Commonly Asked Internship Questions

How do I get an internship? 

“My meeting with the Assistant Director of Research and Occupational Safety was more than pleasant and to my surprise it became an interview for an internship!” -Sandy

Most students get internships in one of three ways:

  • Applying to posted internships on the Student Portal page.
  • Applying to national internships found through independent research, such as on ehscareers.com, indeed.com, Google, or company-specific HR sites.
  • Developing new internship opportunities through networking. For example, students commonly get internships by reaching out directly to organizations they’re interested in or arranging informational interviews.

All students should expect to search for and apply to internships starting in July through the end of the school year. We recommend applying to at least 10 internships.

How do I know if my internship will fulfill my major requirements? 

Internship requirements are available in the Internship Guide on the Student Portal page. To verify if an internship meets major requirements, you can email the position description to Hayley Leventhal, Internship Manager, at hayleyl@uw.edu.

What do I do if I’m having trouble getting an internship?

You can make an appointment with Hayley at your convenience. In the meantime, here are some tips:

  • Write targeted cover letters and adapt your resume for each internship application.
  • Apply to at least 10 internships.
  • Apply early –starting in late summer for the following year- and monitor internship postings regularly.
  • Try to apply within the first three days a new internship is posted.

    “The main lesson I learned from my application process was to apply to everything that you would reasonably be able to do and to get started on your application materials like your resume and cover letters early so as to expedite the application processes. You should not get frustrated if your application process takes longer than expected or you hear way more No’s than Yes’s, as this is part of the process and it will only hurt you to get bogged down by the small details” -Nick

I was offered an internship. Now what?

Congratulations! Take a moment to celebrate your hard work. Here are some steps to get started:

  • If you have not done so already, email the internship description to Hayley to ensure that the internship will meet your degree requirements.
  • If you need time to make a decision, you can ask for a day or two at most to discuss this opportunity with your faculty advisor, Hayley, or your family.
  • Once you’ve accepted an offer, please notify Hayley via email as soon as possible. She will provide you with next steps.

What should I do if I have other interviews or offers?

It’s always a good idea to evaluate each offer independent of other internship opportunities. What caused you to initially apply? What skills or experiences would you gain from this internship? Once you’ve accepted an internship, it’s standard to withdraw other applications and turn down interview requests. Do not accept an internship you do not plan to complete.

To accept an internship only to withdraw later for a different offer would jeopardize your professional reputation, as well as damage the department’s ability to offer internships to future students.

Can I negotiate compensation?

“Figuring out my potential career is an ongoing process. I am very glad I did my internship with Public Health – Seattle & King County. I developed many skills and created relationships with many people who are supportive and see a bright future for me. Now, I leave my internship with more insight into my future career and I gained skills and experiences that will help me launch forward.” -Katie

It is not typical to negotiate compensation for an internship. At some internships, you might be able to negotiate start and end dates or hours. However, you should ask if they’re negotiable and not assume that they are.

Do you have questions about internships?

Post them in the comments!

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