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"Thank you so much. I will be working on a cruise ship starting in January."
Danvine Miscloweitz

"I worked for a producer for the last two months and enjoyed my experience. I learned a lot. I had to go back home but have dreams of working in the Hollywood someday."
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"I was recently accepted for an internship with a law office in Los Angeles this summer. I am very excited to start!"
-Mila, US Student

 

Internship Terms



The most important part of getting an internship or career is understanding how the process works, as well as being familiar with the language and vocabulary of different internship opportunities and application processes.

First, internships can have a number of different names. In some cases, particularly in fields that use "hard skills" like construction, architecture or carpentry an internship might be called an "apprentice" meaning that instead of using internships, students will take on "apprenticeships." Other fields might use the term "service learning" or "fellowship." Below are more detailed definitions of each of these terms:
  • Apprenticeships-- An on-the-job training opportunity, usually an essential element of learning a trade.
  • Accomplishments-- These are the achievements you have had in your career. These key points really help sell you to an employer -- much more so than everyday job duties or responsibilities.
  • Assessments--These tests ask you a series of questions and try to provide you with some sense of your personality and career interests.
  • Business Dress-- Business dress refers to the stand dress code for most businesses (although it is important to note that every business does things a little differently). Generally, business dress is slacks and button-down shirts for men (usually with a tie) and skirts and blouses for women. Sometimes business dress will mean suits. Business casual is slightly more dressed down, with khakis and polo shirt being acceptable. Jeans are becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace, but should only be work if a supervisor specifically says it's okay.
  • Background Check-- Used by employers to verify the accuracy of the information you provide on your resume or job application -- and beyond.
  • Benefits-- An important part of your compensation package, and part of the salary negotiation process. Note that every employer offers a different mix of benefits. These benefits may include paid vacations, company holidays, personal days, sick leave, life insurance, medical insurance, retirement and pension plans, tuition assistance, child care, stock options, and more.
  • Career Activist-- Someone who is proactive in planning, evaluating, directing, and controlling his or her career rather than simply reacting as situations arise.  A career activist has an enduring interest in understanding and achieving his or her full career potential, while maximizing career marketability.
  • Career Branding -- Helps define who you are, how you are great, and why you should be sought out. Branding is your reputation. Branding is about building a name for yourself, showcasing what sets you apart from other job-seekers, and describing the added value you bring to an employer.
  • Career Coach -- Also called career consultant, career adviser, work-life coach, personal career trainer, and life management facilitator. These professionals have been likened to personal trainers for your life/career, serving the role as your champion, cheerleader, advocate, mentor, partner, and sounding board on all issues related to your job or career search.
  • Co-op Program-- a partnership between a college and a company in which a student takes classes and is paid to work off-campus for that company, doing something related to the classes being taken.
  • Criteria: standards, measures, or expectations of a student to qualify for an internship.
  • Career Fair-- There are many types of job and career fairs -- from those scheduled during Spring Break for college students to industry-specific fairs for professionals -- but they all have a common theme: a chance for a company to meet and screen a large volume of potential job candidates while simultaneously an opportunity for job-seekers to meet and screen a large number of employers.
  • Career Objective-- An optional part of your resume, but something you should contemplate whether you place it on your resume or not. It can sharpen the focus of your resume and should be as specific as possible -- and written in a way that shows how you can benefit the employer.
  • Career Passion -- One of the most important elements of personal happiness is being passionate about your career and your job. If you no longer have -- or never have had -- personal and professional fulfillment from your job, there is always time to discover a career for which you do have passion.
  • Career Planning -- The continuous process of evaluating your current lifestyle, likes/dislikes, passions, skills, personality, dream job, and current job and career path and making corrections and improvements to better prepare for future steps in your career, as needed, or to make a career change.
  • Career Vision Statement -- A set of career goals that a job-seeker sets for the long-term, typically five years or more. The purpose of a career vision statement is to give you a clear direction for the future; it is a vision that has been committed to paper to guide you in making future choices.
  • Cold Call -- When a job-seeker approaches an employer (usually through an uninvited cover letter) who has not publicly announced any job openings.
  • Compensation Package -- The combination of salary and fringe benefits an employer provides to an employee. When evaluating competing job offers, a job-seeker should consider the total package and not just salary.
  • Contract Employee -- Where you work for one organization (and its salary and benefit structure) that sells your services to another company on a project or time basis.
