Post Your Internship with Cal Lutheran!
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What is an Internship?
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), internships are "typically one-time work or service experiences related to the student's major or career goal" and "can be paid or unpaid and the student may or may not receive academic credit." An internship is a great way to offer training and mentorship to professionals of the future. Through a combination of guidance and relevant work experience, students who complete internships experience higher employment rates, obtain valuable information about their fields of interest, and expand their network of professional contacts.
How are Internships Different from Part-Time Jobs?
An internship is a part-time work experience that is project-based. Internships require some amount of training from the employer. A clerical job that you would usually hire a staff member for, cannot be an internship because it is not project-based. Internships can be paid which is preferred by students. In addition to paying an intern, some students will also want to receive credit.
From a legal standpoint, it is always best to pay and intern or provide credit or do both. If you are offering unpaid internships, it is ESSENTIAL to have concrete projects, training, and feedback and to NOT have the intern doing work that staff would typically do. Interns are best suited for special projects. It is acceptable to occasionally have an intern answer the phone or run errands, but these administrative activities should be minimal in comparison to their projects and the training you provide them. An intern might also shadow you or a colleague as a form of training.
Which Students Can Do An Internship and When Can They Do It?
All students in our traditional undergraduate program and Professionals program are eligible to do internships. Most students in our graduate programs are also eligible to do internships. Students can participate in internships year-round. Some students may elect to receive academic credit for their internship, but it credit is only required for international students and students in select majors.
Please contact Career Services for additional questions.
Benefits to Employers
- Preview performance in advance: An internship can serve as an extended evaluation of performance across several months to see if a candidate is a strong fit for hire within your organization.
- Recruit better through referrals: Interns are often well-connected to many other students in their major who are looking to enter the same field. Recruiting qualified personnel becomes less expensive and time consuming with an internship program.
- Save time and $$$ on training and development: Interns who are hired on as employees require less training and therefore cost the organization less.
- Improved retention: Interns who accept an offer of employment with the organization often stay longer because they have had time to evaluate if this is the right match for them. Reduce the "jobhopping" effect!
- Give back: Employers that develop and maintain intern programs gain additional recognition in the community for helping to create a better tomorrow.
Benefits to Students
- Learning: Internships supplement students' academic foundations by providing hands-on learning.
- Practical training: Many internships offer practical training & experience that is needed for entry into the field.
- Career exploration: Students who obtain first-hand knowledge through an internship have more experience to help inform their career decisions.
- Social skill development: Emotional intelligence, active listening, and interpersonal skills are desired by organizations for success in today's workplace.
- Exposure to the world of work: Students who complete internships have a more realistic outlook on work.
- Career development: Internships stand out as key resume builders, provide great experience to help answer future interview questions, and broaden students' networks.
4A Cause Non-Profit Internship Program
The “4A Cause" Experiential Learning Internship Program gives students the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization that they feel passionate about helping. The program is offered every Fall Semester and applicants are matched directly to employers within their scope of interest. To learn more, click here. If your organization would like to participate in the program as an employer, please contact us.
Internship Supervisor Tips
The first day of a new the internship sets the stage for the entire internship experience. The following tips are designed to help you be the most effective supervisor possible and to facilitate learning activities for the intern.
Plan to spend some time with your intern on their first day. Talk about the organization, provide a tour, and discuss your unique culture. This is also the time to discuss upcoming projects. Your relationship with the intern is one of the most important aspects of the internship so foster it. Doing so will require you to spend time with the intern especially during their first few weeks.
Discuss what types of things YOU do each day in your own job. Students are interested in learning more about you. Most likely they have not been exposed to someone with your background. Let them know where you went to school and what degrees or experience you have. Ask the student about their career goals and what they hope to gain from the internship. Discuss any training or if you have a training manual, go over it with the intern.
Supply secondary supervisor information to the intern and inform the student on whom they report to. Have the intern meet their secondary supervisor for 15 minutes on the first day or during the first week of the internship to find out what they do each day. Consider this a mini-informational interview.
Explain what you expect daily, weekly, and by the end of the internship. Do you want them to email you, call you, or come in your office to go over questions each day? You could designate a time each week for a check-in period. Let the intern know how to reach you best. Plan at least one project a month in addition to daily responsibilities so when an intern is caught up, they know how to spend their time. Beyond the details of each task, explain the big picture and why each project is important to the organization as a whole.
Try to provide the intern with a written evaluation. Ideally, providing a mini-review would be useful for the student and an exit interview about their experience can be useful for you to improve future internships.
• Give ongoing feedback or a performance review on how the intern can improve. They need to hear it!
• Discuss pet peeves or any other preferences you have early on so misunderstandings are prevented.
• Create an orientation meeting or training manual for consistency. You can have your intern help create it!
• Relationship-building is important. Having coffee or lunch together can help improve your connection.
• Communication is essential. Communicate often with your intern.
• Try to become a mentor to your intern so they can ask advice on career matters
• Include the intern in meetings, outings, professional development, and conferences when possible.
• Ask your intern what skills they have so you can better utilize them.
Working with International Students
International students are allowed to do internships in all of our undergraduate programs and most of our graduate programs. If you want to hire an international student for an internship (paid or unpaid) they ALWAYS have to apply to receive have to get credit as well. Students who are unsure about the paperwork needed for credit can contact the Career Services office, International Student office, or their Faculty Advisor.