Welcome to the Career Development Center!
The California Institute of Technology is one of the world's leading institutions of science, technology, engineering and math. Would you like a Caltech student, postdoc or alum to become a part of your organization? Be one of the hundreds of companies and research facilities that choose our Caltech Career Development Center to post their jobs and internships!
Our students receive an unprecedented foundation in science education amongst a culturally diverse student and faculty population that is unlike any other. Caltech prepares students to be successful assets to your workplace and we welcome you to post a job, conduct on-campus interviews and attend/sponsor events!
Employers recruiting at the Caltech Career Development Center must adhere to our Recruiting Guidelines and Policies, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines, as well as the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Principles of Professional Conduct for Employment Professionals.
On Campus Recruiting For Employers: Pre-Select System
We are now working with organizations to ensure the right students connect with the right companies. The three most common problems when pre-screening Caltech students are:
- screening on GPA
- screening on major
- screening on experience
Screening Based on GPA
This can be very misleading. Some employers screen out Caltech students on arbitrary criteria such as "must have a 3.2 GPA." However, the difference between a 3.2 and a 3.0 or even 2.8 GPA at Caltech may have nothing to do with a student's ability or mastery of course material.
Caltech is ranked as the most difficult college curriculum in the United States by the Princeton Review. Our freshman class has the highest SAT scores in the country according to US News and World Report, with a math score range of 770 - 800 out of a possible 800. To complement this impressive ability, the Caltech curriculum is advanced and undergraduates master a range of quantitative and analytical skills as well as having to take advanced writing intensive courses.
Our graduate students have distinguished graduate records and take a set number of classes for grades based on the requirements of their graduate degree program. The skills presented by graduate students include research, mastery of complex equipment and experimental techniques and communication skills. Their GPA at Caltech is only one aspect of their "portfolio."
Companies that use GPA for screening purposes at Caltech are doing themselves a disservice, and we strongly encourage firms to look at additional factors when screening candidates.
Screening Based on Academic Option (Major)
Caltech's core requirements are broad and deep. Some of our majors (referred to as "options") are very multi-disciplined and may not fit the language a company uses to sort candidates at other schools. Students regularly work in research groups on projects outside of their declared option. Organizations that interview students from a variety of majors are often surprised at their level of competence outside the traditional categories. Also, some options have fewer students, and an organization that insists on narrow selection criteria will miss out on many qualified students and may not fill their schedule.
Screening Undergraduates Based on Experience
Caltech's rigorous curriculum makes it difficult for students to spend long hours on activities and part-time work as students from other schools often do. Undergraduate students are typically involved in advanced research and interact with graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and faculty, which adds to their scientific sophistication.
Caltech does not offer scholarships or stipends for many extra-curricular activities that other schools may offer, and co-ops are not part of our curriculum. We find that a student's strong work ethic and ability to focus, problem solve, and work in teams puts them ahead in the learning curve and makes them excellent employees.
Final Advice on Effective Screening of Candidates
One of the best marketing strategies a company can utilize is to interview a few extra students that do not exactly match pre-selected criteria. Positive word of mouth is the best way to keep students interested in your organization. Smart organizations interview broadly, treat students well and use the interview as a chance to educate students on how to present themselves to future employers. We appreciate it when employers realize that the interview is not only a time for selecting future employees for their organization, but also understanding that they are becoming partners in the educational process of career planning, as they help students succeed through feedback and encouragement.
We often hear that a company's patience and willingness to work with students in transition makes it a popular and sought-after organization on campus. If you would like to pre-select Caltech students, please contact us at (626) 395-6361. We can work with you to make your recruiting efforts a success.
We welcome companies, organizations, and universities to recruit Caltech students through the Career Development Center’s on-campus recruiting program.
Build Your Name on Campus
- Conduct an Information Session
- Attend our annual Career Fairs that take place in January and October
- Post an OCR job and schedule on-campus interviews with students
- Our office has several private interview rooms available with full internet access and whiteboards
- Interviews may take place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
All on-campus recruiting activities can be facilitated through our Handshake site. Login or register a new account to begin the process. Please refer to our Employer Guidelines page for information about our office policies and recommendations.
Caltech employers* may post work-study positions on Handshake. If you don't have an account, register as a new employer (or contact the CDC to be added to Caltech's employer account), and you will receive a username and password via email. Please be sure to use your caltech.edu email address when registering.
