Getting an Internship

The six-week internship is a critical component of the Washington Term Program. Students are responsible for securing their own internships but receive support from both Professor Connelly and the Career Development Office in their search. After students are accepted into the program, they are expected to spend the rest of the fall term working with Career Development to polish their resumes and cover letters, practice their interviewing skills, and apply to relevant internships in the D.C. area. The search continues in January. Students are expected to consult with Professor Connelly on a regular basis throughout the Winter Term; he will monitor their progress and verify the quality of the internship they secure. Past Washington Term students have successfully landed political internships in a wide variety of executive, legislative, judicial and private sector offices.


10 Tips for Getting an Internship

  1. Define your goals and objectives. What kind of internship do you want? Where (local, DC, state) and with whom?
  2. Construct a well organized and concise resume and cover letter. Career Development can help with this step.
  3. Develop a list of targets and contacts. Targets are places and/or people for whom you would like to work. Contacts can range from relatives and friends to representatives and officials from your home state. Also, don't forget W&L alumni.
  4. Send your resume and cover letter out.
  5. Follow up to make sure your resume was received and arrange for a personal interview or meeting. It is important to be persistent, so that your resume does not get lost on the bottom of the pile.
  6. Have any or all of your connections call on your behalf. A good recommendation can help your resume get to the top of the pile.
  7. Before the interview, research the agency or member. Also, keep up to date on current issues facing the office (national and local if possible). See the Almanac of American Politics or Politics in America. Read Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report or National Journal.
  8. After the interview, write thank you notes, call, or if possible, stop by and personally thank the office for giving you the chance to interview.
  9. Continue to stop by and call. Persistence is the only way your resume will not get lost. Do not hesitate to bring by another copy of your resume each time you visit the office.
  10. Treat your internship search like a job or a class. Do your homework, set aside a specific time to work on it, and most of all, be persistent.  

Questions? Please feel free to contact Lorri Olan with the Career Development Center.