  • Corporate Culture -- The collection of beliefs, expectations, and values shared by an organization's members and transmitted from one generation of employees to another. The culture sets norms (rules of conduct) that define acceptable behavior of employees of the organization. It's important for job-seekers to understand the culture of an organization before accepting a job.
  • Counter Offer/Counter Proposal -- A salary negotiation technique used by job-seekers when a job offer is not at an acceptable level. Almost all elements of a job offer are negotiable, including the salary, non-salary compensation, moving expenses, benefits, and job-specific issues.
  • Cover letter: A cover letter is a one-page document that acts as a "supplement" to your resume or CV when you are applying for an internship and should always accompany your resume when you contact a potential employer.
  • Declining Letter -- A letter sent to an employer to turn down a job offer. The writer should keep the door open in case he or she would like to approach the employer again someday.
  • Degrees & Certifications -- Recognition bestowed on students upon completion of a unified program of study, including high school, trade schools, colleges and universities, and other agencies.
  • Dissertation-- a research paper or other documentation that presents the student's research and findings in writing. At the end of many internship programs, students are required to write dissertations.
  • Electronic Resume (or E-Resume) -- A resume that is sent to the employer electronically, either via email.
  • Elevator Speech -- A  15- to 30-second commercial that job-seekers use in a variety of situations (career fairs, networking events, job interviews, cold calling) that succinctly tells the person you are giving it to who you are, what makes you unique, and the benefits you can provide.
  • Email Cover Letter -- A cover letter that is sent to the employer electronically via email.
  • Employment Gaps -- Are those periods of time between jobs when job-seekers are unemployed, either by choice or circumstances. Employers do not like seeing unexplained gaps on resumes, and there are numerous strategies for reducing the impact of these gaps on your future job-hunting.
  • Follow-Up -- An often overlooked and critical part of job-hunting. In the early phases of searching for a job, job-seekers must be proactive in showing continued interest in all job leads -- contacting employers after you've submitted your resume.
  • Fellowship-- A fellowship is similar to an internship, and is a work and/or research (often academic) experience that lasts for 1-2 years. In some parts of the world, the term fellowship is used in place of internship. Fellowships are generally more structured and competitive than internships, and professionals at all levels might apply.
  • Fall Internship-- an internship that typically takes place between the months of September and November
  • Fellow--a student who is the recipient of a fellowship award.
  • Freelancer/Consultant/Independent Contractor -- Where you work for yourself and bid for temporary jobs and projects with one or more employers. Freelancing is not an alternative to hard work, but many people enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and satisfaction of working for themselves.
  • Franchising -- A legal and commercial relationship between the owner of a trademark, service mark, brand name, or advertising symbol (the franchisor) and an individual or organization (the franchisee) wishing to use that identification in a business.
  • GPA--an acronym for Grade Point Average; a measure of a student's academic achievement in most high schools, colleges, and universities
  • Graduate Student-- a college student that has received his/her Bachelor's degree and is seeking to earn a Masters or Doctorate degree.
  • Grant--monetary aid provided by an organization, corporation or government agency that's typically designed for a student to conduct research at school, but sometimes can pay for a student's tuition and books.
  • Grantor-- an organization, corporation or government agency that grants money to students or colleges.
  • Hidden Job Market -- Only about 5-20 percent of all job openings are ever publicly known, which results in about four-fifths of the job market being "closed," meaning you can't find out about any new openings unless you do some digging. Strategies for uncovering the hidden job market include networking and cold calling.
  • Home-Based (Work-at-Home) Careers -- Numerous opportunities exist for job-seekers who want more control over time and work, who want job flexibility to spend more time with family -- by working from home. Unfortunately, this area is also one that has the most potential for scams and other fraudulent activities.
  • Informational Interview-- An informational interview is an interview with someone who has a career that you'd like to know more about. These interviews do not necessarily lead to employment or an internship, but are a great way to figure out if a certain field might be right for you, and to find out more about the types of internship opportunities that would be available at that company or in that field.
  • Intern-- a student who accepts an internship.
  • Internship-- A temporary position (part- or full-time) that emphasizes skill building and on-the-job training.
  • Job Application -- Sometimes also referred to as an Application for Employment. Many organizations require you to complete an application (either to get an interview or prior to an interview). Even though many of the questions duplicate information from your resume, it is extremely important to complete the application neatly, completely, and accurately.
  • Job-Hunting Etiquette -- There are certain rules or protocols that should guide a job-seeker's conduct while job-hunting. Some people call these rules good manners, but more refer to them as business etiquette.
