With a competitive job market, finding employment can be a challenge — especially if you don’t have experience. Internships are an excellent way for you to gain exposure to your chosen career field as well as desired work experience.

Carl Sandburg College's internship program provides an outstanding opportunity for you to work with employers one on one to acquire the knowledge needed to gain practical skills — all while earning your certificate or degree. Upon graduation, students who have completed an internship are more likely to feel confident they chose the right program of study.

Getting started

For-credit academic internship

Step 1: Submit a student internship interest form. 

Step 2: Upon submission of the student internship interest form, you'll be contacted by the Career Development office to set up an appointment.

Step 3: Set up an appointment, which will consist of:

  • Establishing a connection with the faculty supervisor
  • Receiving required paperwork you must deliver to your site supervisor 
  • Preparing for the internship (resumé/interview/first impression)
  • Pursuing the internship

Step 4: Set up a required post-internship appointment with the Career Development office. This appointment will consist of:

  • Assistance with writing a thank-you note to the internship site supervisor
  • A final review of your resumé to ensure it's up to date
  • A final mock interview to help create effective responses, work on nonverbal communication skills and reduce your stress before the actual job interview

Completing an internship has many benefits. Along with helping master your professional skills, you have the potential of :

Creating a professional network – You'll be working with future colleagues during your internship or meeting professionals who can help connect you to future employment.

Building a strong resumé – Internship experience is a valuable part of your resumé. Prospective employers recognize an intern as a valued part of the company who is willing to work hard to learn more about the industry. Use internship experience as a priceless piece of your resumé to boost your skills and qualifications when searching for employment. 

Securing good references and recommendations – By making a professional and positive impression with your colleagues, you may be able to request their future assistance with letters of recommendation to acquire employment.

Increasing the potential of transitioning to a part-/full-time position – A strong work ethic tells an employer a lot about your character. By proving your commitment to them, you may increase your chances of receiving an offer of employment.

Boosting your confidence – Employers seek candidates who have the confidence to do the job successfully. By showing confidence during your internship, your entire work experience may improve drastically.

Learning by observation – Observational learning is the process of learning by watching a real-life example. Seek out the “go-getters,” and see how you can learn from them.

Receiving professional feedback – Appreciate and learn from any constructive feedback or performance evaluation you may receive. Stay positive and receptive — remembering that it can strengthen your relationship with employers.

Employers have a chance to find quality talent while inspiring and shaping professionals when they agree to host an intern. Additional benefits:

Providing mentorship opportunities — An internship program provides an opportunity for your current employees to interact with Sandburg students. By showing the intern what it takes to be productive and successful, they are demonstrating specific behaviors expected in that career field.

Closing the skills gap — Employers are reporting that new employees have the technical skills to do the job but are missing the highly coveted soft skills. Help an intern close that skills gap so they can hit the ground running and exceed your expectations.

Gaining a fresh perspective — By hosting an intern, employers may be able to capitalize on specialized strengths and unique skill sets. A new set of eyes could be instrumental in helping solve a problem and/or bringing in new ideas.  

Increase your visibility on campus — Expose your business to undiscovered talent with the potential of getting your name in front of future applicants.

Local internships are competitive and not exclusive to Sandburg students. It's crucial to find an internship early. 

Dean of Career and Technical Education Located at the Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME), the Dean of Career and Technical Education may be able to assist in letting you know of possible internship locations in and around the area. 

Career Development Office While not a job/internship placement office, the Career Development office can offer tips on how to put your best foot forward when making a strong first impression and find out who is offering internships in and around the community. Now is the time to spruce up your resumé and brush up on your interview skills before moving forward in the internship process. 

Your community Reach out to businesses you are familiar with to inquire about the possibility of an internship. Speak with someone who’s worked in the field you're interested in. This can include a professor, academic advisor, or prior/current supervisor.

Family/friends Do you know someone personally who can help you start networking with employers through their employment? Connect with family and friends to see who can speak professionally and positively on your behalf. Can they speak of your work ethic and character?

Online resources Search websites such as Indeed and LinkedIn to discover internship opportunities.

Question: Will the college place me in an internship?
Answer: No, you are responsible for locating an internship site; however, the Dean of Career and Technical Education and the Career Development office may offer information on who to contact for possible locations.

Question: Do I get paid for an internship?
Answer: While most internships are unpaid, some might provide compensation. 

Question: What does the employer expect of an intern?
Answer: An employer has the same expectations of an intern as they would of an employee. Interns are expected to maintain a professional attitude, appearance and strong work ethic at all times. You must treat the internship very seriously as you would actual employment. Attendance, punctuality, dependability, good judgment and maintaining a high quality of work are essential. 

Question: What are my options if I begin an internship and find it is not a fit for me or the employer?
Answer: While we are hopeful your experience will be a positive one, you are encouraged to always communicate with your faculty supervisor on your internship situation. The site supervisor and faculty supervisor may be able to discuss and rectify the problem. 

Question: How will my performance be evaluated?
Answer:  Per Carl Sandburg College’s internship policy, your site supervisor is required to evaluate you at the end of your internship so the faculty supervisor may assign a grade. However, the site supervisor may choose to evaluate you periodically throughout your time during the internship. 

Question: Do I need to look for an internship relevant to my program of study?
Answer: Yes. You should look for positions related to your certificate/degree.  

Question: Do I need to have transportation?
Answer: Yes. Reliable transportation, whether it be personal transportation, taxi or city bus, is required for an internship.