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Before you begin your search for an internship, think about what you want to accomplish and how different industries, businesses, or internships may be able to meet your need. Having both an open mind and clear goals is the best way to find the perfect internship.

As your first step, list your goals in order of priority. Keep them in mind as you start to explore opportunities. Not only will this help you to find the right opportunity, having clearly defined objectives will also impress potential host organizations during the application process. Please also remember to check our industry-specific guidelines - you'll find these under Eligibility on the Internship USA page.

Questions to consider

  • Are there specific skills you want to work on or professional knowledge you want to acquire?
  • Are there specific companies you would like to intern or train with?
  • What kind of organization do you want to intern or train with? Nonprofit or for-profit? A big corporation or a small company? Is the type of organization more or less important than the type of training you will receive?
  • How long will you be able to stay?
  • Are you looking for an internship or training position in a particular city or location?

Before You Start Applying

Narrow your search Using the questions listed in “Questions to Consider” (above), narrow the scope of your search to companies of a specific size, in a specific industry, or in a specific location. Make sure you choose companies that align with your long-term goals and your professional interests.

List places you would like to live Internship USA, Professional Career Training USA, and the 1-Year Graduate USA Visa Program are about much more than just gaining professional experience; they are also about having a life-changing cultural experience. As such, you should choose an internship or training position located in a city, state, or geographic region that interests you—whether that is the high-energy atmosphere of New York City or the more laid-back coast of California.

Make a list of companies to contact After you’ve given it some thought, make a list of companies to contact. At this point you are ready to send out your cover letter and résumé.

Searching for Opportunities Finding an internship or training opportunity is not all that different from finding a job. You should conduct your search accordingly.

If you have already made contacts in your chosen industry or field, you might already know of a company that partners with a U.S. firm to offer internship or training opportunities. Or you may have heard about American businesses offering internships or training positions in your discipline. If so, reach out to these contacts and/or companies.

There are also many other ways to find a U.S.-based internship or training position:

Ask friends, family, and mentors Many successful careers have been launched with a simple conversation. Someone you know may in turn know about an opening or may have connections with companies in the U.S. who would be happy to help. This kind of personal networking is an important professional skill that’s well worth developing. It can lead to opportunities now and in the future.

Use university and community resources Your university or community may have a career center that lists internships and/or training programs in the U.S. It may also provide career counseling. Your professors may also have connections with potential host organizations.

Research business or trade organizations Just about every profession has one or more organizations serving the professional or educational needs of that particular group. These organizations may offer job-finding resources, which might also include international internship opportunities.

Go directly to companies that interest you A visit to the websites of companies that interest you might uncover opportunities that are not listed elsewhere. If no openings are listed, do not be discouraged. Find out the names of the human resources manager and/or the hiring manager, and contact them to ask about whether opportunities exist. You can also learn more about the organization by following it on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

While IST Plus cannot actually arrange an internship for you, they can offer guidance and advice. It is also a good idea to ask us to review any opportunity you find, as some positions might not be eligible for our programs.

Searching Online Make use of online job sites, but look specifically for internship opportunities. Here are a few good places to start:

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash