An internship offers you a chance to learn and discover different areas of interest while you gain practical experience in the real working world. It can also help you decide if a particular field is one in which want to pursue a career. These opportunities may be paid, volunteer, or for academic credit. With today’s job market being highly competitive, you will need to make yourself stand out amongst the rest. Students who have completed internships obtain employment more quickly following graduation.
- Learn more about a chosen field.
- Apply classroom theory to real work situations.
- Become more knowledgeable about general work functions in particular fields.
- Stimulate new interest in academic course work and frequently develop an interdisciplinary perspective.
- Gain an increased awareness of values, interests, personality and skills.
- Identify transferable skills and/or test interests and talents.
- Investigate organizational cultures.
- Strengthen written and oral skills.
- Enhance and strengthen your resume.
- Make contacts to gain future employment.
- Bridge between college and work.
Obtaining an internship is an involved process, and the students who find the most success are the ones who are diligent and thoughtful in their approach. A well-formulated strategy will help you achieve your goals.
The mistake many students make is to assume that the process of securing an internship ends when a resume is submitted. In fact, the process requires many more activities that should begin months in advance of an anticipated start date. Internship strategies are individualized to each student. But, there are some activities that should be universal to all searches, including:
- Researching organizations
- Customizing each resume and cover letter to the position at hand
- Locating Lewis & Clark students who have interned with the company previously via the Lewis & Clark College Career Network (L&C Net)
- Networking with alums, faculty and other professionals
- Preparing in advance for an interview
- Being patient and resilient
The most effective internship search is one that incorporates multiple strategies. Often, the two most effective strategies are: using online databases and developing your personal network.
Online databases are the place to go to find open advertised positions including PIOlink and NIC which are managed by 3CE.
Develop a Personal Network
Networking is about building relationships and is a simple yet powerful way to search for an internship. Connect with Lewis & Clark alumni on the Lewis & Clark College Career Network (L&C Net).
Create Your Own Internship
If there is an organization where you’d like to work but you don’t think that it has an internship program, be proactive about creating your own opportunity.
- Begin by researching the organization thoroughly.
- Determine in advance why the organization should take you on as an intern, and what value you can add to its current work.
- What specific strengths, previous experience and transferable skills can you offer?
- Contact a person working in the area where you would like to be, and offer to work as an intern. A great place to start making connections is LinkedIn.
- If the organization is in the non-profit or public sectors, let them know that it is possible you can get funding from a Lewis & Clark summer internship grant.
- Be clear about why you are approaching this organization (or person) specifically, and what you have to offer.
Internships are a great way to gain practical experience in your field of interest regardless of whether or not you are getting paid. In fact, unpaid internships can offer you the opportunity to work for organizations that are meaningful to you, but cannot afford to pay you due to limited resources. 3CE understands that supporting yourself during an unpaid internship can be challenging. But don’t fret…we’re here to help! Our summer internship grants can help subsidize your unpaid summer opportunity.
Most employers expect recent graduates to have at least one quality internship experience. However, many internships are unpaid forcing students to choose between wages or experience. These once in a lifetime opportunities were created in order to provide funding to Lewis & Clark students who demonstrate a financial need. These awards enable students to pursue important academic and career options even in fields that do not traditionally provide internship stipends and in locations where travel and living expenses represent a financial burden.
Stephanie Fowler & Irving Levin Summer Internship Award
The Stephanie Fowler & Irving Levin Summer Internship Award (Fowler & Levin) grants each student between $1,500 and $2,500 for living expenses and other internship related costs.
Miller Internship Award
The purpose of the Miller Internship Award (Miller) is to underwrite or supplement expenses of students at Lewis & Clark College who are engaged in scientific research internships in the mathematical and natural sciences.
Are you interested in earning academic credit for your internship? Please check with your Academic Advisor and the Department you wish to receive credit from for specific information.
Students seeking course credit for internship work will be charged a $200 fee, but will not be charged summer tuition. This includes international students who are required to register for internships completed during the summer term, and students interning at organizations that require course credit. The $200 fee covers administrative costs but should not be prohibitive. Students who wish to receive credit must register before beginning the practicum or internship.
Congratulations, you have secured an internship! Now that you have the position, it’s time to focus on how you can make the most of your time there and leave a lasting impression. Remember – the people you work with at your internship could be your future employers. Even if you never end up returning to work at the place you intern, the people you meet there can provide valuable job contacts and great recommendations.
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The Center for Career and Community Engagement (3CE) is located in room 206 of Albany Quadrangle on the Undergraduate Campus.
Center for Career and Community Engagement (3CE)
Lewis & Clark
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road, MSC 175
Portland, OR 97219