GET A JOB OR EXPERIENCE
Experiential learning encompasses a wide variety of enriching opportunities for students, including service-learning, volunteering, student organization leadership and campus involvement, faculty-led research and projects, experiential study abroad, student employment/work-study, cooperative education, and internships*.
Source: “A Definition and Criteria to Assess Opportunities And Determine the Implications for Compensation,” National Association of Colleges and Employers
The Stony Brook University Career Center offers more than 2,000 internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students every year. This section of our website contains information and resources to assist you in identifying and securing this important aspect of your university experience.
Types of Internships
Internships can be paid or unpaid, full time or part time, with academic credit or not, and occur during the semester or during the winter/summer breaks.
Includes hourly wage, stipend, travel allowance, or even a salary. Compensation reflects the policies and practices of the organization and industry culture, not the quality of the candidate.
Often the norm in some industries, nonprofits and public service agencies. Some corporate employers do offer unpaid internships, but be careful – for-profit organizations have a responsibility to pay interns if the position meets federal guidelines.
Internships for Credit
Some academic departments at Stony Brook require an internship; others may allow you to count your internship for credit towards the major. Credit-bearing internships require faculty sponsorship and require academic work to earn a grade, which is noted on your transcript.
A faculty sponsor is NOT necessary for a non-credit-bearing internship.
Stony Brook University expects its students to be in good academic standing before endorsing a student’s application for an internship. It is unwise for a student to expect that an internship will replace a course requirement or be undertaken solely to remain a full-time student.
An internship (full time/part time) is a real world experience related to your career interests. It may, but does not have to be, related/connected to your academic major or minor. Internships (credit and non-credit) can be done during the academic semester and/or summer. Students at Stony Brook University can register for credit through their department or through the Career Center.
"It is too early for me to think about internships. I’m not a junior/senior yet."
I t is never too early to think about internships. In fact, there are internships that exist solely for freshmen and sophomores. With a faculty sponsor, sophomores can earn EXT 288 credit for approved internships.
"An internship requires long hours and will conflict with school."
During the academic year, part-time internships with flexible hours are the norm. An internship can range from 4 hours per week during the semester to 40 hours per week during breaks.
AT-A-GLANCE ELIGIBILITY requirements for EXT 288 & EXT 488
GPA minimum = 2.5
For EXT 288: Completion of DEC A and at least one semester at Stony Brook
For EXT 488: Completion of 57 credits prior to start of internship
TRANSFER STUDENTS: You MUST MEET with your ACADEMIC ADVISOR for degree progress review. Your academic advisor will confirm that you meet eligibility requirements and will discuss with you how the internship contributes to your degree progress.
JOINT DEGREE applicants: You must discuss with faculty in your UG & GR departments to determine if credit will apply towards your graduate or undergraduate degree.
Internships For Credit
Most academic departments at Stony Brook have an internship course for their majors. For example, business majors would register for BUS 488, psychology majors for PSY 273 or PSY 488, environmental studies majors for ENS 488, English majors for EGL 488, journalism majors for JRN 488, etc.
The University limits the total number of all internship credits to 12.
Students who are engaged in a career-related internship outside the major department may also apply for credit (e.g. a PSY major with a marketing internship). To receive academic credit outside your major department, you must still have a faculty sponsor, but you will register for a Career Center EXT course.
