Internship and Job Search
An internship or job search is a multifaceted process that typically involves a wide variety of steps, materials, and resources. Start early to maximize your time and effort.
Reflect and Research
Take time to discover who you are as an individual and what is important to you as a professional. Reflecting on your experiences and skills will help shape what your internship or job search will look like.
- Identify You
Think about how you can relate to employers and the skills and experiences that you have to offer. Take time to think about your interests, skills, knowledge, experience, and career values.
Consider your personal preferences when it comes to a work environment. Is there a specific geographic location? Would you be happiest in a larger organization or a smaller one? What work environment factors are most important to you?
Career Counselors assist students with reflecting upon current and past experiences, identifying and organizing career themes that likely relate to a wide array of career opportunities.
- Identify Career Opportunities and Organizations
Start by researching career fields and industries using the online resource in the Career Resource Center (link). Explore industries and occupations within each to find an area of focus for your job search.
Once you identify a few companies of interest use their websites, LinkedIn, and online resources like GlassDoor to get an idea of what the company culture is like. Review job descriptions for entry-level positions within their organization and check to see if they are hosting an information session on campus.
Consider government opportunities (federal, state, and local levels) as well as working for a non-profit organization. Use the job search resources in the Career Resource Center to identify these opportunities and determine if they are interest to you.
- Develop Materials
Once you identify the positions you wish to apply to, start gathering your materials and preparing for the application process. Create a document to help you track needed application materials, submission timelines, and any contact information or notes that you may need.
Develop your resume and have it reviewed by a career counselor. Include your experiences and list them in order of relevancy to make them stand out to an employer.
Create a cover letter for each opportunity you apply for. This can take time, but a personal and customized cover letter is your chance to show your interest in the position and to communicate how your experiences and education prepare you to be successful in the opportunity you are seeking.
Utilize Materials and Search Strategies
An effective job or internship search often requires interacting with employer and organizations in multiple ways.
- Nittany Lion Careers
The primary resource for job postings at Penn State, Nittany Lion Careers provides all Penn State students with access to hundreds of opportunities. Log-in to view all current job and internship postings.
Upload your resume and apply for positions directly through the system. Some employers participate in On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) which allows you to apply and interview for positions right on campus. All OCI postings can also be accessed through Nittany Lion Careers.
- College Internship and Co-Op Offices
Have questions about finding an internship or co-op opportunity? Connect with your college career office (link to contact info page with college office info) to discuss opportunities and report an accepted internship or co-op offer.
- Career Fairs and Information Sessions
Network face-to-face with potential employers on campus. Attend career fairs across campus to meet with recruiters and discuss opportunities.
Organizations often schedule information sessions on campus throughout the year. These open meetings allow you to learn about the company, internship and full-time employment opportunities, and ask questions about their culture. Use this as a chance to put a face with a name and show recruiters your personality. Information sessions are listed in Nittany Lion Careers and are updated frequently.
- Professional Associations
Most fields have at least one or more professional associations that represent their career area. These often have information for current students interested in that discipline. Use these as a way to network with other professionals or find out about industry news or job opportunities. Search online for your field of interest or use the Career Resource Center to find one to review.
- Internet and Targeted Searches
The internet is a very powerful tool to help you located organizations, opportunities, and endless amounts of information about a career path. Use the Career Resource Center to find online resources.
- State and Local Employment Agencies
Each state have a government-sponsored employment agency to help residents find opportunities. There are also privately owned companies designed to help find employment. Be sure to research each agency to understand potential fees and policies for involvement.
Use the Career Resource Center to find a list of local agencies.
Apply and Interview
Follow the application steps closely and secure interviews. Review the Interviewing page for help preparing for your interview. Utilize resources like the Mock Interview program or InterviewStream to help you practice before the real thing.
Financial and phishing scams are happening more frequently on job posting sites. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Do not respond to messages asking for personal information or money, click on any phishing or scam links, open any attachments from unexpected sources, or provide account information or passwords to senders.
Take your time and make sure to have all of your questions answered before making a decision. Review the Job Offers and Negotiating page for strategies and tips to help you navigate this portion of the job search process.
- Accepted an internship?
Yay! Once you've accepted, contact your college career office to report your internship and make sure you receive credit for any program requirements.