide When to Intern

The UM Internship Experience prepares rising juniors, seniors, and graduate students for summer internships in their field of study.

Students must apply to the UM Internship Experience by September 30 in order to be enrolled in the UMIE course sequence that begins in Fall II and prepares students for a summer internship.

Internships can happen at any time and within any academic term; however, the UM Internship Experience program specifically supports a summer internship experience. Students wanting to intern in Spring or Fall are encouraged to contact Internship Experience staff for help navigating Spring and Fall internship opportunities.

How to Prepare for an Internship

  1. Be Curious
  2. Be Involved
    • Join professional associations related to your career field.
    • Consider leadership roles in on-campus or off-campus clubs and organization. Leadership roles stand out on resumes and internship applications.
    • Continue building a solid college resume. Not sure where to begin? Sign up for an Internship Bootcamp where impressive resumes and engaging cover letters are created or visit the Career Center in Martindale.
    • Work on the soft skills employers are looking for in interns and employees*:
      • Critical thinking/problem solving
      • Oral/written communications
      • Team work/collaboration
      • Digital technology
      • Leadership
      • Professionalism/work ethic
      • Awareness of strengths and weaknesses
      • Intercultural competence
    • Learn appropriate attire for recruiting events and interviews.
    • Attend career fairs on and off campus.
    * NACE, 2019
  3. Be Proactive
    • Learn more about your field of interest by researching jobs and potential internships. Note: Think outside-the-box and be open to a variety of industries.
    • Schedule an appointment to have your resume and cover letter critiqued. Continue to build upon earlier experiences, add new ones, and eliminate those that do not contribute to a strong resume for your field(s) of interest.
    • Network by attending workshops, information sessions, networking events, and campus activities. Talk to your academic advisor about upcoming events and how to be involved.
    • Maintain high academic standards and take courses that help develop the soft skills needed for your desired career path.
    • Ask faculty, advisors, and work advisors who are familiar with your work ethic to be a reference for upcoming job/internship applications.
    • Have a conversation with a financial aid advisor about potential funding resources to help with the cost of interning.
  4. Be Ready
    • Pay attention to deadlines. Start your UMIE application if you are wanting the assistance and support of UMIE staff.
    • Fine-tune your networking efforts to identify preferred careers and potential internship employers.
    • Polish your resume by reviewing your work experiences, academic achievements, and campus/community involvement and highlighting those that speak most to your career field or field of interest.
    • Tailor the skills and experiences on your resume to each employer and position. Note: Do your homework on potential employers before you begin writing your cover letter.
    • Practice interviewing — face to face, on the phone, by video, etc. Schedule mock interviews with the Career Center and informational interviews with professionals in your career field or field of interest.
    • Prepare a list of references to include with your resume. Be sure that all references have agreed to serve and are aware they may be contacted.
    • Start applying to internships as early as possible. You should begin applying to internships at least 5 months (1 semester) prior to the term you hope to intern.
    • Finalize your internship budget.
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