  • Job Satisfaction -- A term to describe how content an individual is with his or her job. It includes many factors, including the work itself, value to the organization, impact on organization, compensation, and more. When workers are very unhappy with their jobs, they suffer both mentally and physically.
  • Job-Search Domino Effect -- States that five key phases comprise any good job search, and if you ignore any one of them or conduct one poorly, the likelihood of a successful job search decreases dramatically -- just as if you pulled a domino out of a row of dominos.
  • Job Shadowing-- Job shadowing is a short term placement with a professional, where a student spends so time following the professional in their daily tasks This can be another great way to get some ideas for internships before actually applying.
  • Key Accomplishments -- An optional part of your resume, but one that is growing in use -- especially with scannable (text-based) resumes. This section should summarize (using nouns as keywords and descriptors) your major career accomplishments.
  • Keywords -- Nouns and noun phrases that relate to the skills and experience that employers use to recall resumes scanned into a database. Keywords can be precise "hard" skills -- job-specific/profession-specific/industry-specific skills, technological terms and descriptions of technical expertise, job titles, certifications, names of products and services, industry buzzwords, etc.
  • Letter of Acceptance -- Used to confirm the offer of employment and the conditions of the offer; i.e., salary, benefits, starting employment date, etc. It is always a good idea to get the entire offer in writing.
  • Letter of Agreement -- A brief letter outlining the conditions of employment. Whether initiated by the employer or the candidate, it is always a good idea to get your entire offer in writing. Sometimes is form-based or may even be an employment contract.
  • Letter of Recommendation -- A letter of support for your skills, ability, and work ethic, usually written by a former boss or co-worker, but could also be from a teacher or personal reference. Good for applying to graduate school, but seen as fairly worthless in job-hunting because no one who would write you a recommendation letter would say anything negative about you.
  • Major-- the area of focus for a student who is attending college. Various majors include: Business, Psychology, Engineering, etc.
  • Mentee-- a student who is under the guidance of a more experienced professional. A mentee can often be referred to as an intern.
  • Mentor-- a professional who is training and guiding a student who desires to build his/her career. Many internships are designed for the student to have one or more mentors.
  • Minor-- the secondary area of focus for a student who is attending college.
  • Minority-- a student who is African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or who belongs to any other ethnic group. Sometimes, women of all ethnicities are considered to be minorities as well.
  • MBA Internship -- An opportunity for full-time MBA students, generally the summer between the first and second year, to gain critical work experience. Many employers use MBA internships as a critical recruiting tool -- as a three-month trial in which MBA candidates have a chance to participate on key project teams, network with numerous executives, and make a name for themselves within the organization.
  • Moonlighting -- The experience of working multiple jobs (also referred to as dual or multiple jobholding). People working multiple jobs come from just about every demographic group. Appears to be on the rise.
  • Networking -- Involves developing a broad list of contacts -- people you've met through various social, professional, and business functions -- and encouraging them assist you in looking for a job. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. See also social networking.
  • Non-Paid Internship-- an internship whereas the student is not compensated
  • Offer of Employment -- An offer by an employer to a prospective employee that usually specifies the terms of an employment arrangement, including starting date, salary, benefits, working conditions.
  • Overqualified -- A label employers often use on mid-career job-seekers who appear to have one of three flaws: too many years of experience, too much education, too highly paid in current or previous job.
  • Paid Internship-- an internship whereas the student is paid a salary for their work. Paid internships can offer hourly compensation or weekly stipends.
  • Passive Job-Search -- A strategy where employed workers stay prepared for new job and career opportunities by maintaining a current resume, continuing to network, staying registered with one or more job-search agents. You are not openly on the job market, but keep an interest in new possibilities.
  • Personal Mission Statement -- Helps job-seekers identify their core values and beliefs. Writing a personal mission statement offers the opportunity to establish what's important and perhaps make a decision to stick to it before we even start a career. Or it enables us to chart a new course when we're at a career crossroads.
  • Portfolio Career -- A situation where instead of working a traditional full-time job, job-seekers work multiple part-time jobs (including part-time employment, temporary jobs, freelancing, and self-employment) with different employers that when combined are the equivalent of a full-time position. Portfolio careers offer more flexibility, variety, and freedom, but also require organizational skills as well as risk tolerance.
  • Recession Job-Hunting -- While certainly not the best time to seek new employment, job-seekers with solid experience and a well-developed job-search plan can obtain job offers. The key to job-hunting in a recession is the amount of time that must be put into preparation and the actual job-search. Furthermore, because the hiring process is typically stretched to extremely lengthy periods, successful job-seekers must have both patience and persistence.
