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Internship and Job Search

Starting Your Internship and Job Search

Starting your search for an internship or job can be very exciting, but before you begin, it is important to develop a strategy.

Creating a Plan

Think about what you want to gain from your experience, your interests, the fields you plan to explore, and the skills you currently have and want to develop further. This will help narrow your search to be more concise and tailored toward your specific needs.

After understanding what you wish to gain from your internship or career, examine open listings and see common requirements in your field of interest. Do many positions look for strong interpersonal skills? Writing skills? Proficiency in computer programming? Using the descriptions within these listings, you can tailor your resume to reflect those skills.

Some further important questions to consider in planning are:

  • Will you be receiving compensation for your internship? Academic credit? If you are receiving academic credit, remember to complete any necessary paperwork from your academic department before moving forward.
  • Are you able to balance work and academic responsibilities during the semester?
  • Do you have reliable transportation?
  • For jobs, are you planning on working part-time or full-time?

Although the criteria for post-graduation careers may differ slightly, the same planning principles still apply.

Lastly, the Career Center is an excellent resource when starting your internship or job search with. Schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor on Handshake to discuss how you wish to move forward in your career path.

Gathering Your Resources

After creating a plan and determining what types of internships or jobs you want to apply for, it is time to gather your resources! This means checking if your resume is updated, knowing who you can contact for references and recommendations, creating a cover letter, and gathering more information on different companies and organizations.

Applying for Internships and Jobs

An excellent place to look for internships and open positions is Handshake! Handshake is TCNJ’s recruitment program allows students and alumni to apply for positions. This is a great start for your internship and job search. Furthermore, look on LinkedIn for open listings as well. Building your connections on LinkedIn and using that as a starting platform can open you up to thousands of available positions. Your academic department also has resources on internships and jobs, so ask faculty and look on department websites for information.

If you know which organizations or companies you want to work for, look on their websites for openings. A good tip is to follow companies you are interested in on social media to see if they tweet or post about available positions or events in your area.

After figuring out where you want to apply, it is time to apply! Read what skills the position is looking for, and what the job will require, and make sure your resume highlights those aspects! If you have technical skills and the position requires strong technical skills, include that in your resume! Drawing these connections helps you stand out when employers are reading your resume. For more tips on resumes, check out our Resumes page under Students/Alumni. After your application, you may be asked for an interview! For more advice, go to our Interviews and Job Offers page.

Things to Consider and Know About Internships

If you are considering an internship during the school year, you must fill out an Internship Enrollment Form and submit it to the Office of Records and Registration.

Long-Term Internships

  • The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that applies the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the employer’s operations or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  • The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  • There is routine feedback from the experienced supervisor.
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

Paid and Non-Paid/Academic Internships

If an internship is non-paid, the student should be receiving Academic Credit. Please note that if your internship is paid, a student may also receive academic credit, which may be a graduation requirement within their academic department. The Academic Department determines if the internship meets the requirements for credit. Upon approval by the Academic Department, students may complete the necessary forms found at Records & Registration. Non-Paid internships must meet the above criteria and will be reviewed by the Career Center Staff before placing in Handshake, the online recruitment system.

Below are some resources from each school to help you get started on your internship search.

Department of Labor and NACE Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines by the Department of Labor and NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Department of Labor Guidelines

NACE International Students and Unpaid Internships

7 Points of Internship Compliance (for Employers)

Wages and Hours Fact Sheet (for Employers)

Available TCNJ Internships

The Summer Community Leaders Program

The Summer Community Leaders Program is an 8-week summer internship program. This program is co-sponsored by the Career Center and the Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research.


On-Site Concerns

The Career Center is available to assist/counsel students experiencing difficulties at an internship site. Please contact the Career Center, x2161, and ask to speak with the Associate Director, or email the Career Center at for more information.


The Career Center
Roscoe West Library, Room 102
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628

Staff Directory
Office and Resumé Open Hours

Office temporarily relocated to Forcina 4th floor