EXT 288 Internship: This is a sophomore-level course designator that is used by faculty to endorse a lower-level internship experience. This course is not repeatable. Prerequisites: Minimum GPA 2.5, one prior semester of attendance at Stony Brook, completion of DEC A, first course; acceptance by a faculty sponsor, permission of appropriate department and the Career Center. 0-3 credits, S/U grading
EXT 488 Internship: This course is used to support upper-division internships. It may be repeated. Prerequisites: Minimum GPA of 2.5, U3 standing; one prior semester of attendance at Stony Brook, acceptance by faculty sponsor, permission of appropriate department and the Career Center. 0-6 credits, S/U grading
* EXT 288, as a lower division course, does not satisfy EXP+; only EXT 488 satisfies EXP+
Credit vs Non-credit Internships
Student earns academic credits (typically 1 – 6) and may incur tuition charges (e.g. summer)
Internship may be paid or unpaid
Requires well-defined position description
Internship must be approved by the University
Academic departments approve their own internships
Career Center approves EXT 288/488 internships
Student secures a faculty sponsor
Credit requires 4 hours per week for each credit hour (3 credits=min of 12 hrs per week)
Specific agreement forms, midterm & final evaluations
Graded: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or letter grade and included on official university transcript
Greater commitment for employer & student
Student does not earn academic credit
Internship may be paid or unpaid
Requires well-defined description
No review/oversight by the University
No faculty involvement
No minimum hour requirement
No agreement form required;
No grade or transcript notation
Commitment may vary
Registering for Internship Credit
Handshake is the Stony Brook University employer database, containing thousands of employer records. Handshake is the first resource you should use to identify employers and apply for internships. Hundreds of opportunities are posted every semester.
In fact, Handshake is used for ALL employment – part-time jobs, work-study, on-campus employment, community service positions, gap-year opportunities, and full-time post-graduation positions. For help using Handshake, stop by the Career Center during business hours.
The mission of the Stony Brook University Career Center Cooperative Education Program, in partnership with employers and faculty, is to provide students with paid, degree-enhancing, professional work experience.
Benefits of co-ops:
- Encourage student growth by providing opportunities that link classroom theory with world-of-work practice in various industries
- Empower students to make informed career decisions and move toward achieving an advantage in a competitive job market, while earning academic credit
- Provide the practical foundation needed to gain admission to the top graduate schools
How does a Co-op Position Differ from an Internship?
While an internship may be paid or unpaid, a co-op position is always a paid position and students are required to enroll in an academic course for variable credit. Co-ops are high-level positions that allow students to directly apply what they have learned in their coursework and gain industry experience.
Co-op Structures & Registration
Structure of Co-op at SBU
Parallel Co-op Program
Stony Brook’s co-op program is a parallel program (not alternating). During the academic year, students will be enrolled as students full-time and co-op part time. Summer and winter breaks will be free for full-time co-op.
- Students may participate during any academic semester (P/T) and summer/winter breaks (P/T or F/T).
- Duration: co-op requires a minimum of two work terms, but could extend to multiple semesters.
- Co-op is closely integrated with the course curriculum, and has faculty oversight with academic credit (0-6).
- Time commitment: 4-20 hr\ours per week during an academic semester; 4-40 during summer/winter break.
Traditional Co-op Program
SBU students are eligible to participate in a traditional co-op opportunities. Students interested need to verify their academic requirements with a specific academic department, campus housing and financial aid eligibility.
Please see Financial Aid & CO-OP document for more details on resources for students considering co-ops.
- 57 credits completed
- GPA: 2.5 minimum for undergraduates
- Enrolled at SBU for at least one semester before co-op
- Final approval is pending employer and faculty standards
Registering for Co-op
Co-op is always tied to academic credit. Requesting academic credit for your co-op means that you are willing to do the academic work necessary to earn the credit. You will set academic goals for your co-op with your faculty sponsor, and the degree to which you meet those goals will be evaluated and graded.
To register your co-op for EXT credit:
- Obtain a FACULTY sponsor (the Career Center can help you identify someone).
- Report your internship on Handshake following the steps outlined here for Spring 20018.
If you have any questions about registration for a credit-bearing internship or co-op, please call Urszula Zalewski at 631.632.6810 or email Urszula.Zalewski@stonybrook.edu .
- Develop a resume that will effectively present your interests/experience to prospective employers.
- Register your co-op with the Career Center to obtain permission to receive credits and enroll in a course .
- Make every effort to adhere to your employer's work standards and employment policies (for example, dress codes, rules regarding attendance, lunch hours, breaks, etc.)
