Six Steps to Design the Internship of Your Dreams

iStudent Blog

istudent_maze.jpgPublished: February 12, 2018

Six simple steps for finding and submitting an internship opportunity.

Did you know that you have the option to set up your own custom internship? If the internship opportunities in the database don’t quite match up to your interests, it’s easy to create one that’s right for you. I know because that’s exactly what I did!

One of my goals during the MLIS program was to complete an internship to gain some experience in the field. I just started my internship at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento this semester. Allow me to take you through the steps of setting up an internship to show you how simple it is.

Step #1: Identify and Contact Possible Internship Sites
Reflect on your career path and consider what types of opportunities would give you the experience you need to reach your goals. What companies or libraries/archives are close to you? Would a virtual internship fit better into your schedule than an onsite opportunity? Once you’ve identified some potential organizations, check out their websites to see if there is any information. If not, send a friendly email of introduction enquiring about possible internship opportunities. The Crocker wasn’t advertising for an intern, but I sent an email to the librarian and it just so happened she had the perfect project for an intern to help with. The rest is history!

Step #2: Apply/Interview istudent_internships_0.png
Different sites will have different requirements to vet you for an internship. You might be invited for a formal interview, have to submit your resume and other materials such as a letter of recommendation, or it could be much more casual. For me, I went to an informal interview with the librarian who showed me around the library and told me about the project she needed help with. At the same time, she asked me questions about myself and got a feel for whether or not I would be a good fit.

Step #3: Set up the Internship in the Database
Congratulations, you’ve locked down an internship. You are halfway there! The next step is getting your internship in the database and approved by the iSchool.The internship site will need to sign a University Organization Agreement with the California State University (and this can take some time). If the agreement is approved then they will develop a job description, register their site and enter the internship in the database. 

Step #4: Write Your SLOs
In collaboration with your site supervisor, come up with some Student Learning Outcomes that fit the job description. These outline what you will learn and be able to do by the end of the semester. Read more about SLOs here.

Step#5: Submit iSchool Internship Application
With your approved internship in the database and your SLOs clearly identified, you’re ready to fill out the internship application form. You’ll need to do this six weeks in advance of your potential start date. Then wait for an email letting you know if your application has been accepted.

Step#6: Register for INFO 294 and Start Working!
Hopefully everything has gone smoothly up until this point and you’re ready to get started. MARA students will automatically be enrolled in the 3-credit MARA 294 class but MLIS students will need to self-register through mySJSU. Once you’re enrolled and the semester starts, you can begin your exciting new internship.

Keep in mind there are prerequisites for doing an internship. For all the details, make sure you check out the INFO 294 or MARA 294 student handbook. I’m on week three of my internship and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ll write a follow up post when I’m done and share my reflections with you on the internship experience. In the meantime, I hope you’ll consider doing an internship in a future semester. Internships offer a great opportunity to make the most of your program, connecting real-life experiences to your curriculum.

Internships image courtesy of the author.