Applying for Internships

Internship listings, much like regular job postings, will always include specific application instructions.  Many times, you will be required to send your application materials directly to the hiring official at the company or organization.  A resume is almost always required, regardless of the position. Additionally, a cover letter, transcripts, writing sample, and/or other documents may also be required.  Resumes show the employer you can do the job, while cover letters tell the employer you want the job.

  • Don't procrastinate! Start working on your application early
  • Read the application instructions completely and carefully
  • Use keywords noted in the job description when tailoring your cover letter and resume
  • Give your references a heads up that they are listed on your application 
  • Drop off your application in person, if possible
  • Follow-up with the contact after you submit your materials
  • Ask questions about the position prior to submitting your application
  • Get your application in on time!
  • Have someone proof read your materials at least twice

Resumes and Cover Letters

A resume outlines an individuals education and work experience and is usually tailored to highlight the knowledge and skills related to the internship.  Think of it as a summary of your past experiences that make you qualified for a position.  As a student intern, your employer will not expect you to know everything or have experience in every area, that's what the internship is for!  However, it is important to show the hiring official that you are on the right track and that you have gained skills in other professional areas such as teamwork, time management, customer service, etc. from past jobs and school projects.

It is not enough these days to simply have your work information printed out on nice paper, a resume must also be visually pleasing and standout among the other applications.  Taking the time to format your resume is almost as important as the information on the resume itself.  Review the quick reference below to start thinking about formatting your own resume. Example Resumes

  • Never use a template!
  • Include your GPA, especially if it is 3.0 or above
  • Include a "Career Summary" at the top of your resume to clarify your intent and skills
  • Try not to use abbreviations in your resume unless they are widely understood.
  • Attach your references on a separate sheet with a matching header
  • More Resume Tips
Cover letters let the employer know just how much you want the job or internship.  It also gives you an added opportunity to highlight your knowledge and skills relating to the position.  These documents are formatted like a standard business letter and are often only a page in length with a standard of three paragraphs. Example Cover Letters

Online Applications

Online applications often require a different type of application procedure and may require a different type of resume as well.  Application Tracking Systems (ATS) are designed to scan applications as they come in to determine whether or not an applicant is a strong candidate for the position.  The system is electronic and bases its scoring on the presence of key terms within submitted documents. If an application packet is scored high enough, it is referred on to the hiring official for additional review.  If not, the applicant is rejected without a human ever seeing his/her resume.

Not all online systems are ATS, some employers simply use an online system to manage applications.  It is important to know which type of system you are applying to as it can make a big difference in how you format and submit your materials.  Below are some tips for submitting materials to an ATS system. ATS Application Tips

What about Interviews?

Not all positions will require an interview but you should be prepared for one just in case.  In general, the company or organization will contact you by phone to set up an interview time roughly 1-3 weeks after the deadline of the position listing.  

If the position is outside of easy driving distance, you may be asked to do a phone or Skype interview.  If needed, we can reserve a quite room for you to use during your interview in our office area.  In certain circumstances, the company or organization may also choose to pay for you to come to the company for the interview.

Leanne Schuh With Armadillo


LeanneSchuh Walking with beaver

"I took on this internship because I have always known I wanted to have a job working with animals and this was a great opportunity to start gaining experience."

-Leanne Schuh on her internship with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during Summer 2013