- Carry out your responsibilities competently and professionally.
- Provide a hands-on learning environment.
- Provide supervision for the co-op student.
- Provide challenging positions with increasing levels of responsibility.
- Provide appropriate training.
- Complete mid-semester and final evaluations.
- Equitably compensate students.
- Periodically review and discuss student progress.
- Work with employers to develop learning outcomes.
- Provide academic oversight during the co-op term.
- Review student progress throughout the co-op term.
- Prepare students for success prior to the co-op experience.
- Be available for consultation if problems arise.
· Debrief student & employer experiences at the end of the co-op term.
Timeline to Apply
The recommended timeframe to search for a co-op is listed below. Following these recommendations will ensure there is ample time to secure the co-op opportunity, and allow you to stay competitive in the pool of candidates. Some employers recruit much earlier than others.
For a Co-op During
Fall Semester (September - December)
March - April
August - November
Spring Semester (February - May)
October - December
Summer Term (June - August)
January - April
Handshake is the first resource you should use to identify employers and apply for co-ops.
For help using Handshake, stop by the Career Center during business hours.
- Hundreds of student employment positions on campus: student assistant, graduate assistant, federal work-study, research assistant, and more
- Collaborations with more than 360 academic and administrative hiring departments
- Handshake: application and recruiting database where students search and apply for on-campus positions: <Jobs & Internships<Job Type<On Campus Student Employment
- Training and professional development workshops
- Meaningful learning and development opportunities
- Enhanced student employment practices across the campus
For more information, see the On-Campus Student Employment website. With additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service-learning integrates classroom instruction and reflection with meaningful community service to enrich the learning experience and strengthen communities. The Career Center connects employers with academic and administrative departments to work with students on projects that benefit the agencies and community. Some exemplary SBU service-learning projects are coordinated with several community agencies and students from the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences, College of Business, Campus Residences and others.
There are a variety of ways employment can meet your needs throughout your career development. Depending on your career interests, financial needs or time available you may be interested in searching for employment ranging from seasonal to permanent. All year round students and alumni of SBU can find positions in Handshake to suit their employment needs.
Gap-year opportunities are experiences that take place after graduation, often before applying or attending graduate school. Gap-year opportunities can foster professional, academic, or even personal growth.
View and apply for employment and gap year opportunities in Handshake!
Student groups are a great place to build skills. You do not have to be the President of a student organization to build leadership skills. There are over 400+ student organizations to meet a variety of interests, ranging from cultural to professional and everything in between.
Please note: College students across the US continue to be targeted in a common employment scam. Scammers advertise phony job opportunities on college employment websites, and/or students receive e-mails on their school accounts recruiting them for fictitious positions. This " employment" results in a financial loss for participating students.
While the Career Center vets each and every employer and job posting in Handshake, some of these scammers have been very sophisticated in finding a way into the system with fake emails.
For this reason, we are asking that you contact us immediately if you are suspicious about any employers that may reach out to you, or jobs you have applied to on any site, not just Handshake.
Handshake is Stony Brook’s job database for students and alumni. It is innovative, intuitive, and mobile!
- Search for all types of jobs, including part-time and full-time employment, gap year, student employment positions, internships on/off campus and volunteer opportunities
- Become eligible for campus interviews and resume referral
- Track your job search, including job listings for which you have applied
- Send your resume to employers
- Receive e-mails about upcoming career events
A demo video is available within Handshake - you can login to view it and learn more.
If you need help, of course, you're always welcome at the Career Center! You can also call us at (631) 632-6810, or email us at email@example.com.
Connect with employers from various industries to uncover the information you want and make a good impression on those with the power to give you a job!
Take advantage of the many networking opportunities the Career Center offers each year!
