Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.

Getting Your Feet Wet

An internship will help you see what it’s like to work in the real world. While this probably won’t be your first job, it may be your first opportunity to work in a job that could further your career. Internships are useful for getting your feet wet, but they also give you a chance to find out what type of work you’re interested in.

You may also be interested to know that a lot of employers end up hiring their interns. After all, they already know what it’s like to work with them.

Internship Concept

Review Your Internship Expectations

Every internship experience should fulfill a purpose. In order to get the most out of it, we recommend that you prepare yourself before it starts.

Here is a list of potential goals you might set for your upcoming internship:

  • Request an assignment for a specific task or project
  • Ask for challenging assignments if the tasks you get are too easy
  • Get to know the organization you’re working for (before and during your internship)
  • Connect with potential mentors along the way

While some students manage to turn internship opportunities to job opportunities down the road, that doesn’t have to be the case for you. For example, you might realize during your internship that you’d rather work in a different industry. Nevertheless, you can still learn a lot during the time you spend working as an intern.

You will learn how to complete different assignments, but you’ll also learn from employees and managers about other aspects of the job. It’s a good idea to ask questions to get a feel for what people do at your organization. As long as you’re not pestering people with questions you can find answers to yourself, most of them won’t mind talking to you about their work.

Business coaching

When to Be an Intern

Internship opportunities are always available. Most of our students work as interns while they’re attending one of our degree programs. Of course, you can also be an intern before or after completing your studies. So When should you look for an internship? This will partly depend on when you are available to work and find a suitable position, but here are a few additional points you may want to consider.

Before School

One of the best reasons to work as an intern before enrolling in a degree program is determining which career is suitable for you. While you won’t have all of the skills necessary to perform higher-level assignments, you can get an idea whether a particular type of career is suitable for you. For example, you can intern in the accounting office to find out if crunching numbers appeals to you.

During School

A great time to complete an internship program is when you’re enrolled in school. You have already acquired some of the knowledge you need to succeed, and you’re used to learning new things. You can be of real help to an organization as an intern. Finally, the internship will give you an opportunity to network and find out which industry appeals to you most for your future career.

After School

Completing an internship after you have completed your degree program can be useful if you’re still unsure about where you want to work. An internship certainly makes more sense than taking an entry-level position that you’re overqualified for. On the other hand, your time might be better spent searching for a suitable position instead of working as an intern at that point.

How to Find an Internship

Whether you decide to intern before, during, or after attending our business program, it’s important to know how to find an internship. As a first step, we recommend that you start working on your resume. Whenever you are ready to apply, you can utilize our Career Services to help you find an intern position.

And while we network with employers and offer extensive career assistance, you also need to take some initiative. In addition to looking at online job boards, you may also consider applying at different start-up companies. Finally, we recommend that you let people know what you’re looking for. Many opportunities are found where you’d least expect them, often through people you’re not necessarily close with.

Set Goals with Your Supervisors

Not every company has an existing internship program. Small companies usually don’t have the time and resources to manage interns extensively. If that’s the case, you’ll have to spend some time setting goals with your supervisors. This doesn’t have to be a one-sided approach. Before you meet with the person in charge, we recommend coming up with a list of items you’d like to learn about. As you’re learning more about the company, you and your supervisors should be able to come up with projects that help you learn while reducing the workload for the other employees at the same time.

How to Get the Most Out of It

Having to participate in an internship program may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually not that difficult if you break it down into a few simple steps:

  • Write an amazing résumé
  • Use networking, internet search, and our resources to land an internship
  • Set expectations beforehand
  • Take the internship seriously

While you may not get paid (much), you still need to treat this internship opportunity seriously. We strongly recommend dressing appropriately, showing up on time every day, and taking an interest in the company and in the people you work with. In addition to completing the tasks you were given, we encourage you to seek out advice. If you keep our tips in mind, we wouldn’t be surprised if this internship opportunity turns into a job offer later down the road.