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Career Center

Internship and Job Search

Successfully searching for a job or internship takes preparation and time. Some of the aspects of search are similar for an internship and a job, but there are some differences.


The Internship Search

Internships are an important opportunity to help you explore career fields and gain valuable experience. An internship may be paid or unpaid, and you may even be able to get class credit, also known as Experiential Education. There are many terms associated with internships and experiential education that you should be aware of.

  • Service Learning
  • Practicum
  • Internship (usually a one time experience)
  • Cooperative Education (experiences covering multiple time periods)
  • Field Studies
  • Part-time jobs

Establish Objectives

For example:

  • Determine the suitability of an occupation and adjust your career focus accordingly
  • Satisfy degree requirements. Many degree programs at Missouri State require you to complete an internship
  • Learn new technology
  • Explore a company or organization
  • Accumulate experience in the career field
  • Develop professional contacts
  • Investigate desirability of another geographical area. The larger the geographic target area, the greater the probability of it containing more choices within your career field.

Identify posted vacancies and potential employers

There are many places to look for internship opportunities.

  • JobTracks
  • Publications (i.e. journals) for your career field
  • Departmental bulletin boards
  • Professional contacts (i.e. campus organizations)
  • Company websites
  • Internship websites

There are also many options for locating potential employers.

  • Use Business Journals for the city you are interested in, for example, the Springfield Business Journal.
  • The Business Journal Book of Lists for your desired city
  • Telephone directories
  • Internship books from area libraries
  • Networking contacts within the target geographical area

What's in a name?

Some organizations may think they need a special program for internships. They may, in fact, hire college students under a different label such as summer hires, college relations, or part-time positions. When searching for or contacting a company about internships, know these other terms to increase your probability of gaining information.

Academic credit

To receive academic credit for a position, you will need to coordinate through your academic department. Find out who the co-op or internship advisor for your department is and schedule a meeting. You will need to know the specifics of your internship position so your advisor can best advise you on what is expected and how much credit the internship is worth.

Application procedures

Just as an other job, follow the company's application procedures exactly. Keep copies of all completed forms, résumés, and letters associated with each position you have applied to. Approximately two weeks after submitting your application materials, call to follow-up. Keep record of what you have done.  Be sure to include the date, method of contact, contact name and title, company/organization name, and the response you have gotten from them.

Prepare for Interviews

The Career Center website has information about and tips for the interview process. You may also schedule a Mock Interview in our office. Do not interview with a company for practice. Not only is it a waste of the company's time and money, it is unethical.

In short

  • Determine opportunities suitable to gain experience in your career field
  • Develop a list of potential internship employers in your target geographical area
  • Apply early in the semester preceding the desired work period (preferably 6 month in advance)


Internship Forms

Student Learning Plan (initial paperwork filled out and submitted by student prior to the internship)

Student Appraisal Review (evaluation form completed by internship supervisor)


The Job Search

Much like searching for an internship, there is a process involved in a successful job search. It takes preparation and time.

  • Determine your career objectives
  • Prepare for the job search
  • Research employers
  • Research geographical locations
  • Use a variety of search methods
  • Follow up
  • Keep records
  • Be persistent and realistic

Establish objectives

When developing your career objectives for a job search, doing a self assessment will help you determine the fields in which you will find you belong.

  • What are your skills and abilities?
  • What interests you?
  • What do you value? Be sure to prioritize your values (i.e. location, salary, benefits, etc.)
  • What careers fit well with your personality?
  • Do you have a natural ability that would be helpful in a specific career field?

You may also find it helpful to participate in some career exploration.

  • Job shadow
  • Informational interview
  • Career research
  • Industry research
  • Research on geographical locations
  • Knowledge of career requirements

Tools for the job search

  • Professional answering machine or voice mail message and e-mail address.
  • Résumé. You should have a traditional résumé as well as a scannable or electronic résumé.
  • Job Search letters. These are letters tailored specifically for different positions and companies.
  • References. Be sure to ask the individuals for their permission before listing them as a reference. You will also want to be sure to provide your references with your résumé and information on the positions and companies to which you are applying.
  • Some industries will require a portfolio. You should have one both in paper and in the digital format. A portfolio may include, but not limited to:
    • Résumé
    • Transcripts
    • Test results (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc.)
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Class projects
    • Writing samples
    • Professional licenses
    • Certificates and awards
  • Thank you letters. Always send a thank you letter after contact with an employer; its good networking practices
  • Practice interviews. You can schedule a practice interview appointment with the Career Center. You can also utilize friends and family. Ask for feedback and carefully consider suggestions.

Research employers

There are various options available when it comes to researching employers.

  • Go to the company directly
    • Conduct informational interviews of current and former employees
    • Annual reports/company marketing brochures
    • Company internet site
  • Use the library
    • Journals
    • Newspapers
    • Books
  • Internet
    • Hoovers
    • Thomas Register
    • Chambers of Commerce
    • Search Engines

When researching a company, there are some questions you should seek the answers for.

  • What is the organization's mission statement?
  • Does the organization meet my needs?
  • What services/products does the organization provide?
  • Is this a growing organization?
  • What benefits are offered?
  • Does the organization have other locations?
  • Has the organization been in the news lately?
  • Does the organization have divisions/subsidiaries?

What's in a location?

There are some things to consider when it comes to relocating:

  • Demographics
  • Cost of living
  • Local job offerings and industry growth
  • Climate
  • Housing, education, health-care, religions and other community issues


After you submit your résumé and other application materials to an employer, contact the employer within 5-10 business days to confirm receipt of your information. Use this as an opportunity to also reiterate your interest in the position and company. Ask abut your next step in the hiring process.

After you interview, send a thank you letter within 24 hours. In the letter, reiterate your interest in the company and position. If you know the employer will be making a decision immediately after your interview, send an e-mail message to insure quick receipt.

Keep Records

Keeping good records enables you to know who, when, how, and for what position you contacted the organization. It will help you show the amount of time and effort spent on job search as well as allow you to quickly see any comments the employer made, if you should contact them, and if so, when and how.

In the end. . .

. . . be persistent and realistic

. . . be positive and remain optimistic

. . . take a proactive approach

. . . remember the job search can be time consuming, hard work, and stressful

. . . rely on a good support system



Want some information on conducting a search in various major cities? Visit the Conducting a Job Search in Various Cities link to the left.