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Find an Internship

 Strategies | Timeline | Carleton Resources | International Resources | Search

Congratulations! By starting the search, you have taken an important step towards finding, funding, and securing an extraordinary internship.


Finding an internship can be fun.  The search process itself offers a great opportunity to explore different work settings and begin to build your professional network. You will also develop search skills that you will again use to find a job after you graduate. The Career Center is here to help you every step of the way, so please contact us with any questions.

Here are some strategies to get you started:

  1. Commit to a positive attitude:  Be confident that your unique personality, skill set, and liberal arts education are of tremendous interest to potential internship sponsors. 
  2. Focus yourself: To the extent possible, be clear about your needs and priorities for an internship. 
  • Goals:  Begin to envision what you hope to gain from an internship. What type of professional talents would you like to develop or deepen? What academic theories would you like to test in the “real world?” 
  • Location:  Think about where you want to do an internship. An internship offers a great opportunity to find out whether you’d like to live in an area after college.   Would you prefer to be close to family? What about doing an international internship?  Would you like to stay in Northfield for the summer?
  • Setting:  Explore what type of organization in which you’d like to intern.  Would you prefer to be in a larger organization (500+ employees) or a much smaller setting (25 or fewer employees)?  Would you prefer to be in the private sector, a non-profit, or the government? 
  • Mission:  Consider your sources of personal motivation.  Do you think you would enjoy working for an organization that advocates around a cause (such as environmental activism or human rights) or a service-based organization (such as health care or education) or technology (such as internet-based communication or a high-tech startup)? Or would you rather be in the private sector focusing on organizational management, such as strategic planning, financial analysis, or human resources?
  • Financial Resources:  Some internships are paid; others are not.  For those that are not, you may want to consider designing your internship to take advantage of funding available at Carleton.  A number of Carls (alumni and parents) have provided significant resources to Carleton to help support interested students to participate in an internship regardless of financial need.
  1. Identify sources of information.  A lot of formal information about potential internships is available online (as found on websites, databases, etc.).  But perhaps even more important is the information available from informal sources – contacts that you make in the networking process and by pursuing informational interviews (see Networking and Informational Interviewing).
  2. Identify organizations for whom you may wish to work. Start a list of places that seem interesting and keep it handy to capture ideas that you come up with throughout your search. 
    • You may have new ideas from conversations with friends and family or related to coursework or an interesting class discussion. 
    • Your faculty adviser may have ideas about organizations that would be great hosts for an internship. 
    • Get ideas about exciting people and/or companies to work for by reading the newspapers or professional blogs from the region in which you’d like to work or that are focused on the sector that you’d like to work in.  For example, the Washington Post frequently highlights successful federal workers in Washington D.C. and the Wall Street Journal has extensive coverage of financial firms.
  3. Utilize your network of Carleton alumni, faculty, friends, relatives and their business associates.  Reach out to them for guidance and resources that will lead to the type of internship experience you are hoping to find.
  4. Prepare: Get your application materials ready.

If you’re still not sure of where to begin, that’s okay!  Make an appointment with a career counselor who can help.


Internship hiring timelines vary by industry, so get to know the timeline for your target industry.  In general, the more structured the internship, the more in advance the organization will hire. See the table below for some examples of recruiting timelines and target industries.

General Recruiting Timelines for Summer Internships for Select Industries

8 - 10 months in Advance

(Before and during Fall Term)

4 – 6 months in Advance

(Winter term)

  • Consulting Firms
  • For-profit Businesses
  • Large Media Companies
  • Financial Services
  • International Organizations
  • Federal Government
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Research Institutes
  • Educational Institutions
  • Arts Organizations
  • Environmental Organizations
  • State and Local Government

Another important date to remember is the application deadline for Carleton internship funding. Each spring, the funds are awarded on a competitive basis to support interns in many activities, including governmental, social justice, environmental activism, and social entrepreneurship.  These funds offset internship-related expenses and allow for some savings to be in hand after the internship to use for school-related expenses.

The Career Center can help you to learn more about timing of recruitment and hiring and funding your internship. 


