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Internship Search Checklist

The internship search can feel overwhelming, so it's helpful to break it into manageable steps. The good news is you don't have to do every step in order. For example, you can start working on your resume before you identify what you want to do.

Step 1: Know yourself

  • I have identified my personal strengths, skils, interests, and values. 
  • I have made a list of possible internship titles/fields of interest. 
  • I can name two or three careers/jobs I plan to pursue. 

Step 2: Know where you want to intern 

  • I have researched organizations/companies that might hire an intern with my skills, interests, and background. 
  • I have researched potential career fields: typical internships, volunteer opportunities, best geographic location for internships, etc. 
  • I have identified the top three geographic areas where I'd like to live and work. 
  • I have identified 10+ potential employers for the type of internship I'm seeking. 

Step 3: Get ready for the search 

  • I have had my resume and cover letter(s) reviewed by a professional in the field or by the Career Development Center
  • I have prepared a portfolio or work samples to highlight my expeirence, skills, and talent. 
  • I have developed my "30-second speech" for short encounters with employers. 
  • I have identified three individuals who will serve as references. 
  • I have developed my interview skills. 
  • I have prepared for my interviews by practicing my responses to typical questions. 
  • I have interview attire that is appropriate for the field in which I plan to work. 
  • I have a professional-sounding voicemail message in case an employer calls. 
  • I have a neutral/professional email address to give employers. 
  • My online profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) will not cause "red flags" with employers during my search.  

Step 4: Start searching

  • I have uploaded my resume to Handshake.
  • I regularly check Handshake for internship opportunities. 
  • I have a system for keeping track of my contacts, interviews, and other internship search activities. 
  • I immediately follow-up on every interesting internship lead. 
  • I have developed a list of potential networking contacts and keep in touch with them. 
  • I follow-up each cover letter with an email to the employer requesting a job interview. 
  • I send thank you emails or letters to every person who interviews me. 
  • I am persistent and patient in pursuing opportunities (internship searching take time and effort). 


If you are a non-Caltech student seeking a summer internship, please feel free to use any of the resources that we have provided online, but note that we cannot answer your questions or be of direct assistance to you. You should direct your inquiries to your own school's career development center.