Several Semesters before the Internship
When you are a freshman, sophomore, or junior, you should think about what sort of job or career you might enjoy going into after you graduate. Do not think about this as a "I have to decide what I am doing for the rest of my life" sort of decision. Think of the internship as your opportunity to explore an area of professional writing in a professional context. Do you enjoy writing manuals? Do you have a knack for web design? Do you want to write articles for magazines or blogs? Are you interested in how professional writers (or how the skills professional writers posses) work in law, medicine, or other fields? Take classes that are interesting to you and feed your curiosity. Make sure you also take ENGL 219 and ENGL 290, which are offered every Fall and Spring semester.
The Semester before the Internship
Start to put together a resumé highlighting your experiences and qualifications. Your ENGL 219 textbook will have several examples of resumés. There are also good tips on writing a resumé from webkits like the Grammar Girl. The Internship Director is also a resource to you as you compose your resumé, feel free to make an appointment and bring a draft of your resumé to him for comments.
Once you decide to participate in the Internship
Congratulations! Make sure you register for ENGL 499 immediately, and start looking around for internship opportunities. You may want to check out the following:
- Contact present interns with positions you find interesting and ask them how they acquired those opportunities.
- Contact the University of New Mexico's Office of Career Services and search their Job and Internship Opportunities
- Contact organizations of businesses that you find interesting and ask if there are any internship opportunities available. (Seriously, this actually works).
- Check out our list of internship opportunities that students have had some success with.
You do not need to have an internship lined up by the first day of ENGL 499, although it certainly helps. You will be required to have an internship by the third week of ENGL 499 in order to gain credit for the course. Feel free to contact the Internship Director at email@example.com if you are struggling with finding a placement.
The Semester of your Internship/ENGL 499
Make sure you attend the first session of ENGL 499!
At your internship, you must identify an Internship Mentor. This individual is usually your immediate supervisor. Your internship mentor must provide me with two memos:
The first Memo of Understanding (MOU) acknowledges that you are working as an intern and gives some overview of the tasks you are expected to participate in and/or complete (I should receive that memo (inception memo) ASAP, if I do not already have it). Please ask the mentor to be specific in describing (albeit briefly) what sort of work you may be expect to perform, what you may be asked to write, and forecast some of your responsibilities. Even something as simple as “Catherine will be expected to reply to emails from customers, generate some content for our website, and present a status report to the board of directors…” helps me understand the work you expect to perform in this internship.
The second memo shall come at the end of the semester and acknowledges completion of your internship or completion of work up to a date after the midterm of this class. The second memo (completion memo) is not necessarily an evaluation, although most mentors will praise your work. Both memos should be emailed as an attachment from your mentor.
At the beginning of your internship you will also provide an inception memo giving me your understanding of the expectations for your internship. You should share your memo with your mentor. This memo from you should also be provided as soon as possible after the class begins. (Not providing the required documents may be reason for not passing the seminar.)
I would like to, if possible, come for a site visit at your internship at some point in the semester. I would like to see where you work, perhaps meet your mentor, and get a sense of the context of your internship experience. This is not a requirement, but if we can make the schedule work, I would appreciate 15 to 30 minutes to “see you in action.” We will talk more about this as the semester continues.
As always, if you have questions about this process, you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.