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Internships and other work experiences are vital to your successful transition into the world of work and graduate school. Grounding your academic endeavors with relevant, hands-on experience will help you navigate your way to the next step after Smith.

Benefits of an Internship

Learn through experience

Sample a career path or organization that interests you. Apply your classroom knowledge to real-world projects. Gain insight into yourself and your career preferences.

Expand your network

Connect with colleagues on your team and beyond. Build and maintain these relationships, share and ask for information. Connect on LinkedIn.

Develop skills employers seek

Cultivate essential career skills like Critical Thinking, Communication, Teamwork, Equity & Inclusion, and Professionalism. We can help you identify and articulate how you used these and other skills, and learn how they can propel you to the next opportunity.Gain confidence in yourself and the unique background you bring to the internship.

Receive offers for post-grad employment

According to a recent NACE report, employers offered permanent employment to more than 80% of their eligible interns.

Internships in Action

Make the Most of Your Internship

Start here:

  • What career fields, organizations or issues interest you?
  • What skills would you like to use or develop?
  • Research temporary housing options: Summer Internship Housing Resources (Google Docs*)
  • Is the internship paid or unpaid? If unpaid, are you eligible to apply for Smith College Praxis funding? Can you supplement with a paid part-time job? For budgeting help, see the Conway Center’s Financial Education Resources page.

    * We are aware that Google Docs don’t meet all accessibility requirements, especially when images and tables are involved. Please email for a fully accessible version if you have accessibility difficulties with Google Docs files on the Lazarus Center pages.

Online Resources

Handshake is our online database of jobs and internships. Search by keyword, industry, function, location and more. Set up a saved search and receive emails or text notifications when opportunities are added within your criteria. Use Handshake to schedule Lazarus Center advising appointments, view upcoming workshops and events, and access our subscription-based resources (within Handshake, click Career Center > Resources).

Career Communities: Explore internships in your area of interest.

Praxis Internship Reports are an end-of-internship requirement for Praxis-funded interns and a great way to learn where Smith students have interned. Reports are organized by career field, or you may also search by keywords.

International Internships

Equity & Inclusion Resources

Search Strategies

Research organizations online. Find out what organizations are making news and why. Check the websites of those that interest you, and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media. Use Vault (access through Handshake) to research industry trends and organizations of interest.

Professional association websites often post internships and provide in-depth information about fields of interest.

Network with Smith alums. Ask them about their career paths and get their advice on your internship search. Join Smith College and other LinkedIn groups. Browse the Office of Alum Relations online directory. Consult our Informational Interviewing & Networking guide to get started.

Friends, family, former supervisors and faculty may provide helpful leads and unique advice. Ask for their ideas.

Create your own internship. If you have an organization of interest in mind, but they don’t have any advertised positions, consider proposing your own unique internship:

Meet with a Lazarus Center adviser for individualized search assistance. Self-schedule in Handshake.

  • Apply to all positions of interest, even if your qualifications don’t exactly match all requirements. Emphasize what you offer, not what you lack.
  • Prepare a resume and cover letter, tailored for the position. Bring your drafts to drop-in hours.
  • Prepare for an interview, and practice with a Lazarus Center adviser.

When evaluating an offer, ask clarifying questions to determine if the position is a good fit:

  • What are some of the projects or assignments I would be involved in, and what would my role be?
  • How are interns supervised? Do interns meet with supervisors regularly? How do interns get feedback on their work?
  • How would you describe the work culture?
  • What are the most important qualities you look for in an intern?
  • Are interns included in staff meetings, seminars or training sessions?
  • How do you see the breakdown between time spent on clerical work and career-related projects? All employees do their share of routine administrative work. Show that you’re eager to pitch in but be sure you’ll have career-specific work as well.

If you’re unsure about whether to accept an internship offer, speak with your potential superviser for further details and/or meet with a Lazarus Center adviser.

Clarify logistical details

Agree on and confirm start/end dates, daily/weekly work hours and a specific schedule with your supervisor. Plan driving directions, parking, key access and security details. If you are working remotely and/or need to log your own hours, consider a free tool like Clockify or Toggl. Familiarize yourself with required software and communication tools. Communicate time-off requests early.

Observe your new environment

Notice interactions between co-workers, supervisors and employees. How is the office organized? What‘s your supervisor’s management and communication style? How do employees dress for work?

Clarify expectations

Determine the projects you will work on and what results are expected. Have a conversation with your supervisor about your learning goals for the internship, but understand that they likely have specific projects in mind. Routine tasks (answering phones, making copies, etc.) are often part of an intern’s duties, but focus on more substantive projects and tasks whenever possible. Ask how interns are evaluated; receiving regular, substantive feedback will help you develop your skills.

Create a Learning Contract

A Learning Contract, completed with your supervisor, can help start your internship off with a mutual understanding of expectations and learning objectives.

Give your best effort to all tasks and projects

Ask questions and be open to learning and changing your approach. Exercise good time management, and look for opportunities to expand your work. Diligence can lead to more responsibility and may help secure a strong reference for future opportunities.

Be professional. Arrive on time. Follow through on commitments. Keep cell phone use and other personal business to a minimum.

Communication and consideration are critical to maintaining good working relationships. Show that you’re in communication, engaged and eager to help the organization meet its goals.

Introduce yourself to the whole group. Learn about their roles and how they collaborate, and how your work contributes to the organization’s mission. Meet informally, or arrange a more formal informational interview. Connect on LinkedIn. Write thank you emails and stay in touch.

If problems arise

Determine if the difficulties you’re experiencing prevent you from fulfilling your internship duties or meeting your learning goals. Is there a work-around or a reasonable compromise? For perspective, discuss the situation with someone outside the organization (family, friend or Lazarus Center adviser). If the difficulties seriously impede your work or your learning, schedule a meeting with your supervisor to outline your concerns. Be open to other perspectives, and explore possible solutions together. By offering your ideas for resolution, your supervisor will see that you are committed to your internship and want to move forward.

Take some time to think about your experience. Practice articulating what happened, what you learned and why it was impactful. You may journal, talk to a friend, meet with a trusted faculty or adviser, or attend one of our Reflection Workshops.

Think about:

  • Yourself. What skills or talents did you use or develop? Did you achieve your learning goals? Has your career focus shifted? Did your opinion of this field or role change?
  • Your relationships with colleagues. How did co-workers interact with you and each other? Do you prefer working as a team or independently?
  • Your work environment. Did you feel engaged? Stressed? Bored? Are you comfortable with deadlines, or would you prefer a more flexible work space? How did you manage your time?
  • Your balance of tasks. Did you have variety in your tasks each day? Are you more comfortable with predictability? Did you seek out additional projects to stretch your comfort zone?
  • Your supervision. Do you prefer close supervision or more independence? Did you seek and accept feedback? Do you prefer formal meetings with your supervisor or flexible, as-needed check-ins?

Internship Support: Funding and Credit

Praxis: Funding for eligible students in qualified, unpaid summer internships

Internship Credit: Receive 0.25 credit for qualifying internships