Conducting an Internship Search

Self Assessment

A few students come to college confident about their career goals and with a road map for the future, but most are still exploring options. You may have ideas about what you would like to do, but are not entirely sure. To prepare for making career decisions, you should take the time to evaluate yourself: your values, interests, personality, and skills. For more information about self assessment, refer to the Counseling and Career Assessment Center.

Research Career Options

Based on what you have learned about yourself you can start to identify potential career fields. You can research careers through books, online, or by talking with people experienced in the field. For more information about research career fields, refer to the Gonzaga University Career Center.

The Internship Search

To find internships in your target geographic area and career field you will use a variety of formal and informal sources. Browse through position listings that are available online or in periodicals at the Career Center. Talk with family and friends about your search to find out what additional information they may provide.

You may try to develop your own internship. Some organizations may have never considered hiring interns. If you have a close contact with an employer or know of an employer that particularly interests you, but does not currently recruit interns, try to start an internship program. If you present them with a structured plan for how you could contribute to their work, you may be able to convince them to hire you as their first intern.

Self-Marketing Materials

Once you have developed a list of potential internships you will need to create your application materials. Your application may include cover letters, resumes, a list of references, writing samples or application forms.


Most employers will want to meet you before they hire you. If your application interests them, they will probably schedule an interview. Sometimes interviews are conducted over the phone, but most interviews are in person at the potential work site.

To prepare for the interview, you will want to further research the organization. Be able to describe how your experiences demonstrate your ability to do the job. If you have not had significant work experience up until now, do not be discouraged. The employer would not have asked for an interview if your resume or application did not impress him or her.

Consider transferable skills that you have developed through all your experiences including school, family, volunteer and personal responsibilities. Keep in mind this is a professional conversation and use good judgement about broaching personal topics, but your overall goal is to describe situations in which you have used the skills the employer is looking for. By spending time before the interview thinking about these things, you will feel more at ease in the interview.