Applying for Internships

A few local organizations where GC students have interned:

  • Bashor Children’s Home
  • La Casa
  • East Lake Athletic Club
  • Mennonite Mutual Aid
  • Midwest Museum of Art
  • Greencroft
  • The Elkhart Truth
  • WSBT-TV
  • New World Arts
  • Potawatomie Zoo
  • Goshen General Hospital
  • Boys & Girls Club

Step-by-step Guide to Applying for Internships

Applying for an internship is very similar to applying for employment. Use this opportunity to learn and practice these important career development skills.

  1. Start early!

    Securing an internship may take up to four to six months. You’ll have better choices by applying early.

  2. Do your research

    • Talk to your advisor about the kind of internship that will meet your career goals and ask for recommendations.
    • Check the GC job & internship bank and the “finding internships” page for open positions and leads.
    • Use your network (family, peers, recent graduates) to inquire about potential sites.
    • Speak with the director of Career Services; search the GC internship database in the Career Services office for a listing of hundreds of employers who have hosted GC students.
  3. Develop your prioritized list

    Prioritize at least 5-7 organizations where you would like to intern. Choose a couple sites that are your ideal or top choices, a few second choices, and a few back-up organizations. The more organizations you identify and apply to, the better your options will be.

  4. Tailor your application materials

    Tailor your résumé and cover letter to the specific organization to which you are applying. Highlight skills that are relevant to the position you are seeking.

  5. Send your application promptly

    Follow the organization’s instructions about how to apply, i.e., via e-mail, postal mail, or on their web site. Stay aware of deadlines. Document everything you send to each organization, along with date sent, contact person, and any personal touches you added. It’s easy to forget these details when sending multiple applications.

  6. Contact the organization

    • Allow one to two weeks for the organization to receive and process your request. Follow-up via e-mail or phone to make sure they received your application and ask where they are in the hiring process.
    • Be sure your voice mail and answering machine messages are professional.
    • Tell your roommates, family, or spouse that you are anticipating a call from a potential internship site. They will be prepared to deal with the call in a professional manner.
  7. Prepare to interview

    • Schedule a practice interview with Career Services.
    • Many organizations will interview students over the phone. When the call arrives, sound enthusiastic, be prepared to answer questions, and do not answer call waiting; keep a résumé handy for reference.
    • Have several questions prepared to ask the interviewer.
  8. Send a thank you letter

    Employers often say that receiving a well written and appropriate thank you letter in a timely manner can make or break a hiring decision. A thank you note or letter also gives you a chance to emphasize important information about yourself that you may not have been able to express in your first meeting, while reiterating your desire for the position.

  9. Choose your internship

    • Discuss your options with your academic advisor, especially if you are offered multiple internships. Be sure your advisor knows your final selection and discuss any academic requirements with him/her before starting your internship.
    • Consider which internship will best help you achieve your goals. Is it an organization where you might like to work after graduation? Are any benefits offered? Assess the time commitment for each internship.
    • If you are first offered a position with your second or third choice, explain to them that this is a major decision for you and you would like a couple of days to think about it. This provides you time to find out if you are accepted with your first choice.
    • If you accept an internship and have not heard back from other potential sites, notify them. Tell these sites that you have accepted an internship with another company, and they should remove you from their candidate list. Thank them for their time.
  10. If you are rejected, maturely accept their decision

    You want to keep your professional image because:

    • They may have a job opening in the future.
    • They may communicate with other sites where you are applying.
    • Their first choice may decline.