Alumni Networking Mixer (Annual Spring Semester Event)
Career Advisors Networking (CAN) Program
Use multiple resources
- We strongly encourage all students and alumni to use Handshake to search for experience. Over 24,000 positions were posted in Handshake during the 2016-2017 academic year. You’ll also want to take advantage of additional resources to help maximize your search efforts. You can view additional resources below under Employer Search Resources and Additional Resources.
- It’s never too early to begin searching! If you find something you are not yet qualified for, you can work towards developing the necessary skills and apply in the future. Make sure to save the information for future reference.
- How long a position is posted for can depend on a few different factors including the deadline the recruiter has to meet, the length of the recruitment process, and how many applications are received.
Save job descriptions
- Internet links can change or expire. Saving or printing job descriptions not only helps with preparing your written materials but also with interview preparation and organization of your search process.
- You can create a spreadsheet or any other method that you prefer to track your applications. Staying organized during your job search helps you to see where you have applied and prioritize deadlines that are approaching first.
Sharpen your resume & cover letter
- Your written materials are the first thing a recruiter sees. Find out more about resume and cover letter preparation and review here.
Save your documents with appropriate titles
- The last thing a recruiter needs is a file titled ‘resume.’ All documents submitted should have clear and concise titles. Ex. Resume of John Doe - Company - Position; Cover Letter of John Doe - Company - Position
Manage your internet presence
- Recognize how you represent yourself via social media and the internet. Design your presence to reflect how you want to be perceived by a recruiter. You can find out more about building your brand here.
- Understand and know the industry and field you are applying to.
- Buzzfile (access with your @stonybrook.edu email)
- Vault Career Insider (access for free from the top of any page on our site)
The following databases are accessible with your NetID and password through the Stony Brook University Libraries:
Exploration Through Experience
Experience can help you to learn more about who you are, what you like and what you do not like. Whether or not you have a specific career path in mind, experience will help you to try new things, build skills and learn about yourself. From entry-level employee to experienced professional, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow.
Build Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are skills and abilities that can be applied in various settings and throughout different experiences. These skills will continue to develop as you progress in your career. They are useful across industries and professions, meaning they will never go to waste!
Have What Employers Look For
Increase the competitiveness of your application by building experience! Understanding industry expectations and needs can help you identify experiential opportunities to pursue. Find out what employers are looking for through on-campus employer events and through career communities!
Professional associations exist across industries and help to connect professionals to others in their fields, as well as to help support the progression of the field. Professional associations offer a variety of resources including networking opportunities, industry requirements and recent publications. Many professional associations offer discounted memberships to students.
Some examples of professional associations include:
This job board aggregates listings from hundreds of other services, including ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Monster.
- InternShop : Fill out one application and be automatically matched with paid internship opportunities across New York State.
- Looksharp : Internships, entry-level jobs, and resources for the job seeker.
- MindSumo : Not just a job board, MindSumo allows students to take part in employer-created challenges - for example, proposing the next great condiment or a more efficient way to sort objects - to win prizes and get their ideas in front of recruiters.
- SimplyHired : Job and internship listings of all types, company database, tips for job seekers, and more.
- New York Jobs : Positions throughout New York State.
- Vault : Thousands of jobs and internships posted daily, in addition to industry & company information and career development tips.
- Youthire.org: Youthire.org connects local residents with Stony Brook University students to perform temporary, short-term odd-jobs. There will also be listings for part-time and permanent employment situations. Registration with the website is free and is required before you can apply for jobs..
Weeks Leading Up To The Event
If you want to leave employers with a good impression, you’ll want to make sure that you have a polished resume that demonstrates professionalism and experience. If you do not have a resume, begin by creating a rough draft. ( Consult our resume writing guide for some advice on this initial step!) Once you have a resume, go to Handshake to make an appointment, then visit the Career Center to have it reviewed by a staff member. You should have your resume critiqued early. This will give you time to polish and review it. Remember, the closer it gets to the job fair, the longer the wait to have it reviewed!
