An internship provides a student with hands-on experience in the work environment. Internships are for a fixed period of time, often for a summer or a semester. Learn More Indiana answers common questions about internships below.
When should I intern?
The sooner you are able to obtain an internship, the better! Employers often post internships months well before the start date, so don’t delay starting your search. Employers usually prefer college students who have been in school for a few years, so you may have to apply for more internships if you are a freshman or sophomore or in the first year of an associate degree program.
If you intern during a summer or a semester when you’re not taking any classes, you will be able to get an in-depth experience at a particular company. If you choose this type of internship, make sure the experience will be valuable for both you and the company. You won’t want to spend 40 hours a week getting coffee for your boss. If you intern while taking classes, don’t commit to more hours than you can handle. Experts suggest no more than 15 hours per week if you are a full-time student.
What if the internship is unpaid?
Unpaid internships can still be valuable! You will be able to add job skills to your résumé, increase your network of professionals and possibly learn about job openings. Employers are more likely to hire someone who has interned for them.
If the internship is unpaid, find out if the employer will pay for other costs such as housing, moving or plane tickets. You may be able to attend professional conferences or other events for free, too.
What will I get out of an internship?
An internship will help you discover your interests and skills. You’ll learn whether you like the work environment of your chosen career. For example, you might learn that you prefer large companies to small ones. This is important information when it comes to applying for jobs!
You will expand your network of professionals. When you are job searching, you can reach out to your new contacts to find out about job openings and ask for recommendations. They may even contact you if they are hiring.
If your internship is paid, you will also receive a salary or a scholarship to use towards your tuition. But don’t discount the value of unpaid internships.
Many interns get a job out of their internships. If the company likes you and they have a job opening, they may offer it to you first. It’s a win-win situation since both of you will already know that you’re a good match for the organization.
How can I find an internship?
There are lots of ways to find internships. Here are a few:
- IndianaINtern.net. This free resource connects employers and students—including high school students and nondegree-seeking individuals—across the state.
- Company websites. Regularly check the websites of companies in your career field for internship opportunities, and don’t be afraid to email them directly. If you take initiative, some organizations will create an internship just for you.
- Your career center. Your college probably has a career center with internship listings, mock interviews and more. Visit or call them for an updated list.
- Indiana internships. Browse summer internships with various agencies in the State of Indiana.
- Professors or teachers. Professors or teachers may know of internships, or they may be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. Just be sure to do well in their classes first!