Gain valuable hands-on experience in your field through participating in internships, service learning, volunteer opportunities, networking, mentorship, and informational interviews.

Table of Contents:

  • Internships
  • Service learning
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Leadership Roles
  • On-Campus Jobs
  • Networking


Internships allow you to test-drive career options, develop important skills and establish relationships with people who may ultimately help you get hired after graduation.

An internship is work experience that is either directly related to your major or career interest. Some internships are paid and some may provide academic credit. Visit the *new* INTERNSHIP HUB for specific information pertaining to internships.

Top 10 Reasons to Intern:

  1. Experience in a field will help you make more educated career choices.
  2. This is your chance to explore careers in different fields or specific areas within your field.
  3. Hands-on experience enhances your academic experience and performance.
  4. You can develop career related skills and demonstrate them for future employers.
  5. A significant percentage of surveyed graduates from across the country continue to report that they got their current job because they previously interned for their employer!
  6. Employers prefer candidates with previous work experience.
  7. Gaining professional contacts in the field can help you get hired and get ahead in your career.
  8. Many organizations use internships as extended interviews for full-time employment.
  9. Most organizations will hire successful interns over candidates they have just met.
  10. Many internship positions are paid!

Service Learning

Consider a service learning experience as an opportunity to build your resume and job skills. In particular, your upper-division service learning credit should relate at least to your major if not also to your career interests. Use this experience as an opportunity to network with people that may be useful in your future career endeavors. See the volunteer section on the Center for Community Engagement website for information on local opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you find yourself in need of more experience related to your field in order to get hired in a position that you want, volunteering may be an option. Volunteer experience related to your career interests enables you to gain valuable experience and polish your skills. Volunteering is also a great way to make contacts with people in the industry and network your way into paid opportunities. See the volunteer section on the Center for Community Engagement website for information on local opportunities.

Leadership Roles

Gaining leadership skills will enhance your resume and prepare you for the world of work. CI offers a variety of ways to develop leadership skills. Visit the Student Engagement and Applied Leadership Center to find out more.

On-Campus Jobs

Working on-campus can give you great experience performing in a professional environment. This may mean that you get to build general office skills and prove that you can manage your time and be responsible. In addition, there are many opportunities that may help you gain specialized experience in your field and build key relationships with professional staff and administrators. For more information regarding on-campus employment, please visit our Jobs & Internships page.

Networking & Finding Mentors

Starting your career takes a lot of hard work. Let your Dolphin family support you! Join CSUCI's online mentoring and networking community, Dolphin Connect. CSUCI students, alumni, faculty, and staff are coming together to share career advice, find inspiration, and talk openly about the journey from college to career.

Think of it as an in-house LinkedIn where you can filter mentors by major, industry, help topics, and more. You'll also find plenty of resources to help you get started, such as introduction email templates, sample questions to ask your mentors, and how to follow up with a customized 'Thank You' message.

Let's move your career forward. Start a conversation at

Join a Professional Organization

A membership with a professional organization can provide access to job/internship listings, mentorship, professional development, networking, and scholarship opportunities. For a list of professional organizations, visit What Can I do with My Major? or Weddles Association Directory.

Informational Interviews

An informational interview is one of the best ways to identify what organizations are really looking for in competitive applicants. By interviewing someone in your field of interest you will find out tips and strategies on how to enter the field. You will also learn about the challenges associated with the position and get recommendations on how to become a competitive applicant. To setup an informational interview, the first thing you will need to do is conduct research on companies/organizations in your field of interest. Second, you will need to identify potential individuals who you intend to interview. Third, you will need to draft a letter to request the informational interview; see the Informational Interview Guidelines and the prospective cover letter section in Resume Resources for a sample. Lastly, you will need to prepare for the informational interview by developing a series of questions to ask the interviewee. Schedule an Appointment with a Career Counselor to discuss ways to prepare for an informational interview.

Sample Questions:

  • What skills/attributes are important for success in this position?
  • What was your career pathway?
  • What trends have you recognized over the years in this field?
  • What other organizations are you aware of that hire for this position?
  • Which professional associations or publications would you recommend I consult?
  • Do you have any recommendations to make my resume more appealing to employers in this industry?
  • Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering this industry? How does an individual stay competitive in this field?
  • Do you have any recommendations of additional people in this field that I can interview?
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