Internship Search 101

Finding the right summer internship for you. 

Summer internships are a meaningful and substantial way to gain experience, exposure, and knowledge in your field. Yet, the process can often feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips to get you on track, keep you motivated, and help you secure an amazing internship.  

Define + Refine Your Search.

Spending time mindlessly combing through websites and job postings is likely going to leave you feeling discouraged. Instead, start by thinking critically about the opportunities and experiences you want. For starters, reflect on some of the following:

  • What skills are you hoping to develop?
  • What are your research interests?
  • Is the mission of the company/organization important to you? What about the size?
  • What are your non-negotiable items?
  • Does location matter?
  • What resources do you have available?

Defining the goals and objectives for your internship, as well as other contributing factors, will give you the opportunity to focus your time and energy toward finding a rewarding experience.

Make A Schedule.

Searching for an internship while still upholding your class and other commitments can be a challenge. Creating a schedule is one of the best ways to stay focused. For example, you could consider dedicating one hour on Mondays to researching, one hour on Tuesdays to networking, and one hours on Wednesday to submitting applications. Giving yourself structure and defined tasks will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and keep you motivated.

Calendar

Let the Internet Work for You.

With a plan in place, it is time to turn to internship and job databases to help you identify possible opportunities. In particular, be sure to check out these websites:

Be creative with your filters to help you identify the best opportunities for you based on your goals and objectives.  

Utilize Your Network.

Think you need to know hundreds of people to get an internship? Not exactly. You simply need to know how to strategically network, both in person and online. LinkedIn.com is one of the greatest networking tools at your disposal. If you’re interested in an opportunity at a specific company or in a particular region, utilize LinkedIn’s search filters to find people you may know, either directly or by way of another connection, who meet your criteria. Then reach out to them! Send them a message and ask if they would be willing to spend 10 minutes talking to you about their experience. Not only will this help you better understand the industry (which will give you a leg up in interviews) but it may increase the chances that your resume makes it out of the stack and into someone’s hands.

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A Degree in International Studies from USF Provides the Skills Employers Want

by Dana Zartner, Chair, International Studies Department

“[L]iberal arts training – with its emphasis on creativity and critical thinking – is vital to … success ….” –Elizabeth Segran, Fast Company

A degree in international studies, whether through our Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (BAIS) major for undergraduates or our Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) program for graduate students, provides engaged world citizens with a new way of approaching global issues. Rather than through the lens of a single discipline like politics, sociology, anthropology, history, or economics, our interdisciplinary International Studies programs encourage students to explore their interests through the lenses of all these fields. Students learn to consider a variety of different theories, methodologies, and ideas that break down traditional disciplinary barriers. The interdisciplinary nature of our programs, coupled with the grounding in a liberal arts education, provides our students with critical thinking and analysis skills as well as extensive intercultural communication experience. Combined, these factors provide a bigger “toolbox” for students when it comes to life after graduation and is desirable for employers ranging from NGOs and advocacy groups, to government agencies and private corporations.

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There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few years about the benefit of a liberal arts education like that you can receive in the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in International Studies at USF. Consistently, however, employers across a wide range of fields have come out in favor of the knowledge and skills students develop through the kind of critical, global, interdisciplinary programs we offer through our department. Even in fields like high tech, which is prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area, CEOs consistently support liberal arts education (in fact one-third of Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees!). A 2013 survey of over 300 employers by the American Association of Colleges and University found the following:

  • 93% of all employers surveyed cited a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems with both short- and long- term approaches as the most important abilities they look for in new hires.
  • 95% of employers surveyed say that it is important that their new hires possess ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning.
  • Collaborative problem-solving skills, internships, and community engagement were also strongly preferred by employers surveyed.

Each one of these skills and opportunities mentioned is something that we support and fully integrate into our Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. For our Master’s students, an internship requirement and a mixed-methods research class provide experience and tools that employers value. In the undergraduate program, study abroad programs (over 100 of which have internships included), our problem-centered research methods class, and opportunities such as serving as a Peer Advisor or working on the International Affairs Review offer opportunities to hone skills and integrate them with academic knowledge. The Department also offers numerous opportunities for all of our students to develop the breadth of their knowledge and the depth of their marketable skills, including workshops on resumes, applying to graduate school, vicarious trauma, developing expertise, and (coming soon!) grant writing and advocacy development.

Upon graduation, our students are desirable in a wide variety of fields. We currently have undergraduate and graduate alumni working in a diverse array of locations, including: Amnesty International, Apple, U.S. Department of State, Twitter, UNICEF, Youtube, United Nations Mine Action Service, NASA, International Rescue Committee, Special Olympics, Mama Hope, Spanish Ministry of Education, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Fair Trade USA, Bulgarian Fulbright Commission, Morgan Stanley, and the World Affairs Council of Northern California. We also have alumni all over the world, creating a network of ISatUSF alumni who remain committed to our programs and our students. Get started on your future with us!