As first year MPA and MPP students are keenly aware, our masters programs require an internship. Typically, this component is completed in the summertime between the first and second years of study. Why is it important to complete an internship?
Internships can help you explore your passions. You may have a few ideas about what kind of work you want to pursue after you complete your degree. Internships are a great way to get your hands dirty in your field of interest– you may be surprised by what you like or do not like!
Internships can make you more competitive. Experience matters. An internship can provide you with the opportunity to hone your skills, observe what others are doing to be successful, and provide you with great networking resources. In fact, Dr. Jennings points out that many students get their first professional job directly from their internship experience.
Finding internships and then securing them can be challenging. Below are a few tips:
- Determine where you want to be. Do you want to intern in Lexington over the summer, or do you want to intern elsewhere– Washington D.C., other local governments, abroad?
- Set job alerts on internship search engines so that the internet does your work for you! Utilize the list at the end of this post to get started.
- Get educated on the landscape of your field. Identify organizations, associations, agencies that could have internships you would be interested in or would post them for other organizations. Check back regularly, or…
- Network! The Martin School provides lots of opportunities for you to connect with alumni and community members. Utilize those opportunities to the fullest.
NASPAA has some great tips and resources for finding internship opportunities. This includes a job search engine on their sister-site, PublicServiceCareers.org.
USAJOBS is the place to find jobs or internships for the federal government. This is a prime place to create a job alert, since positions may be posted and removed quickly.
Idealist.org lists opportunities in the non-profit sector for both internships and jobs.