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Finding/Creating Your Internship

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There are numerous ways and resources to find a meaningful internship opportunity: apply to open opportunities through on-campus programs, search independent internship programs and/or company websites, or develop your own. To lean more about on-campus programs, review helpful links in our Internships section, read about the Yale-coordinated Internship Programs, and learn more about On Campus Recruiting.  

There are many companies that do not participate in formal internship programs, however, or publicize their offerings. This doesn't mean they are unable to accept an intern, and with research, time, and effort, you can develop an opportunity tailored to your career goals.

Step One: Determine Your Goals

Is your internship a vehicle to try out a particular career field, engage in research, or participate in an independent study project? Do you want to improve your foreign language ability or explore a new culture?

A great place to start is by understanding your career interests, personal values, and skills. In the Document Library in your Yale Career Link, search for the "Career Strategy Workbook: Rubrics and Worksheets". This can help guide your reflection on where you want to work and what you want to learn in an internship experience.

Step Two: Make Contact

Making contact and building new professional relationships is essentially networking. The Office of Career Strategy has numerous resources to help you through this process, beginning with our Networking page which holds tips, advice, and several guides. From there, reach out to alumni through the Yale Career Network, LinkedIn, and the Class Lists in the Document Library in your Yale Career Link. Connect with your peers in the Summer Experiences Lists, also in the Document Library in your Yale Career Link.

Step Three: Develop A Learning Plan

After you've connected with an individual or organization interested in considering you for an internship, it is important to clarify desired outcomes and expectations (both yours and the employer's) to ensure everyone's experience is meaningful and engaging.

Tip: A tool you can use to assist you with this is a Learning Plan. A Learning Plan is a document that allows you and your employer to develop and articulate summer goals, how you will achieve and evaluate them, and the structure of supervision. Consider specific professional skills and knowledge you are looking to gain, and the tasks/projects that will help you achieve these. You may also wish to include personal goals regarding attitudes and values (e.g. being more patient, being able to adapt quickly in changing environments). Using the right language will help when identifying goals; refer to our sample Resume Action Verbs list as a starting point.

Remember that the Office of Career Strategy is here to assist you with all steps of this process.