*To be considered a Caltech employer, you must be affiliated with Caltech and/or JPL.
Please note, we will only approve work-study positions offered by Caltech, JPL, or the Caltech Y. Other employers cannot post work-study jobs.
Tutoring jobs cannot be posted on Handshake.
How do I open a Handshake account?
Please click here and fill out the profile as completely as possible. You will need to register your company, create a company profile and enter your recruiter contact information. Your company contact person will receive our office announcements and also be the person who manages your Handshake account.
What will I be able to do once I sign up on Handshake?
Once we review and approve your Handshake account, your company contact/user will be able to post positions, review resumes and request on-campus recruiting (information sessions, interview rooms and register for our career fairs).
How do I request an information session?
Please login to your Handshake account and then go to the "events" tab. You will then be able to request an information session. Please note that our information sessions are typically held Monday through Thursday from 12:00pm – 1:00pm or 4:00pm – 5:00pm. Most information sessions are presented in our workshop room (depending upon availability), located on the third floor of the Center for Student Services, room 310.
I’m interested in hiring an undergraduate summer intern for my company. Who can I contact to get more information?
How do I request a room for on-campus interviews?
Log on to your Handshake account, then go to "on campus recruiting." From the OCR tab, you will be able to request your dates, create your interview schedule and the number of interview rooms required. You will not be able to create an interview schedule without attaching a position. Your posted position will be attached to your recruiter's interview schedule.
How do I sign up for a career fair?
Once you have created a Handshake account, you will be able to register for a career fair when registration opens. By creating an account ahead of time, you can ensure that an email announcement will be sent to you when the registration process begins.
Can you recommend a caterer?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of local caterers and restaurants that deliver.
What are the best times of day for events?
We suggest 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., or 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our students are accustomed to these hours for information sessions, and are also familiar with the locations on campus where the sessions are hosted.
How do I notify students about events?
We want to help you promote your event. We suggest that you email us an announcement sharing a brief overview of your company, a link to your company's website and a description of your available positions, along with the details of your visit (date, time, location). Students registered on Handshake will be notified of this information via email.
What if I just want to hold an event for graduate students or a specific club?
On-campus recruiting is open for all students to attend/participate. You are welcome to specify degrees required for the positions posted within your company. However, we do not exclude any students from attending information sessions. When you are ready to publicize, you may state the required qualifications and, at the same time, candidates of interest.
How do I change my On-Campus Recruiting dates? What sort of timeline do you recommend?
If you wish to change your OCR dates, please log into your Handshake account, locate the posted event or position you wish to change and click on schedules. From there, you will be able to make revisions to your resume submission/end dates, preselect to open for interview schedules, as well as open and close dates. Alternatively, you may email the dates/timeline changes to email@example.com and we will implement these changes.
Where are you located?
Our office is located on the third floor of the Center for Student Services, 414 S. Holliston Ave., building 86 on the campus map.
Post Jobs and Internships
Our online recruiting platform is called Handshake. Through Handshake you can post jobs/internships, register for our career fairs, arrange info sessions on-campus, or schedule on-campus interviews with our students. You can find more information about creating an account below, or by visiting our Handshake page.
All jobs are subject to approval and may be denied.
To Get Started on Handshake:
- Click this link- https://caltech.joinhandshake.com/employer_registrations/new
- Fill out the profile as completely as possible.
- Access your email to confirm your e-mail address by clicking the link (the Email Confirmation message may take up to 5 minutes to arrive in your inbox)
- Your account request will be expeditiously reviewed and you will get a second confirmation email once approved (“Your access request to California Institute of Technology has been approved”).
- Then you may log in using your same company e-mail at: https://app.joinhandshake.com/login and post your job opening!
*** PLEASE WATCH THIS QUICK 2 MINUTE VIDEO FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO POST A JOB OR INTERNSHIP: https://support.joinhandshake.com/hc/en-us/articles/221565247-Video-How-to-Post-a-New-Job
Hire a Summer Undergraduate Intern
Internships give employers a head start on recruiting top Caltech talent. In dynamic, quickly evolving industries, Caltech interns offer fresh perspectives straight from cutting edge laboratories. These students are primed to take the problem-solving skills they have honed at Caltech and put them to work for you.
Is your organization thinking about developing an internship? Does your organization have an internship position you want advertised to Caltech students? Connect with the Career Development Center to help you navigate the process of developing an internship, promoting your current opportunity, and gain access to top Caltech talent.
