How to Find an Internship

Internship Search Plan

A successful internship search requires you to invest time and effort, because an internship is not and should not be a “regular” job. The following plan is designed to assist you in preparing for and conducting your search for an internship. Remember that all of the following tasks are important for finding the best internship for you.

One Year BEFORE You Want to Start an Internship

  • Determine your career goal by talking with a Career Counselor about your interests and your professors about the learning outcomes for your major. Follow up with your own research. Think about your responses to the following items:
    • The work I have fantasized doing is…
    • What really interests me is…
    • The lifestyle that I would like to live is…
    • The kinds of skills I have and would like to use are…
    • The kind of environment in which I’d like to work is…
    • The kinds of people with which I’d like to work are…
    • My work values which must be met are…
    • Some careers that interest me include…
  •  Decide what you want in an internship.
    • What are three things that you want to learn/gain from an internship experience?
    • Identify what you are looking for in an internship site, and then prioritize your preferences:



Your Preferences


Geographic Location






Academic Credit



Time Commitment




Fall           Spring           Summer





Types of Projects





  • Gain experience by getting involved in one of UW-Whitewater’s Involvement Pathways.
  • Begin to network!
    • Networking is not just about who you know, but who knows you. It is about creating and cultivating trusting, supportive, give-and-take relationships.
    • Your network begins with your family, friends, neighbors, supervisors, and instructors.
    • Connect with relevant professional associations or with student organizations that have ties to these groups.
    • Let your contacts know that you’re looking for an internship.

9 Months OR 2 Semesters BEFORE You Want to Start an Internship

  • Be aware of when most employers recruit for interns.
    • For a Summer Internship – January through May
    • For a Fall Internship – April through August
    • For a Spring Internship – September through January
  • IMPORTANT: Summer internships, in particular, are in high demand which means there is more competition for these positions. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply. Additionally, some summer internships may have application deadlines in November or December of the preceding year. Be alert for these deadlines.
  • Prepare a rough draft of your resume, using our online resources for assistance, and have it reviewed by a Career Counselor.
  • If you wish to earn academic credit for your internship, talk with the faculty internship supervisor for your major on how to proceed.
  • Understand the criteria of a quality internship:
    • Work assignment is at a pre-professional level and clearly relates to your career goal and/or major.
    • The organization acknowledges and supports your learning goals and provides an opportunity for you to develop the skills you need.
    • Proper supervision is given by a professional in the field.
    • The length of the assignment is clearly defined and is not listed as “on-going.”
    • Systems are in place for proper evaluation of and feedback on your performance at the end of the assignment.
  • Begin identifying potential internship opportunities using a variety of resources and strategies.
    • Activate your account on Hawk Jobs, UW-Whitewater’s general internship/job board.
    • Read the UW-W Student Internships Blog and follow the Internship Coordinator on Twitter.
    • Use the online resources found in the left-hand column of this page. (General Internship Search Resources, Field-Specific Programs/Resources, International Internships, and/or Programs for Students with Disabilities)
    • Search employers’ websites for employment opportunities. To find employers in the geographic region of your search, explore local Chamber of Commerce websites.
    • Check out affiliated internship programs such as the Disney College Program, Workforce Recruitment Program, and The Washington Center.
    • Attend job fairs.
    • Network by connecting with relevant professional associations and/or career-related student organizations.
    • Design your own internship! The process of developing an internship proposal does take time and effort. Schedule an appointment with the Internship Coordinator for assistance.

4 Months OR 1 Semester BEFORE You Want to Start an Internship

2 Months BEFORE You Want to Start an Internship

  • Continue to interview.
  • After each interview, write a thank you note to the interviewer(s) and send it within 24 hours after your interview.
  • Continue to apply for opportunities.
  • If you will be earning academic credit, check in with your faculty internship supervisor regarding the registration process.

Once You Secure an Internship

  • When you accept an offer, get all of the important details: start date, work hours, etc.
  • Contact other employers you submitted application materials to and withdraw your application.
  • Write thank you notes to the people in your network who helped you and let them know that you got an internship.
  • Start your internship and be successful!