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How do I search for an internship?

Finding an Internship

Follow these steps to find an internship:

Reflect & Research

Before the semester begins, reflect on your interests and needs. Consider your passion. What type of experience gets you excited? What matches your long term career goals? If you are certain about your ideal internship (unlike most students), apply early. For federal internships that may require a security clearance, begin your search months before the semester. Many students choose to start applying to internships 3 to 6 weeks before the semester begins. Rest assured that students also arrive in Washington without an internship in place. Internship search support is actively available to you in Washington, DC.

Contact Potential Employers

Email your cover letter and resume to apply to most internships. In some cases, internship sites request interns to apply via an online form/application. Let potential employers know that you are in American University’s Washington Semester and Extended Studies Programs, interested in interning at their organization, and would like to arrange an interview during the first week of your semester.

Follow-up on Inquiry

Internship sites often receive a huge volume of applicants; expect a response not more than a week or two after you apply. Note that internship sites frequently do not reply to emails from applicants who may not be considered. You can follow up your inquiry with an e-mail or telephone call when you arrive in Washington, DC. Check to be sure that the person you emailed is still in position. Take the initiative to selectively “cold call” organizations that excite you the most. The internship search requires significant effort and research. Managing that process proves to be an important lesson.