What is an Internship?
- Internships are typically one-time, structured work experiences related to a student's career coals
- Involve a student working in a professional setting under the supervision of a professional in the chosen field
- Typically last 10-14 weeks during the summer
- They are typically full-time
- Promote and enhance a student's career, academic, and personal development
Importance of Internships
Employers benefit from offering internships in the following ways:
- Recruit, work with, and screen potential employees
- Hire former interns who are trained and loyal to the organization, resulting in reduced training time
- Fulfill additional staffing needs for temporary positions or projects
- Find highly motivated, energetic, and enthusiastic staff members who can bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to old problems
- Heighten the organization's visibility on campus and enhance the organization's image in the community
Characteristics of Successful Internship Programs
- There is "buy-in" and support at all levels of the organization.
- The program or position is solidly built, with clear goals and well-designed processes for recruitment, orientation, supervision, evaluation, and improvement.
- Interns are given meaningful work experiences and are treated and trained as "real" employees.
- Mentoring is provided to guide students' development.
- Compensation and/or benefits are offered.
- The organization regularly offers internship opportunities and maintains a solid reputation with the university.
- The organization is always looking for ways to improve its internship offerings.
- Opportunities are provided for a variety of majors, putting the focus on a student's career goal rather than major.
Questions to ask when deciding to develop an internship:
- Is there sufficient staff time to supervise and mentor a student intern?
- Are there staff members who want to supervise an intern?
- Do potential intern supervisors have the necessary and appropriate professional expertise to "teach" an intern?
- Are there sufficient resources to have an intern, such as office space and equipment?
- What work and/or projects does the organization need to have done? What can a student learn from the work?
- Would the work you need done be appropriate for a student to do?
- How long of a commitment is appropriate? Is one summer enough?
- What qualifications, such as relevant skills, would be appropriate for the work?
- What time of year is best for listing internship opportunities, selecting an intern, and bringing an intern into your organization (taking into account students' and the university's schedules)?
Identify a Project
Hiring an intern can be a good solution for organizations that have a project to be completed, but not enough staff time to complete it. For example, an intern can redesign an organization's website. The project should be something of value to the organization, but not of such high importance that it would be best handled by a permanent staff member. Interns want to do meaningful work, and employers can use an intern's energy to complete a project that has been put off for too long.
Define the Project
What specifically should the intern accomplish? Elements of the project should be specific and measurable in order to monitor progress.
Identify a Supervisor
Internships are about learning, and a student intern needs guidance from a motivated supervisor. The supervisor should have appropriate knowledge and skills to "teach" the intern, such as knowing how to offer constructive feedback. A supervisor also needs to be available to the intern. Identify a staff member who could work effectively with an intern and with the given project.
Identify Required Skills and Create a Position Description
Identifying the skills needed to complete the project and developing a detailed internship description helps an employer attract appropriate candidates for the internship. A strong position description also helps the CDC assess the best ways to promote the opportunity to students.
Develop Learning Objectives for the Project
To make the internship successful for both the employer and the intern, a specific and measurable learning plan should be developed at the beginning of the internship. Establish specific, measurable objectives for the intern's work: the task to be completed, how it will be accomplished, and how it will be evaluated. Clear communication at the beginning of the internship can help avoid problems down the road.
Orient the Intern to the Organization and the Position
Before the intern's first day, be sure to have their workspace established. The intern should have access to any resources needed to complete their assignments (e.g. phone, computer, etc.). Also, ensure all necessary paperwork is prepared. On the first day, the supervisor should orient the intern to the organization.
- Outline daily operations of the office: phone usage policies, break and lunch requirements, tardiness, etc.
- Introduce the intern to all staff members in the organization.
- Discuss the role, expectations, and specific work standards or procedures.
- Confirm the duration of the internship, salary, attendance standards, etc.
Evaluate the Intern
Regular evaluation is important in the learning process. Providing the intern with feedback allows for adjustments in behaviors and work performance. It also provides an opportunity to assess how well the intern is meeting the objectives established at the beginning of the internship. The evaluation process can be formal or informal, depending on the culture of the organization. In addition to evaluating the intern, it can be useful to allow the intern to evaluate his or her own experience. This can help the supervisor evaluate and make any adjustments to the project and future internship assignments.
Writing a strong position description for your internship opportunity helps you attract the right candidate for the position and helps promote the name and reputation of your organization.