Carleton Specific Resources

  • Student Internship Experiences Database: A searchable database of where other Carls have interned.
  • Pathways:  Explore how certain classes and majors could lead to potential careers, internships, and off-campus study programs.
  • The Tunnel: The Career Center's searchable database of internship and job listings.
  • The Career Center’s Twitter and Facebook pages for alumni or parent-sponsored internships.
  • LACN:  A database of internship openings developed by a consortium of 37 liberal arts colleges called the Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN). Log in in through the Tunnel and click on the LACN logo in the "Jump To" section on the right-hand side of the page.
  • Spotlight on Careers: Another collaborative effort with LACN, Spotlight is designed to give students an overview of 28 different career fields. Each site provides numerous links to related resources, and several sites provide links which list internship opportunities.
  • GoinGlobal: Packed with country-specific career information, this research tool provides expert advice and insider tips for finding employment at home and abroad.

International Internships Search Strategies and Resources

When looking for international internships, here are a few things to remember:

  • Culture:  Build your cross-cultural competency for interviews, networking and resumes by consulting GoinGlobal
  • Networking:  Consider attending larger academic or issue-based conferences and seminars where you can meet representatives from international organizations.  You may find someone who works in a field of interest who is able to either directly provide you with an internship or can connect you with someone else who can. 
  • Domestic Resources:  Not all internships serving international populations need to be internationally based! Many organizations throughout the United States run programs to work with international and immigrant populations such as English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching programs and refugee assistance services, like the International Rescue Committee. Also, many international organizations have offices in the United States.  Consider reaching out to the U.S. office to find out more about the international positions. This can be helpful with private sector, non-profit, and international organizations.
  • Foreign Languages:  Be creative about applying your language skills.  If you have fluency in a second or third language, consider going off the beaten path to use those language skills.  For instance, did you know that the African continent has the most French speakers in the world, with some form of French spoken by an estimated 120 million people spread across 24 francophone countries?
  • Do your research:  Make sure you conduct thorough research on any organizations in which you are interested: funding sources, employee discrimination/potential gender biases, safety concerns, etc. You don’t want to arrive and realize this is an organization you don’t feel comfortable working for.  You can find reviews of several programs on GoOverseas and Lonely Planet.

Okay, Okay, Got it. Where Can I Search?

Here are some good resources to get you started. However, this list is by no means exhaustive!  Please note that the Career Center does not necessarily endorse any of these resources.

  • LACN:  A database of internship openings developed by a consortium of 37 liberal arts colleges called the Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN).  Log in in through the Tunnel and click on the LACN logo in the "Jump To" section on the right-hand side of the page.
  • GoinGlobal: If you are interested in professional or governmental organizations within specific city, GoinGlobal is a good resource. Go to the Tunnel, click on GoinGlobal on the right hand column, and search under Country Career Guides.
  • A broad database good for seeing what is out there; particularly strong in service-based organizations and non-governmental organizations. Searching under “organizations” will likely give you more to work with, because many organizations don’t specifically post internship programs but would be happy to accept one.
  • ASPIA International Career Guide: Guides to sectors and subject areas related to careers in international affairs.
  • is the USA's largest internship directory with over 160,000 internships.
  • - Students can find internships and employment opportunities in the world's largest internship marketplace.
  • Directory of Development Organizations: Comprehensive guide of development organizations by country. On the home page, use the right hand column to narrow by region, and then click on countries of interest.
  • Wango: Lists of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by region. Click on the map on the main page to start your search.
  • Foreign Policy Research Institute: Search for over 1,000 think tanks by country; policy oriented (hence the name).
  • Boren Critical Language Scholarship: Part of the U.S. National Security Education Act of 1991, the Boren Critical Language Scholarships offer students up to $20,000 to study abroad in “critical areas,” including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East
  • ELIA Abroad: Searches under the internships tab are grouped by work type, so if you have an idea of what type of work you want to do, this would be a good way to start. Also sponsors student-initiated service projects.
  • InternAbroad: Search either by country or type of internship; lists nearly 1,000 organizations.
  • Love Volunteers: A New Zealand-based organization that facilitates international service & volunteering opportunities in 36 countries throughout the America's, Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East.
  • Lists internships and a list of alternative opportunities of summer work, including farm work, au pair jobs, and student work choices while studying abroad.
  • Uniworld: Database for U.S. companies with offices in foreign countries, as well as foreign companies in the U.S.
  • IEE Passport: Strong in academic summer programs abroad.
  • BUNAC: Offers work permits for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as internship opportunities in Britain.
  • Adventure Teaching: ESL teaching positions in China and Korea.
Career Center pages maintained by Andrea Kubinski
This page was last updated on 18 February 2019