How Do You Land Your Internship?

Finding and then getting an internship is limited only by your imagination and resourcefulness. Using the experiences of others who have gone before you can be exceedingly helpful and save you time. And don't forget to factor in how you can get academic credit for that internship.

Develop Your Internship Opportunity
  • Find companies, non-profit organizations, or government agencies of interest
    Career-Related Web Links has several pages with links to useful websites. Non-Profit Organizations and Researching Employers are most likely to be helpful. McKeldin Library's Research Port has several databases of companies; for example Hoovers and Lexis-Nexis.

  • Research your targeted employers
    From your research, make a list of potential employers—for instance five or ten. Learn as much as you can about the organization(s). Ask your network (family, friends, faculty, fellow classmates) what they know about the company. Scour its website and any marketing materials. Understand the mission and goals of the organization to be prepared and educated when you speak with the potential employer. Absolutely, know their products and/or services.

  • Contact the organization directly
    Not all organizations post their internship opportunities on databases or websites. Therefore, if you find a company that does the kind of work of interest to you, ask if they have internships by calling, e-mailing, or writing a letter. Ask if they hire interns, have hired interns in the past, or are interested in hiring interns. Your contact might ignite their interest in hiring a student intern.

  • Propose your request
    Contact the person who has the authority to hire you. While there is no prescribed way to make the proposal, consider this:
    • Be clear and concise when explaining what you want to do and why they need you to do it.
    • From your previous research, develop a project or responsibility and explain your ability to do it. Don't say you are willing to do anything. It is ambiguous and the employer doesn't want to figure out something for you.
    • Communicate why you are the RIGHT person for their company using information about your academic abilities, interests, skills, and experiences.
    • Include your available days and hours and whether you are seeking a full-time (likely in the summer) or part-time internship.
    • Indicate if you are seeking a paid (or unpaid) position.
    • Offer to send a resume and cover letter for their consideration and ask for the appropriate address to send that information.
    • Be assertive (not pushy). 
    • If calling, write a script including responses to possible comments or questions. The more you prepare, the less likely to stumble on your words.

  • Follow-up
    Follow-up with resumes, cover letters, phone calls, e-mails, etc., if asked. No matter the outcome of your proposal, send a thank you note. You never know how a single gesture of appreciation and professionalism can help you. For instance, your contact is more likely to remember you if an internship is created or a full-time job becomes available.


How to Get Academic Credit for Your Internship
  • Follow University of Maryland procedures to make sure your internship is eligible for credit and to ensure you get credit. Academic credit can be earned with your internship and applied toward graduation, satisfy the General Education requirements, and/or satisfy requirements in your major.

  • While individual departments and colleges may have their own guidelines, consider the following as a general guide for time commitment and credit.
    • University Standard: Required Hours per Credit
      1 Credit – 45 Hours (5 hrs/wk)
      2 Credits – 90 Hours (6.67 hrs/wk)
      3 Credits – 135 Hours (9 hrs/wk)
      4 Credits – 180 Hours (12 hrs/wk)
      5 Credits – 225 Hours (15 hrs/wk)
      6 Credits – 270 Hours (18 hrs/wk)

  • You should consult with your academic advisor early in the internship process.

  • Another source of information about internships is your department or college internship coordinator.
    Find Your Internship Advisor --»


Preparing for Your Internship Opportunity

Interviewing for an internship may be very different from interviews you have had in the past for summer or part time jobs. However, it is very similar to interviewing for a full time job.

The secrets to a great interview?
Preparation! Preparation! Preparation!
Practice! Practice! Practice!

The interview is possibly the most significant 30 to 60 minutes you'll spend in determining your internship and/or job.

Yet, despite the importance of interviews, most people don't spend much time preparing for them. Interviewees may be so nervous that any thoughts of preparation are blocked. In other cases, they think they speak well and "whatever happens, happens." Both attitudes lead to poor results.

Just as in learning any skill—from making a speech to serving a tennis ball—successful interviewing requires learning what to do and then practicing.

Virtual Mock Interviewing:
One strategy to improve your interview skills is to make a video of yourself answering questions and then get feedback on how you did.
Learn more

Below are some helpful guides to interviewing from the University of Maryland's Career Center & The President's Promise.

Types of Interviews:

What to Do:

More Information: