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Internship Fundamentals

Schedule an AppointmentAn internship is a career-related learning experience for individuals who wish to develop hands-on work experience in a certain occupational field. It enhances a student’s understanding of his or her career field while offering a direct learning component to the experience. Most internships are temporary assignments that last approximately three months to a year. An internship for academic credit is a partnership between individual students, East Stroudsburg University, and companies or organizations where short-term work/learning experiences are offered to students. It is a way for students to connect the learning from their classrooms to the "world of work.”

Students in all majors are strongly encouraged to gain career experience in their field of interest prior to graduation.

The internship may or may not be for academic credit (this is strictly determined by each academic department – see your advisor) All paperwork and approvals must be completed prior to starting the internship. Some internships are paid, and some are not. Some are full-time positions for a semester, while others are part-time and take place concurrently with a student's class schedule. Internship experience can also be gained over a summer or a long semester break.

Benefits of an Internship

  • “Test drive” a particular career and clarify goals
  • Develop skills and knowledge, which are marketable to employers
  • Gain potential networking contacts as well as professional references that can assist with obtaining full-time job offers.
  • Apply knowledge from course work to hands-on, real live experiences.

Students completing an internship have two options:

  1. Internships taken for academic credit ("University Approved Internships") are carefully designed to provide a program with a substantial academic component, as well as practical value. All paperwork and approvals must be completed prior to starting the internship.
  2. Internships not for credit allow students to gain practical experience in a chosen career field.


  • Can be paid or unpaid
  • Can take place during the course of the academic semester or over the summer
  • May be eligible for academic credit
  • May be related to a career interest or part of the student's academic curriculum
  • Have defined learning goals and are monitored for progress
  • Promote academic, career and/or personal development

The criteria, eligibility requirements and procedures for academic credit internships are determined by academic departments and are supported by the Career Development Center. Universal requirements for the campus do not exist. PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to receive academic credit for an internship, you must contact and receive prior approval from your major academic department and complete all the paperwork prior to the internship

Students who are: suspended, on leave of absence, or are withdrawn from the University are not eligible to participate in internships for East Stroudsburg University credit. The University will not provide a letter of eligibility or sponsorship and will not provide liability insurance if you are separated from the University.

Internship Overview

Internships are a great place to make contacts, develop your professional skills and broaden your horizons. Use your network of contacts to help you obtain an internship. Are there friends of the family, parents of friends, or other acquaintances who work at a location that interests you? An internship is one of the most important things you can pursue to gain career-related experience. Internships have a DIRECT effect on securing high-caliber, entry level employment. An internship allows you to get a taste of the world of work. It helps you assess what you like, and do not like, about a field.

Here are some tips that will help you learn more about internships:

If you are familiar with, or interested in, particular internship sites, check their websites for internships. If they have internship programs, great. Go ahead and apply. If not, write to them, send your resume, and ask about internship positions. They may not have any opportunities at the moment, and they may not may not get back to you, however they may be impressed by your initiative and contact you in the future when opportunities arise.

Do you need help in starting to looking for an internship? Do you have questions about getting academic credit for an internship? Set up an appointment to work with one of our Career Advisors by calling (570) 422-3219. Contact your faculty advisor.

Other Options


An externship is a unique opportunity that allows ESU students to gain an insider's view into a career field, observe on-the-job activities and participate in hands-on learning experiences in the workplace. Shorter than an internship, an externship is an intensive job shadowing experience, typically lasting one week.

Job Shadow (Consider ESUShadows)

Do you want to spend time in first-hand learning about a typical workday of alumni and parents in various career fields? Offered every January during winter break, job shadowing provides one-day experiences in which students shadow alumni or parent volunteers in the workplace as they go about their day. Job Shadowing is open to students in all class years! Students must apply to participate and they will be matched based upon their top selections and relevant career interests. 

Internship Search Strategies

How can I find a valuable internship experience?

Many students make valuable network connections via your advisor, family or friends that can help them find valuable career experience. There are many networking options that can lead to experiential learning opportunities to complement your classroom experiences. In order to learn more about these options, visit the Career Development Center for an appointment.

Add Finding a Co-op Internship CareerSpots video here
Guide to Internships

How can I keep my Career Profile updated?

Career profiles can be prepared in WarriorCareers and in LinkedIn. On your resume, a "Career Profile" is most often thought of as heading on your resume that consists of a few bullets that highlights what qualifications you have to offer. Additionally, you can create a career portfolio, allowing employers to view selected information about you in addition to your resume. Both can summaries your skills, values, interests, personality traits and other necessary background information.

You can access your Career Profile by:

  1. Logging into WarriorCareers (Make sure that “Personal Profile” is selected),
  2. Clicking “Edit,”
  3. Updating your resume and posting it

What campus resources are available to me?

Every fall and spring semester, ESU Career Development hosts employers that conduct on-campus interviews with ESU students and recent alumni for job and internship opportunities.

Employers range from high-tech corporations, to businesses, to non-profit organizations and government agencies. All students in ALL MAJORS will find opportunities of interest and are highly encouraged to participate.

What is WarriorCareers?

WarriorCareers is the ESU career management system. Employers who have available internships will post them on the system. Search under “Internships” in the job boards: WarriorCareers and NACELink Network.

Step 1: Research internships and locations that interest you.

When speaking with a recruiter and/or applying for an internship, you should be prepared by being familiar with the organization's background and types of positions they have available. Here is a checklist of things you should research about an organization prior to any contact.

  • Organizational background – what does the organization do?
  • Organizational locations – where does this organization have offices?
  • Organizational employees – what kinds of positions is the organization hiring for? What majors of students are they looking for?
  • Main competitors – who are the organization's main competitors and industry leaders?
  • Recent news – has the organization been highlighted in the news recently?

Many top internship programs will post opportunities on internship search websites (see below; Ways to search for an Internship).

  • Watch deadlines, as most top internships have deadlines before December 31st
  • Use networks — your family, friends and peers are great resources to tap into
  • Go to career fairs — take your business cards, research employers beforehand, and tell recruiters that you are specifically looking for an internship

Step 2: Update your resume and cover letters.

Tailor these documents to match individual organizational/internship qualifications.

  • Your professors and industry professionals are your best resources!

Step 3: Apply for internships based on organizational instructions.

Depending upon the website or resource that you are using, there are various ways to apply. Please check each individual opportunity for specifications.

Step 4: Follow up.

  • After two weeks, follow up with the company. Make contact to see if your documents were received and if you can schedule an interview. Persistence pays off, but know where to draw the line.
  • Let the ESU Career Development Center team know about your successes! Share it!

Ways to Search for an Internship

  • WarriorCareers - Search for jobs and internships posted by employers and alumni.
  • Networking - Reach out to professors, peers, family, friends and alumni.
  • Direct outreach to employers and organizations - Employers that do not have a formal internship program may be willing to sponsor an intern if asked!

Internship Resources for All Majors

How can student organizations help me to acquire an internship?

Many students find valuable internship connections through active involvement in clubs and organizations. Many employers are interested in advertising their positions to active students, and they often make direct connections with student organizations. Guest speakers student organizations can also help students find internships and career opportunities within their organizations.

Internship Interview Information

First impressions are often lasting impressions, and the interview is usually the first opportunity to make a positive impression with a potential employer. Make sure that you are prepared for interviews by practicing your responses to some of the most commonly asked interview questions. At the same time, don’t forget that you are interviewing the employer as well so that you can learn more about the position and the organization. The interview should flow as a conversation, where each party is trying to learn if the other is a good fit.

General Internship Interview Questions

Internship candidates generally lack professional experiences so internship interview questions will focus on the desired competencies or behaviors for the position rather than task-related questions. Past performance is often the best predictor of future performance. Candidates are asked competency-based (or behavioral) questions that require them to provide specific examples of when they have previously demonstrated the required competencies. Candidates for internships will be expected to answer the interview questions using a structure such as "STAR" below:


Describe a specific Situation or incident in which you were involved
Detail the Tasks, Actions and/or steps you took in the situation
Describe the outcome /Results of these actions. What happened, what was accomplished, and what did you learn?

