Employers report that the most influential factor for a full-time hiring decision is whether the candidate completed a related internship (NACE 2023). An internship is a monitored work experience that has intentional learning outcomes and goals for students. Can be a semester, summer, or even year-long program and includes assignments and projects that are related to the student's major or career interests.  A minimal amount of an intern's assignments should include clerical work.

Start planning your internship search with the tips and resources below. START HERE: Internship search strategies for BSOS majors. 

EXPLORE YOUR NEEDS

What type of job function or work environment would you like to try? Take 15 minutes to complete a self-inventory on FOCUS2 to gain insights on your preferred work settings, interests and values. What skills do you have to contribute? Are there skills you would like to gain? Complete this skills checklist to discover your baseline.

Identify Your Needs:

  • What are you trying to get out of the internship?
  • Will you be pursuing academic credit for the internship?
  • Do you prefer to register for a course where internship searching is built in or locate an internship of your choice and then apply for academic credit?
  • Do you have time in your schedule during the spring, fall or summer (Note: summer tends to be most competitive)?
  • Can you take an unpaid internship if the experience meets your needs?
  • Do you have a target organization in mind to work at full time? Review the internship opportunities at that organization, as many organizations have over a 60% conversation rate for intern to full-time job positions.

Integrate the search process into a course.

  • Federal Fellows is open to all majors; year-long program combines a fall academic seminar with a spring internship.
  • Global Fellows fall academic seminar on global leadership and policy and a spring internship experience. 
  • Study abroad for a week or a year and earn credit towards any major. Some programs include internships.
  • Register for EDCP108I: Academic Transition into Internships is a one-credit, seven week online class preparing students for successfully landing an internship and how to reflect on the experience.

 

Search Strategies 

DEVELOP A SEARCH PLAN

Fifty to eighty percent of internship positions are filled through people you know (e.g. referral). So the most effective strategy is talking with everyone you know about your internship search. Review these tips about how to ask for an information interview and potential questions to ask.

Initial AskI am researching the field of... I am searching for a professional currently working in the field that I could talk with to gain more information about career path options. Could we schedule a 15-20 minute meeting? I would love to get your take on the field and hear about your career path story, if you have a couple of moments to spare.

Ask for referrals: Thank you so much for the information (or I understand you don’t work in …field). Do you know anyone currently working in the .... field? I am trying to learn more about the skills required in the field and I would like to talk with someone who has firsthand knowledge. 

During the conversation: Thank you for chatting with me today I only have a couple of questions (i.e. really you have at least ten prepared to ask, but depending on time you may only get to three)….What skills do you think are crucial for entry level professionals to possess in this field? The information you have shared with me today has been so interesting. 

End of conversation or follow-upThank you for sharing your experiences with…..The organization sounds amazing. I would be interested to find out about internship opportunities. Do you have any suggestions on where I might look?”

 

Search for organizations working with the population, industry, or area of interest. Review their website to search for an established internship program and examine the application process. View BSOS Internship Success Stories to gain leads and network.

Identify organizations based on their internship reputation: FirstHand ranks internships by industry, role, etc. (CAS log in required)

Don’t wait for an opening to be posted! Contact the supervisor in the department of interest, share your skills and ask about internship openings.

Reach out and ask about the recruiting timeline: I am a current student at the University of Maryland majoring in economics with an interest in financial analysis. I have been following your organization and would be interested in working with you in the future. I reviewed your internship program online, but I didn’t see the application deadline. When do you expect to recruit for the next internship opening in your department?

Ask for an opportunity: Create your own internship: I am a junior at the University of Maryland with a specific interest in —- I am interested in working with —— and I was delighted to read more about your organization recently. I didn’t see a formal internship program advertised on your website, so I am reaching out today to ask if you have ever hosted an intern in the past. I could bring excellent organizational, analytical and research skills as an intern and I think I could contribute value to your organization. Could we talk more about how I could add to your ongoing projects?

 

Add variety to your search by only spending 20-50% of your search time on this strategy. Increase your odds by starting with the niche search engines and boards below and submit customized application materials for each opening. 

Major specific internship directories: 

Obtain leads on organizations who recruit BSOS majors for their internship openings. 

View major specific resources on What Can I Do with My Major? BSOS

Aggregate search engines: 

 

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