Internships 101: A No-Brainer Guide

Don’t call 411. If you’re deciding if you should pursue an internship this summer, there’s a simple answer.

Go for it.

bigstock_Attractive_young_business_prof_15703601To those unacquainted, internships are the star power of a job world that’s way tougher than Nintendo 64. They’re excellent ways to explore possible career fields as well as build experience and workplace skills. It’s best to have one to two internships under your belt by the time you graduate. Often, recruiters will even prefer candidates that have experience in two internships.

Here’s the no-brainer list. Make sure you know the following before moving on to the next level:
Level Zero: THE QUESTIONS PHASE. Every young child goes through this phase. So does every internship seeker, so before proceeding, consider the following:

  • What careers pique my interest?
  • Am I interested in a particular type of organization, i.e. government or nonprofit?
  • What do I want to do on the job? Usually you’ll do one or more of the following—research, conduct office activities, assist planning, write, work in a lab, and problem solve.
  • Where do I want to be?
  • Are dollars important to me? (i.e. Do I want to get paid?)

Level One: THE BASICS. You’re ready to go. Now for some updates.

  • Read Career Services’ weekly CareerNews e-mail every Monday for a list of opportunities and deadlines as well as workshops and events to help you build the job search skills you need.
  • Update your resume and draft a cover letter. If you need a “cheat sheet” check out the Career Planning Guide.
  • Practice your interviewing skills, and not just to the mirror– although that works, too. Attend workshops or schedule a mock interview to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Level Two: THE SEARCH. Welcome to the stage of the furrowed brows, Nicholas Cage-style. This, actually, is the fun part.

bigstock_Portrait_Of_A_Female_Executive_1576130Your bright, shiny new internship is just around the corner. Don’t forget to follow up with employers 10-14 days after applying. It is not too late to continue applying in April. There are still plenty of internship postings coming in to Career Services; some are just waiting for someone (like you, perhaps) to fill them!



Question of the Week #6: Is it too late to look for summer internships after exams?

Is it too late to look for summer internships after exams?
–  Paul Riley  ‘15

Thanks, Paul! A lot of students have the same question on their minds—so, I think your question is very timely and important.

No, it is NOT too late to look for summer internships!  Although some of your friends have already secured summer jobs, a lot of industries and companies are still actively recruiting students for summer positions.  With that being said, you still need to begin looking as soon as possible! Though internships can still be found, application deadlines vary. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity because you didn’t know when the deadline was! Here are my quick tips on how you can START your internship search now.

  1. Make a list of your interests. What do you like to do? Where do you want to work? Before you start looking, you want to have an idea of the type of opportunities you are looking for.  Also, remember to keep your options open. Instead of looking for only paid internships, also look at unpaid opportunities. Set on staying in the U.S.? Why not research international internships, too? Don’t box yourself in too early.
  2. Check out the Online Resources page on the Career Services’ website. This is a great one-stop portal to a list of industry search engines that can help your internship search.  Of course, TigerTracks and UCAN should be your first stop. Make sure to register for both and start scouring the sites looking for positions that interest you. Try keeping track of each position’s deadline and needed materials. Some postings may require references, writing samples, or a link to a portfolio of some sort. Make sure you know what needs to be submitted and when!
  3. Ask around! Ask people you know about current opportunities they may have heard about. You never know who has information about available internships.  Take the time to email friends, family members, former employers, professional contacts, alumni or even professors you know and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of any potential internship opportunities.
  4. Follow and like the Career Services Facebook and Twitter pages. We are constantly posting about career events, advice, and opportunities specifically for Princeton students.  You’ll also be reminded about our upcoming Career Services events such as our Summer Internship Fair and Nonprofit Fair, which will both take place on Feb. 15th from 11 am – 3 pm at Dillon Gym.
  5. Make an appointment with a career counselor. Our career counselors are here to help you at whatever point of the internship search stage you are at. They can help you make a customized plan and search strategy. They can also review your resume, cover letter, or interview applications. Go to Career Services website or call us at 609-258-3325 to schedule an appointment today.


Question of the Week #3: How can I find an internship over the summer as a sophomore?

“How can I find an internship over the summer as a sophomore?”
– Nonny Okwelogu ‘15

Great question, Nonny! First of all, I want to let you know that it is not too late to find a summer internship as a sophomore! Sophomore year is an interesting time to be a student. This is the year when you are narrowing down your major choices and finding out what you really want to focus on during your future here at Princeton. Don’t limit yourself, per se, but take this year to really explore the range of opportunities open to you as a sophomore. You may find that many of your junior friends have already secured summer internships or are well on the path to securing one. Don’t let that discourage you. Career Services has many resources that will help you find an internship that fits you. Here are some resources here at Career Resources that you can utilize in your internship search!

