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Student Guide to Internships

Internships are a type of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development under direct supervision in a professional setting. An integral component that distinguishes it from other types of work is one or more forms of structured and deliberate reflection contained within learning agendas or objectives.

Other types of experiential education opportunities include co-ops, externships, research, employment, studying abroad, volunteering, and campus involvement. If you are interested or have questions about internships or other types of experiential education opportunities, make an appointment with a career advisor through your Handshake account.

More on Internships:

Why should I participate?

Internships are one of the best ways to get real work experience as a student. More importantly, 66% of employers believe interview performance and relevant work experience are the most important factors in their hiring decisions, according to a study conducted by in 2012.

Internships are also an excellent way to:

  • Gain practical experience that boosts your resume
  • Explore/solidify career options
  • Build professional connections and develop relationships with potential employers
  • Enhance workplace readiness and cultivate professional growth
  • Increase your chance of landing a full-time job
  • Put your skills and knowledge to work before you graduate
  • Develop new skills and knowledge
  • Earn academic credit and/or get paid
  • Expose yourself to an employer and its organizational culture
  • Bring new perspective and ideas back to campus for your classroom and personal discussions
  • Help Rutgers build stronger ties with employers and open the door to opportunities for future students

Preparing for an Internship:

  1. Ask yourself questions:
    • Where do I want to intern?
    • How much time can I commit?
    • What skills do I want to learn?
    • How far am I willing to go (location/distance)?
    • Do I want to get paid, receive credit, neither or both?
  2. Write a resume & get it critiqued (Either make an appointment with a Career Advisor through your Handshake account or come during drop-in hours)
  3. Research opportunities, companies, and organizations of interest (Register for a “How to get an Internship” workshop through your Handshake account)
  4. Practice interviewing (Register for an “Interviewing Strategies” workshop or make an appointment with a Career Development Specialist for a mock interview through your Handshake account)

Looking for an Internship:

Tools to Utilize:

Making the Most Out of Your Internship:

  • List the skills you hope to gain and people you want to meet, and review the list periodically to ensure you are meeting your goals
  • Expect to do some busy work. A good internship should be about 80% project-oriented and 20% administrative
  • Bond with your fellow interns and co-workers
  • Establish a cordial relationship with superiors
  • Conduct information interviews and network with others to learn about career paths in your field
  • Volunteer for extra assignments. You may be given greater responsibility and more challenging assignments once you have proven your value
  • Participate in extracurricular activities
  • Be friendly and courteous to everyone
  • Secure a recommendation if possible
  • Stay in touch with your former colleagues and keep your supervisor posted on your educational and career progress
  • Credit-Bearing Internship and Co-op Programs