Maxwell-in-Washington LogoStep 1: Plan Ahead

The process for securing an internship is identical to the professional job search process. In both instances, position seekers must prepare accordingly to develop an approach to ensure that  In an internship can take as long as finding a full-time job.

On this page, we will talk about how best to prepare your schedule and application materials for a successful internship and career search to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. 

Internship Search Schedule

Much like the career search, the search for an internship may begin up to a year before starting, particularly for federal or international opportunities requiring a lengthy bureaucratic or security clearance process. The table below presents a general timetable to help plan a successful internship search. Please note that timelines may vary from organization to organizations and it is recommended that students contact individual organizations for more specific deadline information. 

Internship Search Schedule Table

Preparing Application Materials

In many cases, internship solicitations will require the following (1) A resume or curriculum vitae (CV), (2) a cover letter or statement of interest, and possibly (3) a professional writing sample. 

As these materials are prepared, candidates should consider the specific strengths and skills that fit the needs of the organization. This consideration helps to tailor application materials for specific positions and increases the potential for success. 


A high-quality professional resume summarizes a candidate's education, experience, and qualifications for a designated position. A successful resume will earn an interview, but not necessarily be enough to secure a position. The Maxwell School's Center for Career Development's Professional Development Guide provides guidance on crafting a professional resume and can be accessed at

Curriculum Vitae

International opportunities often require the creation of a Curriculum Vitae , a longer document normally associated with research and instructional positions. The Maxwell School's Center for Career Development's Professional Development Guide provides  guidance on crafting a CV and can be accessed at

Writing Samples 

Many organizations, particularly at the internship level, will request writing samples. These samples attest to a candidates writing ability, but can also serve as testament to a candidate's subject-specific knowledge. The Maxwell School's Center for Career Development's Professional Development Guide provides guidance on selecting writing samples and can be accessed at

For more detailed resume tips and suggestions, please consult the Center for Career Development's Professional Development Guide and the graduate degree services provided by Syracuse University Career Services

Next Steps

Once initial preparations are complete, potential candidates should begin sector-specific research.

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