Tips on Finding an Internship
Finding an internship is something like finding a place to live – everyone has different preferences, budgets, and expectations. Here are some strategies for finding an internship that fits your needs and the resources available to you in this search.
1. Start working as soon as possible on designing a resume. Whatever route you use to set up an internship, you will almost certainly need to have a resume to help the organization decide whether they want to give you an internship and, if they do decide to take you on as an intern, to decide what role you will play in their organization during your time with them.
2. The Career Development Center in Room 250 of Brotman Hall is an excellent place to enquire about a placement and advice about putting together a resume. Stop by and/or check out the web site: http://www.careers.csulb.edu for invaluable information and resources for searching for and securing an internship.
4. With your resume ready, begin brainstorming about the type of organization with which you would like to work. One good place to start might be to use an Internet search engine (e.g., www.google.com) to find what organizations have offices in the Los Angeles area and if they have information about possible internships. Another excellent source is the website Idealist, which has a searchable database of non-profit organizations all over the country. Many are looking for interns, whereas others might be willing to take you on as an intern if you contact them. The American Political Science Association has a page on its website dedicated to various political internships (http://www.apsanet.org/content_11599.cfm). You might also check in with the professional association representing the firms or organizations that your career interests are steering you towards. Lower tech options, but often extremely useful are the phone book and personal contacts through family and friends, both of which might help you to locate organizations that would offer exciting internship possibilities.
5. The Internship Director for the Department of Political Science is available as a further resource to guide you in this process. For example, you might ask the Director to work with you to brainstorm possible places that might work as a potential internship employer. Alternatively, you might find that some internships ask you to submit a letter of recommendation along with your resume and other supporting application materials. It is perfectly appropriate for you to ask the Internship Director to provide you with one of these letters (although you might have another professor who knows you and your work much more directly). The Internship Director is glad to help you shape some of your choices and suggest ways to find and select an appropriate internship, but, at the outset, you must recognize that you will need to be pro-active in your search for an appropriate internship.
6. Paid internships are allowed (but they tend to be rare). However, the department cannot give you internship credit for a job that you currently hold, even if it is with a governmental or political organization.