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Internships and Experiential Learning

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The Office of Career Strategy manages numerous internship programs and also provides access to thousands of other opportunities in the US and throughout the world. In addition, many students choose to created customized placements to meet their precise needs. However you obtain your internship, please also take note of our general tips for success to ensure that you derive the maximum benefit from your experience. Thorough preparation is crucial in maximizing the likelihood of a successful experience and students are encouraged to begin this process as early as possible.

Your Internship Search

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. 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, enhance your skill set, 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. Review the Values, Interests, and Skills section in the Career Strategy Workbook to start. 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 Peer Networking Lists in the Document Library in your Yale Career Link. Connect with your peers in the Summer Experiences Lists!

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: One helpful tool 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 to start.

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