Introduction to Internship
An internship is a professional development experience that enhances your education by providing an opportunity for you to
Explore work and career pathways in public and community service
Apply classroom knowledge and skills to professional projects and workplace solutions
Develop highly valued transferable skills and competencies in leadership and management
Build professional relationships and establish yourself as an emerging professional
Understand recruitment and hiring processes and trends for a successful transition and gain a competitive edge in today’s marketplace!
Junior or senior students planning to graduate in December 2023 or May 2024 should prepare now for internship in the Fall 2023 or Spring 2024. On average, identifying, seeking, and securing an internship takes approximately 3-6 months. New Applications for fall 2023 will be accepted January - May, 2023.
The School of Public Affairs (SPA) Internship Program
The SPA Office of Career and Professional Development assists students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Public Policy (all concentrations) to explore career interests and build career readiness and competencies through internship, service-learning and other professional development activities. Graduate students pursuing a Master's of Public Administration or a Master's of Public Policy may also elect to participate in professional development activities to enhance skills and experience for post-graduation employment and advancement. Both undergraduate and graduate students may earn academic credit toward their degree for their work-learning experience, through participation in the Internship course, PAF484 or PAF584, respectively.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) research has found a strong positive relationship between student participation in internships and increased probability of receiving professional employment offers while searching for post-graduation work prior to graduation. Recruiting and hiring in the field of public service is no different than other occupations - Everyone wants to hire knowledgeable and skilled candidates.
First steps to identifying, seeking, and qualifying an internship for professional development
1. Attend a SPA Internship Introduction Session -recommended: one semester prior to the semester that you plan to participate in an internship and the PAF484 or PAF 584 course. Register for an Introduction Session. Virtual workshops for students seeking Spring 2024 internships will be scheduled, Fridays at noon September through November. In June we will post a few summer dates for workshops for students seeking in fall 2023, who missed information sessions this spring.
2. Prepare a SPA Internship Application for Fall 2023 or Spring 2024
3. Meet with the Internship Coordinator for an Intake Interview, to learn about current opportunities, review your application and promotional materials, develop a search plan, or qualify an internship for which you have been selected for credit and participation in the PAF 484/584 course, during the same semester. Intake Interviews for fall 2023 will be conducted February through June 2023.
Student Professional Development Preparation Workshops
The School of Public Affairs Office of Career and Professional Development presents hands-on workshops for students to develop effective self-marketing tools and skills to promote yourself professionally. Review workshop descriptions, determine the assistance you need, then register for either a virtual or in-person session via the link provided. - FALL 2023 Professional Development Workshops dates and registration links will be posted in June.
Effective Resume Writing and Powerful Introductions
- Learn how to introduce yourself and demonstrate skills, knowledge and experience through all your application, prospecting and referral documents and conversations.
- Present yourself professionally throughout the recruitment, hiring and on-boarding processes.
- Get noticed for the right reasons!
Conducting an Effective Job Search
- Discover best practices for identifying, applying and securing your dream internship (or first-destination professional employment post-graduation)
- Learn how to apply the highly effective RSF Method and timeline to maximize your search efforts in the next few months
Practicing Successful Interviewing Skills
- Learn and practice the highly effective STAR method of interview preparation to ace professional interviews for internship, first-destination post-graduation employment or promotion
- Let's get the hiring conversation started!
All workshops use worksheets and exercises found in this Resource Guide
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Identifying an Internship