Log on to Handshake to view the list of companies attending the job fair and the positions they are hiring for. Make a list of the companies you would like to meet and prioritize them in order of importance to you.
Also, download the Career Fair Plus App (on the App Store and Google Play Store) for a complete employer listing, interactive floorplan, event details, tips, and announcements!
Research is essential; you want to show that you are passionate, knowledgeable and interested in the company! Each company listing will include a website where you can find information on the company, work atmosphere, and client base. Make a list of important points and questions for each employer. (HINT: You don’t want to ask questions that you could have answered yourself by doing research beforehand).
A comprehensive, well-executed job search includes learning about potential employers. This learning should come before you apply for positions.
Why is it Important?
Researching employers is important because you want to find out which organizations have the types of positions that you are interested in. It’s also important to know what makes these organizations different from one another, which best align with your values, which are the most successful based on your criteria, how they operate internally and within their respective industries, how they treat their employees, and what these organizations are looking for in prospective employees—all this information enables you to tailor your resume to meet the organization’s needs.
Researching employers requires planning. This section of the website is here to show you one way to organize your research.
Find out which organizations exist in your preferred industry.
- For example, if you are interested in the communications industry and specifically in public relations, you want to find out: Who are the top companies in PR? The largest? The most well known? Then, who are their competitors? Mid-size or smaller PR firms? Are there communications companies with PR divisions? If you have a specialization or preference (e.g. PR in a specific industry like health care), you must identify organizations in your specialty area and find out if they have PR departments or if they outsource that function to agencies.
To find companies, you can use:
- Vault Career Insider - access for free from the top of any page on our site
The following databases, accessible with your NetID and password through the Stony Brook University Libraries:
- Hoover’s Academic Database
- Vocational and Career Collection
- Business Source Complete
- Business Insights: Essentials
- LexisNexis Academic
Use these tools to learn about companies’ functions and structure. ( Hoover’s Academic Database allows you to search for employees, too, so that in the future you might contact these professionals and request informational interviews.)
- On LinkedIn, you may be able to learn more about the types of positions that open up, who fills them, and what those people think is important in the industry, based on the articles they post.
- Many organizations use Facebook to highlight their achievements or advertise themselves to those who like their pages. You can compare different organizations’ Facebook posts to determine which you think have the better overall online presence and marketing campaigns. You can also qualitatively evaluate which types of achievements - which were once projects - you would rather be working on. The information on Facebook, it should be noted, does not cover everything that an employer does, but should be thought of as a snapshot of the organization.
- Organizations use Twitter to promote their goods and services, attract more customers, and create an overall brand. By paying attention to an organization’s Twitter feed, you may come to know what that brand is. By knowing the brand, you can really begin to differentiate between two competing organizations, in a way that is more substantial than simply knowing how many employees each hires per year.
Organizations use all social media to manage their images in some way. Because of their online presence, social media can be another tool for you to use while analyzing the pros and cons of potential employers.
After you have identified a list of potential organizations and investigated more deeply into their missions, values, products, services, locations, fiscal health, etc., you can narrow things down to a manageable list of your target employers. We suggest that you have at least 35 organizations to begin with, but that could increase fourfold if you are open to multiple industries and professions. Depending on the size of the industry you are looking into, the number of organizations per industry on your list could be larger or smaller than 35.
Research takes time – many hours, in fact – but your investment into learning more about your target industry and the companies within will benefit you a great deal as you apply and interview.
Once you feel that you have collected and analyzed enough information to decide which organizations you want to work in, you can begin looking at job postings, continue to network, and submit your applications. Good luck!
Prepare your 60-second commercial. This is a brief introduction to give to an employer when you first meet. While it isn’t necessary to memorize a speech word for word, having an idea of what you will say to employers will enable you to approach them with confidence and poise. Come up with a commercial at least a few days before the event; this will give you time to rehearse it until it sounds natural. A good example of a 60-second commercial is below.
