Internships: Applications, Interviews, and Other Tips

March is an important time for summer internships. There are many deadlines that are for March 1 and March 15. Some of the internships in our Winter Break Internship Newsletter over on Compass are still available, and we’ve been posting LOTS of internships on our Facebook page! Here are some tips on applications, subsequent interviews, and other important things to do to make sure you land the perfect summer internship.


1.Apply early! If you wait until the last minute to apply, you might be at the bottom of the resume stack.

2.Make a checklist for the required application materials. Make sure you send the employer everything they ask for. Some employers will not even consider your application unless you provide the materials they ask for. Common internship application components include:

  • Resumes
  • Cover Letters
  • Transcripts
  • Writing Samples
  • References

3. Be formal. Dress up for your interview–even if it’s through Skype. Iron your dress suit. Treat this interview seriously. For cover letters or emails, make sure to address employers as Mr., Ms., and Mrs. Use appropriate email subject lines if communicating via email. Examples of appropriate subject lines for internship applications and correspondence:

  • John Doe Application Materials for Summer 2018 Internship at XYZ Company
  • John Doe Resume, Cover Letter, and Writing Sample for Summer 2018 Internship
  • Summer 2018 Internship for XYZ Company – John Doe

4. Send a thank you note after your internship interview! Even if you think the interview did not go that well, send a thank you email and a written thank you note. You would rather be the applicant who sent the thank you note instead of the only applicant who did not send the thank you note.


  1. Do a mock interview before your real interview! The Career Center offers mock interviews. This is a great opportunity to practice with someone who can give you constructive feedback. For more information about the Career Center’s mock interviews, click here.
  2. Phone interviews and Skype interviews are very common for first round or preliminary interviews. Make sure you have a quiet environment to conduct your phone interview. If your dorm or apartment is going to be distracting or loud, book a study room for your phone or Skype interview. For information about reserving a study room through the University’s library system, click here.
    1. If you decide to do a Skype interview at your dorm or apartment, be careful of what is in the background of the video. Clean up your space and take a picture from your webcam to see what the interviewer will see. Do a practice interview over Skype with a friend to make sure you know how to use it and it works.
    2. Dress up for your Skype interview. Treat this interview as a formal interview. Wear a suit!
  3. Make copies of your application materials and bring the materials to your interview. Bring at least three paper copies of your resume, cover letter, and transcript to an in-person interview.

Other Tips- Utilize campus resources!

  1. The Career Center hosts great events for finding an internship. Their next “Finding an Internship” workshop is Tuesday March 13. For more information about that event, click here. 
  2. Make sure you are registered to use Handshake@Illinois. This resource helps connect you with employers looking for interns and other full time jobs. To register, click here. 
  3. Get resume tips and get your resume reviewed. The Career Center offers tips for writing a resume. The Career Center also offers resume reviews.

Featured Internships – These have March 15 deadlines, so apply soon!

  1. U.S. Department of Education–Washington, D.C. The Department of Education Intern Program seeks to provide students with an experience that exposes them to government and federal education policy while providing students with meaningful responsibilities. Applicants for the ED Intern program will be accepted throughout the year on a rolling application schedule. Applications need to be received at a minimum of a month before the proposed start date to be considered, however, it is highly recommended that applications
    are submitted much further in advance due to high demand for spots in the program (especially during the summer season). No application will be considered complete until three items are received by ED: a cover letter; an up to date resume; and a copy of the intern application (located on the website below). For more information and to obtain a copy of the application, go to: Application Deadline:
    March 15. Questions? Send an email to
  2. Internship with Senator Tammy Duckworth. A Congressional internship offers a unique opportunity to witness and experience first-hand the legislative process as well as assist in helping your representative or senator represent the citizens of Illinois. Click here for internship information about Senator Duckworth’s internships.  The application deadline is March 15.
  3. The Wolff Internship with the Institute of Government & Public Affairs is a PAID internship starting in the summer and going through the next academic year. Applications are due March 9. 

(Further Reading) Helpful Past Blogs About Internships

  1. Still making summer plans? Here’s what to do now 
  2. The 2017 Internship Newsletter is Live on Compass!