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Finding an Internship

Finding an internship might seem a bit intimidating, but follow the process outlined here and you will have a good set of opportunities from which to choose. 

A process to follow:

  • Decide what kind of internship you want. That means both type (environmental, financial, diplomatic, educational, etc) and venue (government, non-profit, private). CAPS students should look for a China-related internship.
  • Use a variety of resources for ideas and potential internships. Start with 10-15 possibilities. Some of the major resources include:


General Search Engines

Cornell in Washington internship database (for active applicants and accepted students)

Career Beam (for Cornell students and alumni)

Idealist Well known site for non-profits and associations




Government Agencies

USAJOBS: Internships, Pathways Program
Open positions in many agencies. Includes a section for students and recent graduates

U.S. Government Manual
Is comprehensive in its information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the U.S. Federal Government. Includes information on quasi-official agencies, and other Federal boards, commissions, and committees. Includes organizational charts and contact names for major divisions.

Political, policy and non-profit professionals.

Hillzoo (Capital Hill opportunities)

The House Vacancy Announcement and Placement Service

The Senate Employment Bulletin

US House of Representatives



United States Institute of Peace: International Organizations (last updated in February 2017)

World Association of NGOs (WANGO): Worldwide NGO Directory

NIRA's World Directory of Think Tanks



Other Resources

DC Public Affairs + Communications Jobs  Blog site with interesting useful nuggest to be mined

Public Affairs Council National site with useful resources

American Foreign Service Association offers an extensive list of resourses and organizations for students interested in foreign service

Internship Programs For Minority and Black Students for 2018

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Washington Information Directory: Comprehensive list of non-government and government organizations. Click "Finding an Internship" tab.

Center for Prision Reform List of organizations working on topic

StartGuide List of leading US progressive Organizations National list but easy to work through to find DC based organizations

CUeLinks: A university-wide online networking platform where community members can connect with the people and resources they need to achieve their academic, career, and personal goals. Knowledge seekers (students) can connect with knowledge sharers (alumni or peers) to share information.


  • Need help knowing what to do next? Cornell Career Services offers many workshops and events to introduce you to the process of applying to a position and following up.
  • Be sure to personalize the cover letter for each internship. That means demonstrating that you understand what the organization does and how you would like to fit into that effort.
  • Send your cover letters and resumes to the internships. Use the organization’s web site to find a specific contact for internships; if one is not listed, try to find someone who is connected to the area in which you are working. Be sure to inquire first if the latter happens. Organizations may have a preferred method of delivery (mail, fax, email). Be sure to use that method. Include a copy of the CIW program description.
  • A week later, contact the internships to ensure that they’ve gotten your application. Do this by phone if possible.
  • While you wait, continue searching for other possible internships.
  • When you get an offer, make sure to ask what you’ll be doing and who will be supervising you before you decide whether to accept. Do not accept more than one offer.