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Finding the Internship-The Application Process

It’s good to start looking EARLY. This means six to nine months BEFORE you intend to participate in your internship.  If there is a particular company or companies you are interested in, call and ask when they prefer students to apply.  Also watch for deadlines of internship postings.  It’s always better to be early than late.

Unadvertised vs. Advertised Opportunities

In the job market, a large majority of opportunities are not advertised. This is called a “hidden job market.” Conducting informational interviews and networking are good ways to tap into hidden internship opportunities.  Other ways include through volunteering and talking to people through various school organizations, your professors, peers, parents, past supervisors and friends.   All of these people are a part of your network.  Let them know you are in the market for a particular internship should they hear of anything.  Don’t say “Can you find me an internship?” though.  It’s not their job; it’s yours.

Advertised Opportunities

Many places do advertise their internship opportunities. You can find these posted internships through.
  • Job search engines (including UWM’s PantherJobs)
  • Postings on UWM departmental bulletin boards
  • Organization websites
  • Professional association websites
  • Student organizations
  • Volunteer positions
  • Postings through your department. 
  • Social networks (such as LinkedIn)
  • Print media (newspapers, magazines, etc.)

Specific Internship Websites 

Checkout the Career Development Center’s listing of advertised internship opportunities and specific career websites. While on these sites, do a search for internships. Even better, do a search for the specific internship you are seeking.

Other internship sites can be found here.

Organizing Your Internship Search

Maintain an organizational system

An organizational record keeping system is a crucial aspect of the internship search.  It will help you keep track of your network of contacts, dates and follow up information, and job search goals.

Have a system to record and organize the following:

  • Internship advertisements for positions applied for.
  • Dates you applied for the internships and when to make follow up contact.
  • Names, dates, and times of interviews.
  • Dates of follow up contacts made.
  • Names, dates, and times of informational interviews.
  • Names of people to network with.
  • Daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
  • Rewards you give yourself for reaching goals.

Which organizational system you choose is up to you.  There are many methods and various aspects of a job search to organize.  Many books in the Career Development Center's Career Information Library provide suggested forms and techniques to organize your search.


Following up after making that initial contact with an organization is something most job seekers are reluctant to do. Many feel as if they are being a pest.  Actually the successful applicant is frequently the one who makes two, three, four, or more follow-up calls.  If you feel uncomfortable calling back, ask, "Is it okay if I call back in two weeks to check again?"  This persistence demonstrates your enthusiasm, interest, and professionalism.

Refine and Review Your Mission and Strategies

With each step you take in your internship search you will learn more about what you want or need from an internship as well as what works or does not work in obtaining an internship.  It is important to apply what you learn and decide what changes and additions are needed.   

Examples of what you might gain during an internship search include, but are not limited to:

  • Clarification of your own needs and expectations
  • Understanding of skill sets and examples of skills you have demonstrated
  • Points worth tailoring on your resume
  • New questions to ask in informational interviews or networking situations
  • New things to describe and share in job interviews
  • New markets to apply to
  • New resources to add to your currently used tools
  • Recognition of advanced job search problems to seek help with
  • Awareness of techniques that work best for you and why
  • Awareness of which techniques may take more time, but work better

Making a conscientious effort to apply what you learn to your internship search can lead to finding the right internship sooner and more effectively.