At Thomas Jefferson University, we see internships as a crucial part of your college education. Our students combine internship experience (often multiple internships) with on-campus industry experiences to gain valuable experience and industry connections. It's why so many employers seek out Jefferson graduates.
We encourage you to follow the timeline below to help you stay on track with your internship search to meet your career goals.
Interested in earning academic credit for an internship? Find out more about the eligibility requirements, Frequently Asked Questions, and steps to register your internship:
Jefferson is committed to the NACE principles and is currently following the NACE criteria for defining an internship.
Standards for an Experience to Be Defined as an Internship
To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
Internship Search Timeline
Before beginning your search take time for:
- What interests, skills, and talents do you want to use, improve, or develop in your internship? (Career Assessments)
- What career paths do you want to explore with your major?
Exploring Your Options
- Schedule informational interviews to learn about your field of interest
- Find out when the "hiring season" is for your chosen industry and adjust your plans and expectations accordingly
- Review internship listings on Handshake as well as other job search sites, specific to your industry; identify specific skill sets and desired qualifications for listings that interest you
- Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your individual options and plan by logging into Handshake
3-6 Months Before You Want to Intern
- Create a resume and cover letter and have them reviewed during Walk-In Hours (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays: 2 – 4 p.m.)
- Upload your resume to Handshake for review and approval
- Identify what kind of internship you are looking for (e.g. location, industry, paid/unpaid, credit/non-credit, etc.)
- Speak with professors and career services staff about your career interests and seek their professional advice
- Identify specific organizations or businesses to target and find out about their internship application deadlines
- Consider your financial needs and housing costs
- Participate in Career Services Events such as career fairs, on-campus interviews, information sessions, workshops, etc. to improve your skills and connect with employers
2-3 Months Before
- Review the Internships For Credit information to determine if you want to register your internship for academic credit (Internships for Credit); Meet with your academic advisor to determine if you have elective(s) available; Complete the appropriate paperwork BEFORE the semester begins!
- Meet with Career Services to develop your search plan or stop in during Walk-In Hours (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 10:00 – 1:00 pm. and Tuesdays and Thursdays: 2:00 – 4:00 pm)
- Create a target list of 10-20 organizations or companies that fit your interests; Talk to your professors about your internship plans and begin networking
- Create a LinkedIn account and join Jefferson and/or PhilaU/Textile alumni groups to connect with alumni in your industry
- Prepare images, a design portfolio and a digital portfolio to present to employers
- Access Handshake: review postings weekly.
- Begin applying for internship postings (including on-campus interviews) on Handshake and other Internship Sites – be aware of deadlines!
1-2 Months Before
- Continue applying for internship postings (including on-campus interviews) on Handshake and other industry-related sites, as well as, directly reviewing and contacting employers on your target list – and keep a record of your applications so you can follow up
- Review interviewing tips and attend a workshop or mock interview to improve your skills
- Remember to always send a thank you note after each interview
- If you are registering your internship for academic credit, begin the registration and approval process outlined at Internships for Credit
During the Internship
- Consider resources to help you maximize your internship, visit website like LiveCareer, The Savvy Intern, and WorkItDaily
- Focus on job priorities and take initiative; always come prepared and never be without a notebook and pen!
- Seek feedback and support; find a mentor and utilize any knowledge/expertise they are willing to share
- Build and maintain your professional network during and after your internship (Hint: LinkedIn is a great way to easily stay connected post internship)