A strong internship position description significantly helps students. Students need to know that the opportunity is appropriate for their background and interests. It also helps students with resume development, cover letter writing, and interview preparation.
A strong internship position description also helps the CDC promote your opportunity. A position description is required for posting the opportunity on Handshake. In addition, a strong description assists in marketing the information about the opportunity to appropriate student populations.
Elements to include in an internship position description:
- Position title (be descriptive, don't just use "intern")
- Name of the organization/company
- Company and/or department information (function, mission, etc)
- Location (city, state)
- Work responsibilities and activities
- Qualifications/requirements (required skills, knowledge areas, class level, coursework, etc)
- Approximate duration (number of weeks and expected start/end dates)
- Compensation (note: Caltech does not offer academic credit; All internships must be paid positions to be submitted on Handshake.)
- Application deadline or indication that position is open until filled
- Contact person
How do I post a summer internship?
All internship positions must be posted on Handshake in order for the Career Development Center to market the opportunities. For tips on what to include in the posting, refer to “Writing an Internship Position Description” or contact the Career Development Center.
Can my company offer an unpaid internship? Can a student receive academic credit for an unpaid internship?
No, Caltech does not have a formal program for providing academic credit for internships. In order for a position to be posted on Handshake, the internship must be a paid position. For additional information regarding internships and compensation, refer to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Position Statement on Internships.
When is the best time to post my internship on Handshake?
Many organizations recruit during the fall and winter terms for summer hires to ensure a strong applicant pool. Starting early allows more students to apply and gives organizations a chance to fully screen applicants.
For consistency, try to maintain a predictable recruiting schedule. For example, knowing that your organization will recruit summer interns during the winter term allows the CDC to prepare students in advance and build awareness of the opportunity year round.
How should I market my internship opportunity?
The first step in marketing your internship opportunity is to create a compelling internship position description that allows students to see the benefit of working for your organization and the skills they will gain.
You can also create a flyer to be distributed via email and posted around campus. Be sure to include the application deadline and Handshake job ID number. Contact the CDC for assistance.
The best way to meet prospective intern candidates is by attending on-campus events, such as career fairs, information sessions, networking events and hosting on-campus interviews.
I posted my internship on Handshake, but I would like to receive more applicants. How can I increase the applicant pool?
It is important to note that creating a brand on campus takes time. You may notice that after a few cycles of internship recruitment, your internship postings may receive more applicants. Students share their internship experiences with their peers. Over time, your internship program may gain traction and popularity, resulting in a larger talent pool for your organization.
I would like to extend a return offer or full-time offer to a current intern. Does CDC have guidelines surrounding this?
According to the Principles for Professional Conduct established by NACE, "Employers are expected to provide students with a reasonable amount of time to make decisions about accepting an employment offer. [Employers] are also expected to provide students with a reasonable process for making such decisions. In addition, it is improper for employers to impose undue pressure on students regarding acceptance of job offers, including pressure on the student to revoke their acceptance of a job offer from another employer."
The CDC encourages employers to allow students to fully participate in on-campus recruiting (OCR) opportunities before making a decision. For that reason, we request that students are given until one day past the end of that term's recruiting cycle to make a decision or two weeks, whichever is later, to respond to job offers.
In keeping with an interdisciplinary mentality, Caltech undergraduate students are required to take a core curriculum with classes in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, humanities, and social science. The breadth of the core curriculum prepares students to analyze and solve problems across a wide variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. Students typically declare an option (major) by the end of freshman year, begin to specialize as sophomores, and concentrate on their chosen fields as juniors and seniors.
Research opportunities are plentiful at Caltech, and approximately 75% of students will participate in undergraduate research. The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program provides grants for students to work on research projects with professors, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Over 350 students participated in this program last summer. Many undergraduates also participate in research during the year as part of a faculty member's research group or for class credit.
The Honor Code, embodied in the statement "No member shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community," is a central part of campus life, applying not only to academic endeavors, but also to extracurricular activities, interactions among students, and relationships between students and faculty. The Honor Code contributes towards the trusting, open environment that exists on campus; collaboration is encouraged on problem sets, and most exams are take-home or are not proctored.
Students become members of one of the eight Houses during a selection process at the beginning of freshman year. The Houses offer students a close-knit community environment, and each has its own unique culture and traditions. Each House is run by its own elected student government.