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Professional Experiences & Internships

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Professional opportunities can vary significantly in terms of time commitment, flexibility and hands-on involvement. As you seek out experiences, knowing your goals can help you determine what type of experience will bring the highest return for your time.

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Finding an Experience

Experiences can take many forms: part-time or full-time, on-campus or off-campus, summer or academic year, structured programs or a more unique experience. Finding the right opportunity can be exciting, but also requires persistence and resilience. Start by reviewing these resources:

Uncover additional opportunities using these strategies and resources:

Point: Check out Opportunties Offered by Preferred Yale Partners

As a Yale student, you are fortunate to have access to an enormous network of alums and employers eager to offer you opportunities. OCS works closely with many Yale alums, donors and employers that hire Yale students on a regular basis across all industries, which we refer to as Preferred Yale Partners.

  • Search for opportunities offered by Preferred Yale Partners directly in the Yale Career Link
  • Once you log-in, choose the Jobs tab, Search Jobs
  • Choose 'See All Jobs' under the Search button to create a customized search
  • Choose More Filters, and select Preferred Yale Partner 'Yes' (you can also search by location, industry, job function and other fields).

Crafting A Unique Experience

There are many organizations that do not recruit through a formal process, but that doesn't mean they do not have interns. Preparation is needed for a successful experience and students are encouraged to begin this process early. OCS provides access to thousands of opportunities in the U.S. and around the world. In addition, OCS works with students to help them craft an experience to fit their unique interests.

FAQ: Step One: Determine Your Goals

Is the internship a way to try out a career field, engage in research, or participate in an independent study project? Do you want to improve your foreign language skills or explore a new culture? A great place to start is to understand your career interests, personal values, and skills. The Values, Interests, and Skills section in the Yale College Career Strategy Workbook and the GSAS/Postdoc Career Strategy Workbook can help guide your reflection process.

FAQ: 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 Get Connected page which has tips, advice, and several guides on networking. From there, reach out to alums through the Yale Career Network, LinkedIn, and the Peer Networking Lists in the Document Library in your Yale Career Link.

FAQ: 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.

Once you've accepted an experience, consider developing a Learning Plan in collaboration with your supervisor/mentor. A Leaning 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 professional skills and knowledge you are looking to gain, and the tasks/projects that will help you achieve these.
  • You may wish to include personal goals regarding attitudes and values (e.g. 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 to get started.

Applying for an Internship

OCS can help you prepare your materials for a successful internship search. Use these resources to get started, and make an appointment with an OCS advisor through the Yale Career Link for help and advice at any point during the search process:

Tip: 'Rolling' Applications: Employers accepting applications on a rolling basis will review resumes as they are submitted and begin interviewing candidates prior to the application deadline. It's recommended that you apply to these opportunties earlier rather than later.

Additional Experience: Job Treks, Job Shadowing & Short-term Projects

Job Treks & Job Shadowing

Visits to an employer's office can allow you to experience different environments. If you are in the career exploration phase and want to sample a variety of careers, Job Treks or Job Shadowing may be for you!  Start by exploring these options, or use the Yale Career Network to reach out to alums in your industries or companies of interest and set up your own site visit.

A Job Trek may be over the course of several days, have more than one participant, and may include pre-work and/or assignments during the visit. A Job Shadow is generally one day during which a student joins a team member throughout their daily tasks. Both are excellent ways to better understand an organization, office culture, job title, and key skills needed for the industry or job.

To make the most of your experience, read this article for tips.

Short-Term Projects

Project-based work can be a way to get career exposure and training with minimal disruption to your academics. Some options include: