Internship Prep Guide


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This is meant to be an audio and visual preparation guide for students seeking an internship, but the audio doesn't work through slideshare. There will be a full version on our website at

It is tailored for IPFW students, but there is good information for all students. It guides students through the process of finding an internship including resumes, contacting employers, interviews, accepting/declining an offer, and more.

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  • Hello & welcome to the Career Services on-line guide to internships. This online guide is meant to prepare you for the internship-seeking phase including how to contact employers, preparing for interviews, accepting or declining an offer, and other guidelines to be successful with finding your internship. Let’s begin to Make the Connection to Internships!
  • You already know of some benefits that internships can provide like gaining experience, but there are other benefits for you to be aware of which will help you be successful. A major doesn’t determine a career path. Even technical-training majors like nursing and engineering have additional options to consider like location (hospital vs. clinic) and areas of interest (environmental vs. urban planning). Internships give you the chance to experience different locations and areas of interest while connecting what you’ve learned in the classroom to the real-world. Another added benefit to internships is the chance for full-time employment. About 60% of interns are hired by their employers and an additional 20% of interns are referred out to other related employers for full-time hire. This is why networking is so important while you’re interning. Take advantage of meeting co-workers and business partners at your company, and who knows what might come out of it.One last thing before we continue on… remember that Career Services at IPFW only assists with non-credit internships. If you would like to receive academic credit for your internship please contact your advisor or the OACS office.
  • It can take up to 6 months or more to find a full-time professional job. Our goal is to walk you through the job searching process as a student so when graduation nears you’re prepared to have a successful job search. You’ve probably already completed the Interest Form online, but if not that would be the first thing to do. Once you’ve completed the online form you’ll be contacted to meet with a career counselor. The career counselor will help you revise or create a resume, brainstorm goals, and a list of companies to research. There is an internship booklet in the Career Services office which you can use as a workbook for this whole process.Once you met with a career counselor and updated your resume, it’s time to meet with the Internship Coordinator. The Internship Coordinator will review your goals, list of companies, and work with you to create action steps to continue on the path of seeking an internship. Every student seeking an internship needs to provide the Internship Coordinator with an electronic copy of your resume. Once the resume is received, then you & the internship coordinator will split up your list of companies to begin contacting. If you’re concerned about how to contact companies and what to say to employers, don’t worry the internship coordinator can coach you through this.Once your resume is finished you can also search on JobZone and Indiana INTERNnet for any open positions in which you’re interested in applying. The additional list of companies which you developed and split up between you and the internship coordinator should be companies not found on JobZone and Indiana INTERNnet. It’s believed that 80% of positions are in the hidden job market, meaning they’re never publicly posted. The list of additional companies is meant to break through the hidden job market by either contacting them to inquire about opportunities or sending a stellar cover letter and resume requesting more information and a chance to meet. Any Career Counselor can assist you with cover letters and what to say to employers, but the internship coordinator will go over any concerns you might have.As you begin and continue to contact companies and apply for internships you should be hearing responses from employers requesting interviews or a time to meet. Even if the employer asks to meet with you but doesn’t use the word interview, still treat it like a formal interview because they want to meet to determine if you’ll be a good intern for their company. Career Services can help you prepare for the interview. We have mock interview appointments available or if you just have some questions and want to know how to prepare, we can help with that too. Don’t forget to send a thank you note to all employers you meet with for interviews.
  • It is important to keep the internship coordinator updated on all your contacts, progress and interviews that you’re doing. The internship coordinator will only continue to contact employers if it’s known that you’re doing your part as well.As you interview, don’t forget to ask the employers questions that you want to know about their company. You will hopefully get more than one interview and offer so you need to know how to make that decision. Write acceptance and/or rejection letter(s) and send to the employers. We’ll talk more about these letters later in the presentation.Once you’ve accepted an internship then notify the internship coordinator, complete the Internship Report Form, and submit it to Career Services. Don’t forget that an internship is like a professional job. You need to dress professionally, show up on time, and adhere to business etiquette and other guidelines put forth by the company. The internship coordinator will contact you and your supervisor for one site-visit during the semester you’re interning to ensure both the student and the employer are having a positive experience and it’s a learning experience.During the last week of your internship you should complete evaluations which are found online. You complete one about your experience and your supervisor completes one about you.
  • Now that you know the essential timeline of obtaining and completing an internship, let’s back up a bit and talk about how to brainstorm your list of potential companies or industries. Start by trying to complete this statement: “It would be so cool to work for….” Did you think of one or more companies or industries? If so, write them down. If not, then there are more research avenues to determine relevant companies. Check out JobZone at and Indiana INTERNnet at You can review the list of current internship openings and see if any are of interest to you.We do recommend you to create an additional list of companies, not on JobZone or Indiana INTERNnet, so we can help you conduct some cold calls to other employers. Check out any of the resources listed here to start your research.When it comes time to contact companies and inquire about internships there are a few ways to go about this.Write a letter of inquiry (there are samples in the career guide, in the cover letter section) and send it with your resume to the companiesEmail a contact at the companies inquiring about opportunities and your interest in them. Be sure to attach your resume for their review. (there is a sample email cover letter in the career guide, too)Call the company and request to speak to someone regarding internships. Introduce yourself and inquire about internship opportunities for the semester in which you’re hoping to intern. If they’re familiar with internships and interested in seeing your resume ask what is the best way to apply. Some may have you apply online through their website first. Be sure to follow-up with the person you spoke with on the phone and thank them for their time. Send him/her a thank you letter and inform them that you did apply online and look forward to hearing from them. Thank you letters are rare, so if you send one then you’ll really stand out among the crowd.
  • After you’ve made all the phone calls and sent in all your resumes and applications there should be some interview offers. Don’t get caught unaware, be sure to prepare for the interview. Career Services offers mock interview appointments which help to reduce the butterflies and provides you with additional questions that the employer might ask.It’s very important to research the company! A common question employers ask is “Why do you want to intern with us?” and you should provide an answer that relates back to their mission or services. If you answer something like “I just want to get some experience” they may think, well you can get that experience anywhere why us? There’s more information in the career guide’s interview section on what to do before during and after the interview.During the interview make sure you’ve dressed professionally and smile to the interviewer and the other staff at the company. Be confident and enthusiastic, a lot of employers will hire interns based upon enthusiasm and character that’s conveyed during the interview. Make sure you ask questions at the end of the interview (which you should have prepared while doing your research on the company).After the interview be sure to send thank you letters! Remember this will help you stand out in a crowd. There are guidelines and samples in the cover letter section of the career guide.
  • Here is some more information about writing thank you notes. These samples can be found in the career guide. Thank you letters gives you one more chance to get your name in front of the employers and convey your enthusiasm about possibly interning with them.Even if you’ve decided after the interview that you don’t want to intern with that company, you should still send a thank you note. They took time out of their day to review your resume and talk with you about their company and internships. It’s good karma to at least thank them for their time. Send it within 24 hours either typed, handwritten, or by email.
  • So how do you decide if this internship is a good one? Review the goals you wrote at the beginning of the process, you should have recorded them in the internship booklet. Does this internship match your goals? Was there anything said during the interview that made you lean one way or the other? When they described the duties you would be doing for the internship, are they related to your major?If you’re unsure about any of these, talk to the internship coordinator in Career Services for assistance with analyzing your options.The other thing you should be aware of is the implications of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with internships. The Fair Labor Standards Act was developed by the US Department of Labor and describes the difference between duties for an unpaid trainee (or intern) and a paid employee. These links provide you with more information about the guidelines and there is also information in the Internship Booklet provided by IPFW Career Services. Know this: the majority of for-profit employers should provide their interns with compensation for the work they do, by at least minimum wage or a salary comparable to their current pay-practices. The only way a for-profit company would have an unpaid internship is if the program follows the 6 guidelines outlined by the FLSA. Non-profit organizations are different since they do not have a bottom line of profit and any money that is made from unpaid interns are used towards additional services to their clients.This may seem complicated, but remember that it’s not your responsibility to tell employers about the FLSA. Your responsibility is to yourself and to bring questions to the internship coordinator if you’re unsure about an unpaid internship. You have rights too, and we want to make sure you’re not taken advantage of.
  • Okay, so you’ve been offered an internship and you’re excited to accept it, and you should be! This is an exciting time to be putting into practice what you’ve been learning in classrooms.But, before you accept the position remember that this is a commitment for a full semesters worth of work & training with this employer. You shouldn’t accept an internship and then turn in your resignation a couple weeks later because it wasn’t what you expected. The interview with the employer should have given you plenty of opportunity to ask questions and even be given a tour (if allowed). You should have also done research on the company before the interview so you knew what questions to ask.If the experience isn’t what you expected then we need to determine if it’s because it was advertised as something different than what you applied for, or if it was because you didn’t do the research. If there is an error on the employers part and you were given the impression that the internship was going to be different, then talk to the internship coordinator and maybe a resolution can be made by the employer. Don’t quit without exploring options to fix the problems that you’re experiencing.If you do quit the internship before the semester is over without any warning to the employer or the internship coordinator, then you risk these potential results. Employers will remember your name and they do network with other companies and organizations. Your name could end up having a negative connotation associated with it and since you’re an IPFW student the employer might think twice about hiring another IPFW student.Career Services wants to ensure you’re following the proper steps to leave a company on good terms. We will require you to write a formal letter of resignation to your employer and submit a copy of it to Career Services. We also want you to discuss the reason for your decision to quit with a career counselor, or the internship coordinator, if you haven’t done so already. Career Counselors can help with determining why it wasn’t a fit and what you need to be successful in your career development. Sometimes students quit because they weren’t ready for an internship yet, but a job shadow or informational interview with an employer would have been better. We can help with those as well.If and when you are ready for another internship after quitting the previous one, please note that Career Services will request you to do some additional work to reduce the chances of another lost opportunity. This additional work is only required if you want to utilize the internship services in the office. You will always have the option to seek assistance with resume critiques, interviewing help, career counseling, and more through the office. These are free services for all students and alumni.
  • You’ve done your research and are certain this internship is right for you and you want to commit a full semester to learning more hands-on relevant experience related to your major. GREAT! It’s time to write the acceptance letter. These are very simple and short messages conveying your acceptance of the position.If you received multiple offers and you need to decline one or more, then be sure to write a rejection letter to that employer. Be careful not to be overly open about your reason for declining, because if you want to consider them in the future you’ll want them to have a professional impression of you. Also, remember that employers talk to each other and you don’t want to risk a negative letter to be shared within their networks.Be sure to follow the business letter format guidelines when writing either letter. There are samples in the career guide in the cover letter section.
  • Job Searching is like one continuous cycle until you achieve the job offer. If you aren’t receiving any offers then you have a few options.Ask the companies if you may follow up with them within a weekMost are open to this and it reminds the companies of your name and that you’re eager to work for them. This characteristic speaks very highly to employers. Never challenge or question their process of hiring, but it is okay to inquire about the timeline for hire and restate your interest.If you don’t hear from companies within a week of interviewing, call or email to inquire about the status of their decisionThe previously stated benefits of following up are still true. But, if the employer adamantly states that they will contact you then please be respectful of their wishes.Continue with the search processKeep researching other companies, applying for openings on JobZone and Indiana INTERNnet, and preparing for interviews. The searching process doesn’t end until you have an offer in hand.
  • Remember that an internship is a professional position. About 60% of interns are offered full-time positions by their company and another 20% are offered a position by a company with whom they networked during the internship. So, if you have an 80% chance of getting a job offer, make sure to take full advantage of the internship process. (click) We don’t want you to be in the category of interns that do not get job offers. Usually the job offers won’t come if there is a lack of professionalism.So, remember these tips so you don’t “hang” yourself during the internship. (click)Arrive on time everydayKnow and follow company dress codesDo not get on Facebook or other social networking sites while at workPut your cell phone on silent; don’t text message during work hours Don’t use company resources for personal useNo matter how bad of a day you had at your internship, DO NOT post negative comments about the company or its employees on the internet
  • Don’t forget one of the requirements is to submit the Internship Report Form to the Internship Coordinator in Career Services. This usually is completed within the first week of the internship. If this is not submitted then IPFW cannot validate your internship.
  • Congratulations you made it through the online internship prep guide. Now click on this link to take the quiz and record your completion of this task in your internship booklet provided to you by Career Services. Don’t forget to connect back with the internship coordinator or a career counselor to show your progress and continue on the path to finding an internship.
  • Internship Prep Guide

    1. 1. Make the Connection to Internships! Table of Contents • Internship Benefits • Timeline • Contacting Employers • Interview Skills • Thank you cards • Before you accept an internship • How to accept/decline an internship • What to do if no offer comes • Professional Guidelines • Internship report form
    2. 2. Internship Benefits • Gain professional experience and work skills in a particular field or industry • Determine a career path or test compatibility of your chosen major by engaging in hands-on experience • Increased opportunity for securing full-time employment after graduation: about 60% of employers will offer full time positions to students who have had internships with them previously • Network with industry professionals Career Services only services non-academic credit seeking students. If you are looking to receive academic credit for your internship please see the Office of Academic Internships, Cooperative Education and Service Learning (OACS), located in Neff 337. Make the Connection to Internships!
    3. 3. Timeline4 to 5 Months prior to internship start date• Complete Internship Program: Interest Form (• Write out goals & objectives for your internship experience• Prepare a list of companies with whom you would like to intern• Create/Update your resume• Meet with a career counselor (bring goals, companies, & resume) 2 to 3 Months prior to internship start date • Complete a mock interview with a career counselor • Call companies to inquire about internships and interviews 3 to 4 Months prior to internship start date • Begin interviewing and follow up with • Attend career and internship fairs thank you notes • Research companies and internship opportunities, and compare to FLSA guidelines • Complete a resume critique with a career counselor and submit a finalized resume to internship coordinator • Apply for any open internship positions through JobZone (, Indiana INTERNnet (, or by creating an original opportunity with the assistance of Career Services Make the Connection to Internships!
    4. 4. Timeline 1 Month prior or within the 1st week of internship • Complete an Internship Report Form and submit it to Career Services1 to 2 Months prior to internship start date (• Continue interviewing and contacting employers• Write acceptance/rejection letter(s) based upon your decisions Throughout Internship Semester • Maintain appropriate work hours & performance as agreed upon by site supervisor • Connect with Career Services via a student appointment at least once during your internship • Participate in at least one site visit coordinated by IPFW internship coordinator • Complete an end-of-semester evaluation and submit it to Career Services with logged work hours ( Make the Connection to Internships!
    5. 5. Contacting Employers• Develop a list of companies or organizations that could best fulfill your goals.• You can review a list of current internship openings through JobZone and Indiana INTERNnet.• If youre unsure of what other companies are in the area, here are a few resources to use when doing your research: Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce Better Business Bureau United Way of Allen County Leadership Fort Wayne Phone Book - Yellow Pages Make the Connection to Internships!
    6. 6. Interview Skills To best equip yourself for an interview you should prepare before, during, and after the interview:Before: During:1. Research the company 1. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, and the position make eye contact and smile2. Prepare for the actual 2. Be confident, alert, and enthusiastic interview (use the 3. Take time to reflect before answering a difficult Career Guide, section 8) question3. Practice and relax 4. Be prepared to ask questions at the end of the interview 5. Be conscious of your body language After: 1. Follow-up with a “thank-you” letter 2. Thank-you letters can be handwritten, typed, or emailed 3. Use the Career Guide, Cover Letter Section, for an example Make the Connection to Internships!
    7. 7. Thank You Cards • This is one of the most important yet least used tools in a job search. • The purpose is to establish good will, express appreciation, and/or to strengthen your candidacy. • The basic rule of thumb is to send a letter to everyone who helps you in any way. Thank-you letters should be sent within 24 hours to each contact. • Thank-you letters may be typed, handwritten, or e-mailed. Make the Connection to Internships!
    8. 8. Deciding on an Internship Does this Should I wait to internship help hear back from me achieve my other companies? career goals? Does this Would this qualify internshipDoes this internship as relevant meet the FLSAmatch my interests experience? guidelines? and values? FLSA Guidelines: Quick Facts about FLSA: NY Times article with additional information: Make the Connection to Internships!
    9. 9. Before You Accept an InternshipIf you choose to quit an internship before the semester is over, then you risk the following:• A negative perception of you & IPFW students• Companies network with each other and share good & bad experiences• Bad business etiquette• Career Services requests: • An official resignation letter to the employer to regain access to JobZone • Discuss reasons for quitting with a career counselor• Want another internship? Career Services will request additional work, like: • Professional goals • Pro and Con lists of other companies you’re considering • Mock interview appointment • Other careers/industries you would want to pursue • Practice networking *Note- You can still utilize services (other than internships) through Career Services, including: resume critiques, networking, grad school prep, job searching advice, etc. Make the Connection to Internships!
    10. 10. How to Accept or Decline an Internship Offer Please refer to the Cover Letter section in our Career Guide (available at or in KT 109) or contact Career Services for help with writing your acceptance or rejection letter Make the Connection to Internships!
    11. 11. What to Do if No Offer ComesContinue researching other internship opportunities Continue preparing for Ask companies if you may interviews follow up with them within the next week If you do not hear from companies within a week call/email to inquire about the status of their decision Make the Connection to Internships!
    12. 12. Professional Guidelines MAINTAIN PROFESSIONALISM • Arrive on time everyday • Know and follow company dress codes • Do not get on Facebook or other social networking sites while at work • Put your cell phone on silent; don’t text message during work hours • Don’t use company resources for personal use • No matter how bad of a day you had at your internship, DO NOT post negative comments about the company or its employees on the internet Make the Connection to Internships!
    13. 13. Internship Report Form Please complete the Internship Report Form and submit it to Career Make the Connection to Internships!
    14. 14. Congratulations! TAKE THE QUIZ Make the Connection to Internships!