Other questions:

-Which of your courses or activities has helped prepare you for this internship?
-What factors did you consider when choosing your major?
-Why did you choose the extracurricular activities that you chose?
-What is your dissertation topic about and how did you decide on this topic?

Questions Relating to Initiative

Prepare for a question about your initiative. This competency involves the ability to be proactive, generate new ideas, come up with solutions and take on new opportunities. For example: Describe a time when you have had to meet a major challenge. Possible situations include your course requirements, your extracurricular activities, and sports participation.

Other Questions:
-Give me an example of when you have done more than what was required in a course.
-Describe a time when you have had to overcome a major obstacle.
-Tell me about a time that you improved upon an established way of doing something.

Answer Guidelines: Describe your ability to be proactive, take imaginative steps to overcome obstacles, generate new ideas, take advantage of opportunities and do more than required. If you have no work experience to draw on, refer to your course, your university activities and your extracurricular participation to find examples. Make sure the example relates to the competency.

Questions Relating to Problem Analysis and Problem-solving:

Prepare for a question that identifies your problem analysis and problem-solving abilities. This involves the ability to gather, organize and analyze relevant data using different resources to find an appropriate solution. For example: "Describe a situation where your initial approach failed and you had to try something different to meet an expected result."Consider situations that include undertaking projects and assignments, reaching goals and objectives in work, sports and/or other extracurricular activities.

Other Questions:

-Tell me about a situation where you had to do research and analyze the results for a complex assignment.

-What types of information did you use to choose your school, how did you evaluate it?

-Describe a tough academic decision you had to make, how did you go about this?

-Describe a situation where your initial approach failed and you had to try something different to meet your result.

Answer Guidelines: Show your ability to gather relevant information and identify issues or problems. Describe how you organized the information, compared data from different sources, considered alternatives and identified the most appropriate course of action taking into consideration your resources and any constraints.

Question Relating to Planning and Organizing

Consider your planning and organizing skills. This refers to the ability to plan ahead, set priorities and manage time and resources to achieve outcomes.

  • -What goals have you set for yourself, what steps have you taken to stay on track?
  • -Tell me about a time you had a particularly heavy course load, how did you manage time?
  • -Describe how you have balanced your academic work with your extracurricular activities.
  • -What objectives have you set for this year, what steps have you taken to ensure that you are on track?

Answer Guidelines:Show your ability to plan ahead, determine priorities, establish schedules and manage deadlines. Describe how you have effectively managed competing priorities, multi-tasked and achieved the necessary outcomes.

Questions Relating to Continuous Improvement

Prepare for a question that explores the ability to learn and apply new information and skills. This competency involves assimilating and applying new data or tasks as quickly as possible. The motivation to learn and the resourcefulness used in acquiring new knowledge is explored. For example; "Give an example of when you were able to learn something complex in a relatively short
period of time." Examples of possible situations that can be referred to include undertaking a new project, a difficult assignment and learning a new skill.

Questions Relating to Teamwork

Prepare for a question that looks at your contribution to teamwork. Are you able to work effectively as part of a team or group to reach desired outcomes? For example; "Describe a group project you achieved successfully, what was your contribution?" Possible situations include group assignments or projects, team sporting activities etc.

Prepare responses to Frequently Asked Questions

There’s no way to predict every question you’ll be asked, but you can prevent “um-ing” and “uh-ing” your way through the interview. The key? Articulating ahead of time why the internship opportunity is important to you. Interviewers don’t want to waste their time waiting for you to think up the perfect answer, and the first thing that comes to your mind may not be the best response. Instead, spend time before the interview considering the answers to some common questions. You don’t have to memorize a scripted response; the point is to have some focused ideas in your head that will convey your best side to the interviewer. You should at least know the answers to these questions:

  • Why do you want an internship with this company?
  • What do you think makes you a good candidate?
  • What do you think you will gain from an internship with this company?
  • How does this internship relate to your career goals?