Sample 60-Second Commercial
How are you? My name is Jennifer Chang. [Handshake.] It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m a SBU student currently majoring in business management. I will be graduating in May 2016. I’ve heard wonderful things about your company, and I’m interested in applying for your internship program. May I give you a copy of my resume? As you can see, I already have experience at Target and Canon, and in those positions, I developed my leadership, communication, and organization skills more fully. I’m confident that I could apply those skills as an intern at your company, and I hope you’ll consider my application! Again, it was so nice to meet you, and I hope to talk with you again soon. By any chance, do you have a business card that I could take with me?
60-second commercials are brief introductions that help the employer get a sense of who you are. Things you could possibly include are your educational background, skills, strengths, and accomplishments, job focus, and career plans.
**This example is for reference only. Visit the Career Center to polish your own commercial!
Note: Digital guides are now available for all of our job & internship fairs! You can access them via the Stony Brook University's Career Fair plus app on any mobile device or tablet.
The Day Before
Make sure that you have several copies of your resume printed out. Ideally, you should have your resume printed on high-quality paper. You can purchase this at any store that sells office supplies, or you can have the UPS Store on the ground floor of the Melville Library print your resume on resume paper for a fee.
Review your resume, your 60-second commercial, and the list of companies you have researched. Make sure you can recall the questions you have prepared for each employer.
Lay out your clothes and pack your briefcase/bag. Business casual or business professional attire is required for SBU job fairs. For example, visit this here.
Mentally prepare yourself for the event. Aim to make a great impression, but maintain a positive mindset of outcome-independence to avoid becoming overly anxious. Get a good night's sleep.
At the Event
Be confident! You want recruiters to remember you. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly confident on the day of the event, convince others (and yourself!) by using positive body language. Walk upright, speak clearly, project your voice, enunciate, and make eye contact with everyone you speak to. Don’t slouch, avert your eyes, fold your arms, or mumble; it’ll make you seem distracted and unprofessional.
Give yourself time to calm your nerves. Don’t go to the company at the top of your list first; warm up beforehand by approaching employers lower on your list of priorities.
If you happen to be waiting in line to talk to an employer, don’t waste valuable time talking to your friends. Stay focused. Read some brochures to learn more about the company while you are waiting. This may give you a few more talking points, it might impress the employer, and it will help keep you focused.
Greet the employer with a firm handshake and a smile. Display your interest by being attentive and asking them the questions you have prepared. Make sure to exchange contact information before concluding the conversation with a handshake!
Take breaks if needed. Sometimes it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Step to the side, collect your thoughts, and get ready for the next employer. If you need help, just look for a Career Center staff member in a red shirt.
After the Event
Make sure to follow up properly with any employers you spoke to. Whether through email or LinkedIn, reach out to them within 24 hours to solidify the connection you made at the fair. Send a polite, concise message saying that it was a pleasure to speak with them at the event, and that you look forward to hearing from them in the near future. As an alternative, you might consider sending a personalized thank-you note. Either way, following up with an employer is the polite thing to do and will reiterate your interest in the company.
If you need any more advice, visit the Career Center to speak with a counselor or to attend a Preparing for the Job Fair workshop. Good luck!
Company: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Job title: Volunteer Board Member
AFSP is an organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, primarily by creating a culture that’s smart and informed about mental health. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, with the highest overall rates belonging to adults ages 40-59. AFSP seeks to combat the statistics by funding scientific research, educating the public and advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide.
Company: Children's Defense Fund
Job title: Servant Leader Intern
Major: Spanish Education and TESOL
Go for it! Find as many opportunities that entail what you're looking for and go for it! Apply —even if you don't think you could get the position. Look for opportunities outside your comfort zone and go for it. Pushing yourself will not only improve you, but will give you incredible opportunities and experiences you can't get any other way.
Company: St. Jude Children's Hospital, Department of Oncology, Pediatric Oncology Education
Job title: Summer Research Intern
Major: Health Science
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Beyond the Classroom Experience Report