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Internships provide an opportunity to gain practical hands-on work and learning-centered experiences in companies and organizations. They are usually project-based and short-term. Both the intern and the company benefit from the experience.
Companies use internships to access fresh talent with new perspectives. Many companies view internships as a way to try out potential employees and may extend full-time offers at the end of the internship.
Students participate in internships to try out potential careers and employers, gain valuable applied experience, and expand their professional networks.
Internships can provide students with a great opportunity to better understand and explore job functions and industries they might be interested in, as well as a chance to develop key skills and knowledge necessary for today’s competitive job market. Internship experiences can vary greatly by industry and organization, so it is important to know what you are looking for in an internship! For example:
How long is an internship? The length of internships vary by the company, but are often held in accordance with students’ schedules. Internships can be held during the summer break or throughout the school year, often lasting between 8 and 15 weeks.
- Special Projects: Internships are a learning experience first and foremost. Many internship programs assign interns to work on a focused learning/research based project with a specific deliverable.
- Day-to-day accountabilities: Yes, it’s true that as an intern you will probably be among the lowest ranking employees in the office and have at least some menial work* and tasks assigned to you. It is important to maintain a positive attitude and take these tasks in stride. View them as yet another opportunity to learn about and experience all aspects of the business, and as an opportunity to showcase your work ethic and quality of work.
Compensation: In today’s workforce internships often offer compensation in some form. This may come as a salary, stipend, housing, class credit, etc., although unpaid internships can still be common in certain industries. While Mohr Career Services encourages companies to offer paid internships, you may find a valuable experience that is unpaid but offers great long-term career growth benefits. Make an appointment with your career advisor if you would like help weighing your options.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time: Depending on the time of year and program, internships can be available as both part-time and full-time opportunities, think about what will work best for you… are you looking for something full-time over the summer or part-time while you’re taking classes?
Internships are offered and posted throughout the year so it is important to keep up to date with your networks and internship postings. Some companies hold their application deadlines as early as August for the next summer (especially in Accounting and Finance), so be proactive and remember it is never too early to start the internship search!
Depending on the internship, organizations may limit their intern recruiting to students with junior or senior standing. This is typically because companies hope to find interns they can develop into full-time employees upon graduation. Some industries expect students to engage with them as early as their first or second year. Investment banking and public accounting offer sophomore internships and summer leadership programs as a way to assess and recruit upcoming talent.
Whether you are a junior or senior looking to turn your internship into a full-time job or a sophomore or freshman looking to gain experience and narrow down your career interests, it is never too early to start thinking about an internship.
Make an appointment with a career advisor to make an internship search plan. Also, see our Job & Internship Search page for more information.
Yes, sometimes. Often you may find yourself networking and forming relationships with professionals or organizations that either don’t offer a standard internship program or one in the field you are pursuing. In these circumstances, it is not uncommon to see internships designed or “created” for a specific person. Check out the Pitching an Internship.pdf resource to better understand the process of how to propose your own internship!
Students have also had success in expanding a summer or part-time job into a meaningful learning experience (i.e., internship). You can ask your supervisor for projects that add value to the company and give you a chance to apply the theory and frameworks you’re learning about in your classes.
Check out our Alternatives to Internships pdf to learn more about micro-internships, securing temporary work through a staffing agency, and gaining experience through meaningful volunteer projects.
1) Come prepared: Starting an internship can be an intimidating process, so it is important to get off on the right foot! Do your homework ahead of time, the more prepared you are on the first day the smoother transition into the work and company you’ll have.
- Reach out to your supervisor prior to start date to discuss your goals for the internship and how they align with the company’s expectations. You can ask about specifics such as attire, parking, what to expect on the first day, etc.
- Keep up to date and informed with recent company and industry news through relevant magazines, blogs or journals.
- Practice your commute before the first day, and be early! We recommend 15 minutes early on your first day.
- Hold informational interviews with current staff or former interns to discuss their experiences and learn about the company culture. Check with your supervisor to see if they have any particularly impactful former interns they can connect you with.
- Take notes! You will be receiving a lot of information and meeting a lot of people all at once. Be sure to keep track of all these contacts and information, you never know when it will come in handy down the line.
2) Be professional: Maintain that “first-day” attitude throughout the internship. Internships are relatively short experiences in the big picture of your life-long career. Take advantage of this time to make great and lasting impressions. Take the menial work in-stride by maintaining a positive attitude and enthusiasm to help. As bigger projects and tasks get assigned to you take the lead and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
3) Be proactive: Everybody has a problem to solve and a question they need answered, so make sure you help provide that solution! Take initiative in completing tasks, exceed expectations, and most importantly, be coachable. Remember internships are a learning experience. Express your desire to learn as often as you can by asking to be included in meetings or help with projects.
4) Connect with the people: Network, Network, Network. Internships are a great way to show industry professionals what you are capable of, so be sure to meet and introduce yourself to every person you can. From CEO to assistants, take the time to get to know as many people as you can and, even more importantly, make sure they get to know you! You never know what connection will help you in the future, so don’t be afraid to ask staff out for lunch or coffee to truly make that personal connection and build out your network.
5) Be personable: While you are networking and connecting with your coworkers, don’t forget to be yourself! Internships can sometimes feel like a competition to get a full-time job, but don’t forget to be yourself and think about what your career goals are. Supervisors and staff want to know the real you and the person they would potentially be working with every day. Focus on how/if you would fit in with this company, rather than changing yourself to fit with what you think they want.
Course credit is available to students participating in an internship. This would be upper-division elective credit that would count toward your total credits for graduation, but would not count toward Business or Accounting major requirements. Before you register for internship credit, keep in mind that you still need to pay for the credit. We strongly recommend talking with an academic advisor to weigh the costs and benefits of registering for internship credit.
If you would like more than one credit or are not a Business, Accounting, or Pre-Business major, you can work with the University Career Center.
If you need to register for a single credit and are a Business, Accounting, or Pre-Business major, you can work with us in Mohr Career Services. Complete this form to get the process started.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS — make sure to review the CPT process with ISSS if you would like to intern off campus.
Yes! We know that there are often additional costs tied to an internship, especially if you are relocating or have accepted an unpaid opportunity. Mohr Career Services has funds available to help ease some of these stressors and concerns for students pursuing internships.
Offset the costs of an internship.
Amount: Awards generally range from $200-$1000.
Eligibility: Lundquist College undergraduate majors and master’s degree students based in Eugene.
Availability: Year-round with specific application deadlines for each term.