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What is an Internship?

It is more important than ever to participate in an internship or pre-professional experience before you look for a job upon graduation. Increasingly, employers want people with experience, and an internship provides you with that experience. In the job search, having completed an internship clearly gives you an edge over those who haven’t.

You can search for and complete an internship at any point during your undergraduate or graduate education. There are even internship opportunities available for recent graduates. Starting the internship search process either freshman or sophomore year allows you the flexibility to complete multiple internships in a variety of fields.

Internships are:

  • Short-term, supervised pre-professional work experiences which provide you training and experience in a specific field or career area.
  • Learning experiences where you are expected to be productive and add value to the organization.

Internships may:

  • Be paid or unpaid.
  • Be for academic credit or not.
  • Be formal or informal.
  • Vary in hours and length.
  • Take place any time during formal education or after completion of your degree.

In an internship you may:

  • Gain valuable, hands-on, work experience in a real-life career field.
  • Explore a career field of interest without making a commitment.
  • Identify an employer for full-time employment after college.
  • Evaluate and be evaluated by a potential employer.
  • Integrate and complement academic studies with on-the-job professional level experience.
  • Test personal aptitudes, abilities, and interests in relation to your career choice and job demands.
  • Develop marketable, transferable skills which employers value.
  • Provide a valuable resource to an employer and make a real-world impact.

Finding an internship is:

  • Similar to finding a job. Complete the “Checklist for Internship and Job Search Success”. Establish a GoldPASS powered by Handshake account. Look for opportunities and apply for them.
  • Sometimes easier than finding a job. Employers value the opportunity to evaluate interns as potential employees and benefit from the energy and ideas interns bring to the workplace.

How Career and Internship Services Can Help With the Internship Process

  • Meet with a Career Counselor - A counselor can help you create a search plan for finding an internship, review your resume and cover letter, and practice interviewing.
  • Resume - Start your resume prior to starting the internship search process. This will provide you time to perfect the details of the document before needing to submit it with an application. Here are our different resume services:
    • Have a CRC Peer Educator review it.
    • Resume Drop-ins (5-10 minutes to meet with a counselor or Peer Educator - no appointment needed!)
    • Beginning Resume Workshop - See our Workshops page for more information.
    • Resume Critique - email or drop off your resume and it will be returned to you within 10 days.
    • Check the UMD Career Handbook for more detailed information on how to write a resume.
  • Cover Letter - The UMD Career Handbook has information and samples for writing cover letters.
  • Assessments - We offer three assessments (Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and StrengthsQuest) that can help explore more options if you are not quite sure what field you want to pursue an internship.
  • Informational Interviewing - Interview professionals in the field to learn more about different careers and organizations. This is also a great way to start building your network.
  • Establish an Online Presence - We can help you establish and build your presence on various social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. We host LinkedIn Drop-ins, to help you work on your LinkedIn profile. See our social media page for more details on the importance of social media in your internship or job search.
  • Job & Internship Fairs - The Career and Internship Services office sponsors a number of Job & Internship Fairs throughout the school year on-campus, at other local universities, and with other University of Minnesota campuses.

Resources to Start With

GoldPASS powered by Handshake

GoldPASS powered by Handshake is a free, online service where UMD students, alumni, and employers connect. UMD students and alumni can post resumes, view job and internship listings, register for career fairs, schedule interviews, and more. Employers can post jobs, schedule information sessions, set-up interviews, and browse for qualified applicants among registered UMD students and alumni.


A job and internship seeker’s tool for finding employment at home and abroad. Find detailed career-related information for over 35 countries along with major metro areas in the United States and Canada. This resource is FREE to UMD students and alumni. Log in through GoldPASS powered by Handshake and click on the Going Global link on your GoldPASS powered by Handshake homepage.

UMD Career and Internship Services Social Media

Follow us on various social media platforms for announcements about opportunities, events, and general career-related information ranging from finding and picking a major to search for an internship to life after graduation.

  • LinkedIn: network with peers, alumni, employers, and UMD staff and faculty
  • Twitter: positions, articles, and event announcements
  • Facebook: articles, events, and connecting with our student staff
  • Pinterest: tips on dress, social media, internship searching, and more

General Internship Search Resources

Any links to external Web sites are provided as a courtesy. They should not be construed as an endorsement by Career and Internship Services of the content or views of the linked materials. The individual is advised to use caution and common sense when applying for any position with an organization or a private party.

Internship Programs

Many companies have structured internship programs open to students ranging from freshman status to recent graduates. This listing of companies is to help start your search and to give you ideas of what is potentially available for internships. There are opportunities for each major area of study that UMD offers and companies are located in Minnesota, regionally, and nationally.

Intern Away

Intern away is the concept of leaving your current geographic location (i.e. Duluth, Minnesota, or the Midwest) and interning with an organization in another part of the country. This could be your opportunity to: figure out if you truly could “live anywhere,” travel, expand your cultural horizons, and experience your field of interest in another area of the United States. Completing and being able to articulate an experience like this can show future employers that you have skills such as adaptability, independence, or taking initiative.

Design Your Own Internship

You may want to intern for a particular organization that does not normally offer an internship in your particular area of interest. If your area of interest is within the scope of what the organization does, you could propose an internship. It is recommended that you meet with a career counselor as proposing your own internship can be somewhat more complicated than applying for internships that are advertised.

Make the most of an internship by

  • Setting obtainable goals.
  • Having regular meetings with your supervisor and asking questions when you have them.
  • Being professional and maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Immersing yourself in the experience and doing your best work.
  • Networking with your colleagues.
  • Tracking your accomplishments and the work you complete.
  • Leaving on a positive note.

Avoid the following while at the internship

  • Arriving late or unprepared.
  • Dressing inappropriately or inconsistently with the standards of the organization.
  • Ignoring an extra work invitation such as a networking event or other out-of-office event.
  • Gossiping or complaining.

Other Tips & Resources

After the Internship

  • Reflect upon the experience. What did you learn?
  • Update your resume.
  • Send thank-you notes to your supervisor and the colleagues with whom you closely worked.
  • Ask your supervisor if they are willing to serve as a reference for you.
  • Create or update your portfolio to be able to show future employers evidence of the work you completed during your internship.
  • Practice talking about what you learned, accomplished or gained during your internship for future interviews.
  • Build upon the experience. If you liked your internship, consider what you can do next to keep gaining experience in the field.
  • If you didn’t like the internship setting, job duties, or the industry as a whole, meet with a career counselor to explore your next steps.

Other Tips & Resources

Additional Resources

Any links to external Web sites are provided as a courtesy. They should not be construed as an endorsement by Career and Internship Services of the content or views of the linked materials. The individual is advised to use caution and common sense when applying for any position with an organization or a private party.