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Career Exploration and Success
Rutgers logo
Career Exploration and Success

Defining Internships

Internships provide students the opportunity to gain professional-level experience while testing out career options and building skills experience to be marketable for future employment and graduate school. Internships may also offer compensation and the chance to earn credit through internship or co-op courses offered at Rutgers which enhance the experience by promoting reflection and connections between academic and professional work.

In 2013, 85% of Rutgers students who completed an internship had 2 or more job offers after graduation.

Internships and The 4 Year Career Action Plan:

  • During your first and second years, begin gaining experience and build your resume.
  • Review the Get Involved link and the 4 Year Career Action Plan to help you individualize your plan. 
  • When ready for an internship, review the Internship Search Strategies and the Make an Impact at Your Internship sections under Develop Your Skills to help you stand out for your internship. 
  • You can also review the internship and co-op course options to earn credit for your work experience and learn about the Rutgers Internship Excellence Awards which highlight students and the valuable contributions they make to their internship sites. Review the awards eligibility to see if you qualify.
  • Students are encouraged to be “Internship Ready” by their third year in college


Competition for high-profile internships has increased over the years. Internship employers have numerous applications to review so, gaining experience to compete for these internships is vital. Identifying a major before gaining experience is not required.  

“How do I obtain an internship when I don’t have any experience?”  

  • Start by joining a student organization, participating in research, volunteering at a local organization, or participating in study abroad. These activities allow you to begin developing or enhancing skills such as time management and interpersonal communication.  
  • Become an active member of an organization or group and then work towards gaining a leadership role. 
  • Employers value the skills students gain in these experiences.  
  • Part-time jobs also allow students to gain essential skills employers seek as well as help students build their resume.