How to Prepare for the Interview

The real key to a good interview is preparation. You’ll probably have plenty of other work to do while you’re applying for internships, but setting aside time to prepare for your interview makes all the difference. Employers want to hire students who are confident, relaxed, and ready to meet challenges-not floundering because they’re unprepared. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll put yourself ahead of the competition.

Choose your outfit carefully

First impressions are important; there’s nothing worse than candidates who arrive at an interview under- (or over-) dressed and looking like they just stepped out of the shower. As a general rule, you should dress “business casual” – conservative, but still comfortable. Despite the summer heat, women should avoid clothes that are too tight or revealing, and men should stick to dress shirts and pants.

Research the company

We can’t emphasize enough how important this one is. No matter how busy you are, if the company has a web site, take the time to surf it. There’s nothing that impresses an interviewer more than someone who shows a real interest in the company and its goals. Doing your research proves that you’re engaged with what the company has to offer and that you made an informed decision when you applied for the position.

If applicable, bring your work

Employers like to see initiative. They like to have a lot of information about a candidate, a personal quality that stands out, even a memorable anecdote. Particularly if you’re applying for an internship in advertising, editorial, or the arts, a sample of your work will give interviewers something solid on which to evaluate you. Don’t have anything to show? Don’t stress. You’re applying for an internship, so employers expect that you might not have a lot of practical experience. If they want to see what you can do, they’ll give you an assignment. If you are asked to prove yourself before you’re hired (with a writing or editing test, for example), don’t underestimate the importance of such projects – sometimes they can make or break your chances of being hired.

Prepare questions of your own

Having thoughtful questions prepared for an employer will show that you’re conscientious about making sure the internship meets your needs as well as the company’s. In fact, employers expect questions-they are a sign of an employee with potential. Here are some sample questions you might consider asking:

  • What’s the company’s philosophy behind hiring interns?
  • How many interns is the company hiring?
  • Who will be my boss? With whom will I be working?
  • What do you like about your job?
  • What is the office environment like?
  • How do you think this internship will benefit me?

Sell yourself

If you aren’t convinced you’re right for the job, they won’t be either. The interviewers we spoke with agree that the number one thing they look for in a candidate is self-confidence. But how do you accomplish confidence without sounding cocky? The best way to talk about yourself is to be honest and sincere at all times. Interviewers will be suspicious if you have all the right answers to their questions, and they’d rather hire interns who are aware of their own faults than those who appear to be hiding something.

Discuss it up front

If you have financial concerns, housing issues, or time constraints that could affect your employment, address them at the interview. Not only will the interviewer appreciate your candidness, but you’ll save yourself the awkwardness of having to ask for these allowances after you’ve been hired. Give employers the benefit of the doubt. They understand that you’re in school, you need money to live, and that you may need time off to spend with your family. Discussing these issues at the interview will help the employer feel comfortable hiring you, since you were thoughtful enough to deal with these issues up front.

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Often overlooked, the thank-you note is a crucial part of the interviewing process. It doesn’t have to be long, but promptly thank your interviewer for his or her time and consideration. This is also a good opportunity to stress your best qualities, reiterate why you’d like the position, and address some of the concerns you feel the interviewer might have had when speaking with you. As with all correspondence to potential employers, be sure to use correct grammar and avoid informal language.

East Stroudsburg University Career Development-Disclaimer Statement Job/Internship Postings

ESU Career Development Center in its provision of services to students, alumni, and off-campus employers makes no representations or guarantees regarding the opportunities listed on its website, emails, text messages, job fairs, bulletin boards, print materials and other resources, and is not responsible for the wages, safety, working conditions or other aspects of off-campus employment. It is the responsibility of the students and alumni to take the necessary precautions when interviewing for and accepting part-time/summer/full-time employment and participating in volunteer activities.

For more information, please contact us.

Have you been offered a job? Please share your success story with us and your peers!