  • Attend the Summer Internship Fair/Nonprofit Fair on February 15, 2013, from 1-3 pm in the Frist Multipurpose room. There will be a host of companies in attendance that are looking for eager future interns such as yourself. This will be a great time to network with professionals and learn about opportunities that are available to you. Not sure how to prepare for the fair? Click here for a link to our website that can help you prepare for the fair!
  • Create a profile on TigerTracks and start searching for internships there! TigerTracks is Princeton’s online system with current postings of internships, fellowships, and full-time jobs. Alumni and employers who are seeking candidates from Princeton are encouraged to post here.  In addition to searching for postings, you can research employers, upload and store application documents, apply for positions, and sign up for on campus interviews.  I encourage you to make the most of this tool!
  • Sign up for an account on UCAN, a shared online system just for internships! Its postings are geographically diverse and include opportunities that you may not be able to find on TigerTracks. As someone seeking an internship, it is in your best interest to sign up today and start checking out the internships being posted.
  • Check out the Finding an Internship webpage on the Career Services’ website. This page lists all the steps that you can take to really prepare for finding an internship. Some of the tips include:
    –  Identifying internship programs in a variety of industries
    –  Preparing a cover letter and resume
    –  Talking directly with employers
    –  Reaching out to and connecting with alumni…. and much more!
  • Check out the resources by industry page of our website for specific links within your area of interest.  There are dozens of industries listed and hundreds of helpful resources.
  • One of the most critical things that you should do is make an appointment with a career counselor as soon as possible. They can help you plan an internship search strategy that is specific to your needs. If you have a specific area of interest, try meeting with a career counselor who specializes in that area. For example, Abbey Racelis is our arts and nonprofit counselor, and can help you find out about opportunities available in these fields. Make sure you schedule an appointment online or call our office during normal business hours at 609-258-3325. Our counselors are here to help you no matter what step of the process you are in.

Nonny, I hope you found this information to be very useful. I wish you the best finding an internship! I know you can do it!

It’s NOT Too Late to Land a Summer Internship!

Does it seem like everyone has an internship this summer?  Your best friend, your boyfriend, your best friend’s boyfriend, your preceptor, your preceptor’s boyfriend…just about everyone, that is, except you. If this is the case, don’t give up hope!

Many summer internships aren’t secured until April or May. It’s not too late to find the internship that is the right fit for you. Stay focused,  search smart, and be bold. Here are some tips I found:

  1. A lot of jobs re-open applications right about now. A lot of employers, especially in publishing, media, and nonprofit, may not even begin hiring until the spring months. Check out It has a selection of internships in media—all posted recently.
  2. Are you finding internship with expired deadlines? You can sort your search results by upcoming deadlines in TigerTracks and UCAN. When conducting your TigerTracks search, go to the top bar of your internship search results, put your mouse over “date posted” and click “Application deadline.” Or, go to UCAN and under “sort by:” at the top, select “deadline.” UCAN still has over 1,300 summer internships you can apply for in a variety of fields.
  3. As you might imagine, four times as many people apply for paid internships than for unpaid internships on If are still considering an unpaid internship, now might be a good time to apply. Here’s a link to some other advice on finding internships late in the game:
  4. Keep a discerning eye. Watch out for bogus internships and stay focused on your goals. Try going to the pull-down tab at the top of the Career Services website and click on “Online Resources.” The “Specifically Internships” page aggregates internship search engines specific to your interests, industry, and preferred location. is one of the most interesting links listed. This site lists adventurous, short-term summer jobs, from safari guides in Alaska to International volunteer opportunities. Here’s a link to Career Service’s Online Resources, which is a good place to start: And here’s a link on detecting a bogus internships:
  5. Don’t overlook networking as a way to tap into unadvertised or non-posted internships. Be sure to reach out to family, friends, alumni, and other professional contacts to explore potential opportunities they may be aware of. To search the Alumni Careers Network for alumni in your field of interest, click here.

Lastly, to pull your “just-in-time” strategy together, schedule an appointment to meet with a career counselor for personalized guidance.

Best of luck!


Looking for a job or summer internship? Check out UCAN, or University Career Action Network, an intercollegiate job/internship database and my personal favorite career tool. Maintained by a 22-university syndicate, UCAN’s expansive network is a goldmine for even the pickiest job searcher.

Perhaps “you-can” sounds unfamiliar to you. If you’ve ever browsed TigerTracks or another similar job/internship search site, you’re probably familiar with the process. Just register with your Princeton email address, punch in basic profile information, and you’re good to go. You can also add basic academic information, upload your resume, and create a Onestop Talent Search profile. This last feature enters your information and resume into a search engine for employers that helps them find and recruit their candidate of best fit. That’s right, employers search for YOU.

If you’ve ever researched jobs and internships, you probably know that effective search tools make all the difference. One of my favorite features of the UCAN website is the sheer multitude of ways to approach the job search. On the internship homepage, you can browse opportunities by job title, employer, keyword, employer name, description, major, and location, either separately or all at once.

Another of UCAN’s perks is its search employer feature. Say you want to search journalism opportunities in New York City. Just go to the employer tab at the top, plug in the information, and a list of employers and their corresponding websites appears on your page. Tip: if a company does not have an internship posted on UCAN, check out their website. Usually under “career,” “contact us,” or (of course) “internships” you’ll find details on the position you’re looking for. UCAN also contains a list of contacts from companies listed by industry, if you’re looking for career advice from someone in the business.

If you’re motivated or just plain curious about your career future, UCAN is the perfect place to start or refine your search. Just go to Princeton’s Career Services website, click on UCAN on the right-hand sidebar, and check it out for yourself!