Get the Internship You Want

Aug. 16, 2016

It’s a key step in forging a post-graduation career. Follow these dos and don’ts to landing a great gig.

Your internship should involve much more than getting coffee and making copies. Find the right fit and you’ll gain real-world experience and make important relationships. Fortunately, the University of Arizona’s Asian Pacific American Student Affairs (APASA) provides plenty of help through its 11-week internship preparation program that is open to all UA students. Sign up and you’ll get tips on resume-building, job searching, interviewing, networking and more. And as you start your search, keep these dos and don’ts in mind.

DO choose an internship that interests you. Make sure it’s in an industry you can see yourself working in beyond graduation. 

DO set specific goals for your internship. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you focus your search.

DO go to networking and community events. Relationship building is an important part of the process, so get out there and shake some hands. 

DO follow up. Even if there isn’t an immediate opening, keep in touch. Don’t turn into a stalker, but do send an email every few months to let the person know you’re serious about the field.

DON’T expect your internship to be paid. You don’t want to pass up the opportunity to gain valuable experience if the right internship happens to come without a check.

DON’T settle when choosing an internship. Tedious tasks, such as answering phones and stocking the supply cabinet, should be kept to a minimum. Ask how much hands-on experience you’ll get to gauge if it’s the right fit.

DON’T limit yourself to big-name companies. Startups, small businesses and local nonprofits can offer a greater chance to dive into meaningful projects due to smaller staff sizes.

DON’T wait for an internship to find you. Research companies and organizations that interest you and approach them directly.