  • Recruiters/Headhunters/Executive Search Firms -- Professionals who are paid by employers to find candidates for specific positions. They often recruit candidates, but job-seekers can also approach them. Often specialize by industry or geographic region. Avoid any firms that require you to pay for their services.
  • Reference List -- Sometimes also referred to as a Reference Sheet. Simply a listing -- with key contact information -- of your references. Never include references on your resume or cover letter; they should be listed on a separate references sheet that matches the look of your resume. Never provide a list of references to an employer unless you are requested to do so.
  • References -- A group of people who will say good things about you and who know specifics strengths that you offer. Can include work references (current and past supervisors), educational references (former teachers or school administrators), and personal references (who can speak of your character). Always ask people before including them as a reference for you.
  • Researching Companies -- The process of gathering information about a company, its products, its locations, its corporate culture, its financial successes. This information is extremely valuable in a job interview where you can show off your knowledge of the company, and can also help you in writing your cover letter.
  • Resigning/Resignations -- When you decide it's time to quit your job (also referred to as giving notice), it's always better to submit your official resignation -- with your industry's customary amount of notice. Whenever possible, do not leave on bad terms with your employer.
  • Résumé-- a one or two page document that contains a brief summary of a student's relevant job experience, education, skills, references and more.
  • Scholarship --money awarded to a student to pay for college tuition and/or books. Scholarship awards are usually given to winners of a competition, such as an essay competition. However, sometimes they are given to students who maintain a high GPA or complete an internship program.
  • Stipend-- a sum of money allotted to a student who is participating in an internship program. Stipends are usually paid on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
  • Spring Internship-- an internship that typically takes place between the months of March and May.
  • Summer Internship-- an internship that typically takes place between the months of June and August.
  • Salary History -- Some employers will request that you submit a salary history. A salary history tells them the level and frequency of your promotions. It should be separate page from your resume or cover letter. Be sure to include the full compensation you received in each job, not just salary information. By providing a salary history, you sometimes place yourself in a precarious position of either pricing yourself out of the position or appearing to be at a lower level than the company seeks.
  • Salary Negotiation -- An extremely important process in which job-seekers attempt to obtain the best compensation package possible, based on skills and experience, the industry salary range, and the company's guidelines.
  • Salary Requirements -- Some employers may ask you to state the salary you require for a specific job opening. You've got to be careful here. If your salary requirement is too high, you won't get an offer. If it's too low, you won't get what you're worth. The best strategy is to state that you're open to any fair offer and are willing to negotiate.
  • Social Networking -- A process for helping make connections with other people, developing a personal career "brand" identity, and maintaining a good online reputation. While social networking has traditionally involved meeting people in person, social networking now also includes networking through Websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. The key success of any social network is not just the people you know -- or whom you are friends with -- but also with all the other people they know.
  • Service Learning-- Service learning is blend of classroom learning and community service. This differs from an internship in that service learning rarely offers a paid position, and spends a significant amount of time in the classroom
  • Survival Job -- Typically a low-end, low-paying job that a displaced job-seeker takes on a temporary basis (often as a last resort) to cover basic living costs, in order to survive and avoid bankruptcy -- or worse.
  • Telecommuting -- Is an employment arrangement where the employee works one or more days from a remote location, often an office in the employee's home. For job-seekers seeking increased job flexibility and reduced commuting times and costs and for employers seeking a better balance of morale and work efficiency.
  • Temping -- Working short employment stints with a variety of clients, usually through a temping agency or staffing firm. Previously temps were mostly administrative, but job-seekers can now find temping agencies covering most professions. Temping is great for building resume, learning skills, networking -- and job flexibility and variety.
  • Thank You Letters -- After every interview, you should send a letter thanking each person who interviewed you. It's just common courtesy, and only a small percentage of job-seekers actually perform this crucial ritual, so you'll stand out from the crowd.
  • Underemployed -- A person who is not working full-time at a level that matches his or her education, experience, and other qualifications. Someone who is working part-time, but seeks full-time employment; or, someone who is working in a lower-level position that requires less experience or skills (thus making the person overqualified for the position).
  • Volunteering -- Offering your services free of charge, typically to a not-for-profit organization. Some college graduates volunteer right after college before starting their careers, which job-seekers considering a career change can use volunteering work as a great tool to gain experience in a new career field, as well as establish new networking contacts.
  • Workplace Values -- Concepts and ideas that define a job-seeker and influence your satisfaction -- not only with your job, but with your life. Job-seekers should perform a values check every few years to make sure your career is on track.

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