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What is an Internship?

An internship is not simply a temporary job, but a great opportunity for students to gain career related work experience. An internship is a short-term hands-on, supervised work experience designed to increase knowledge of a professional career field. Internships can serve as the link to a career opportunity via a job offer or serve as a trial in a perspective career. The hands on career related experience obtained through an internship will be beneficial to determining the field of work you wish to pursue and developing the specific knowledge and skills required in the field.  Internships are most commonly structured as on the job training, however some research based internships are available. An internship can also beboth paid and unpaid, generally at the discretion of the employer. Academic credit may also be earned while gaining career related work.

Earning Academic Credit

The majority of internships offered have the potential to qualify for academic credit at McNeese State University, however some academic programs do not grant credit for internships. To determine if an internship is eligible for academic credit, students must contact the academic department for their degree to learn more about eligibility requirements. In most cases, academic departments will grant credit only when an internship is directly related to a student's course of study. If an internship is eligible for academic credit, it is the  student's responsibility to apply for credit, enroll in the course and pay tuition for. Tuition is charged at the same rate as other courses, and in addition to the work as an intern, additional academic assignments may be assigned. The employer may also be required to complete a performance evaluation on the intern as part of the grading process. Regardless of whether the academic program affiliated with your major offers academic credit for the completion of an internship, completing an internship is undoubtedly beneficial for future career development.

What's in it for Me?

  • Hands-on career related experience and training by a supervisor with expertise in the field directly related to the intern's responsibilities.
  • Exposure to a professional work environment.
  • Potential to earn academic credit while participating in an internship.
  • Prospective full time employment offer after completion of the internship.

Ready to Search?

An easy way to start is by watching your e-mail for notices of available internship opportunities targeted specifically to McNeese students. Also, post your resume on Cowboy Job Link, located on the Career Services website. Search online for available internships that interest you and contact your academic major department to determine if the internship is eligible for academic credit. Also try networking with teachers, family members, former employers, coaches, friends, etc. regarding potential opportunities that may be available.

The Resume!

In order to get an internship, a resume is essential. A resume is a written summary of your qualifications, portraying basic information such as education, work experience, credentials, organizations, leadership roles, and community service activities. The potential information to include is limitless, however should be strategically organized into a one-page resume. Hiring managers spend an average of 6 seconds viewing your resume and deciding if you will be invited to interview. Therefore, the visual representation and content of the resume cannot be stressed enough. McNeese State University offers multiple resume-building resources. Please visit  http://www.mcneese.edu/internships/resume_tips  for resume tips and downloadable templates.

Cover Letter Tips

What is a cover letter?  A cover letter is presented to the employer in addition to the resume. The cover letter is simply an extension of the resume, providing additional information about your skills and experience. In some cases submission of a cover letter may be required by the employer, however regardless of being a requirement, a cover letter is an excellent way to portray the qualifications you possess that relate to the internship. 

The following are a few tips to keep in mind when composing a cover letter:
  • Format your cover letter-No mistakes
  • Review cover letter examples
  • Utilize a cover letter template
  • Customize the cover letter for the specific internship
  • Personalize the cover letter
  • Send your cover letter as an attachment

References

References are an integral part of  both applying for and being selected for an internship. It is important to prepare references in advance of  the application process. Get a head start and carefully consider which individuals will provide the most meaningful information about you to the employer. Be sure to contact the individuals ahead of time and ask permission to list them as a reference. Employers generally expect three to five references. When preparing a reference list, include the person's name, title, company, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number. As a general rule of thumb, references are usually not provided until requested by the employer; however be sure to bring a printed copy with you to the interview.

Interview-Quick Tips

After the resume is complete and submitted to the employer, it is with high hopes that the employer makes contact to schedule an interview. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
  • Be Prompt. 
Timeliness is extremely important when thinking in the mindset of an employer.It is appropriate to arrive at least ten minutes early to the scheduled interview time.
Have Copies of Resume and Cover Letter. Make sure to bring several printed copies of your resume and cover letter to the interview to offer each of the interviewers.
  • Dress For Success. 
Appearance is the first visual impression the interviewers will have of you. Therefore take carefully into consideration not only clothing and accessory choices for the interview, but also personal hygiene.
  • Do Your Homework. 
It is somewhat customary for the company conducting the interview to expect the interviewee to have some knowledge on the everyday operations of the company. Thus, be sure to research the company prior to the interview and have some questions prepared for the interviewer.
  • Be Confident.
It is critical to be confident during the interview, being nervous is to be expected but do not let that overshadow the star that you are.  However, be careful not to let confidence exude into arrogance.