Internship Guide

Internships give you the opportunity to explore careers, develop your skill set, apply classroom theory into real-world of work situations, and grow your professional network - all while earning college credit!

Benefits for Students

An internship will assist you:

  • Acquire marketable employability skills
  • Build your resume
  • Expand your professional network
  • Increase your advancement opportunities
  • Apply classroom theory into the real world of work

What interests you?

Before you search for an internship, ask yourself the following:

  • What are my current skills and talents?
  • What sets me apart from other students?
  • What steps have I taken to prepare for an interview?

Paid vs. Unpaid Internships (Volunteer Work)

The Work Experience Education Office is committed to advocating for student paid internships to elevate economic mobility. In some cases, employers or agencies, such as local non-profits, may still provide meaningful entry-level positions or internships that can assist students in earning work experience and building their resume.

Checkout this great article from Handshake on the benefits of working for experience, or for pay, at your next internship. 

Note: Students who participate in an unpaid internship or volunteer position must enroll in a Work Experience Education course to obtain liability protection through College of the Desert's liability protection during the enrolled session. A copy of this certificate is available upon request, once you have secured an unpaid internship or volunteer position.

You may reference the Department of Labor Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act and provide a copy to the internship site before engaging in an unpaid internship. 


Getting Started

Use the following resources to find an internship today!

Access Your Handshake Account

Handshake Logo

College of the Desert's Handshake platform is completely free to all students and alumni. You will be able to connect and apply for internships, on and off campus jobs, and career opportunities! 

Once logged in, you will have access to view the Events tab to participate in in-person and virtual events hosted by the Career & Workforce Solutions Center and the Work Experience Office. 

Note: Events with the COD logo titled "Premier Events" are the only eligible EDGE/PlEDGE workshops that count towards your free tuition program requirements. 

To Log Into Handshake

  • Visit Handshake and log in using your MyCOD credentials OR
  • Activate your account through your Student Portal using your MyCOD credentials and click on the Handshake log-in button

Download the Handshake App

Take the job search with you. Download the Handshake App.



The Work Experience Office works in collaboration with the Career & Workforce Solutions Center (CWSC) to assist you in preparing for your interview and crafting a winning resume. Use the following resources and prepare to make great first impression!

The best way to prepare for your interview is to practice. Your interviewer will likely ask about your experience, skill set, and why you are the best fit for the internship. 

Visit the Career and Workforce Solutions Center to schedule your mock interview with a Career Counselor and/or attend a workshop. Workshops include:

  • Effective Job Search Strategies
  • Resume Writing for Success
  • Ace Your Next Interview
  • Professional Etiquette
  • Networking for Results
  • And more!

Log into Handshake under the Events tab to view events and register. Workshops are offered during fall and spring semesters.

Interview Tips

  • Arrive on time
  • Dress appropriately 
  • Be mindful of body language (shake hand, make eye contact, smile, do not slouch)
  • Bring copies of your resume and cover letter
  • Be ready to speak proudly about yourself
  • Be ready to answer questions related to the position and related field
  • Ask questions
  • Always end with a Thank You and smile

Are you struggling to find a meaningful internship on Handshake? It's time to consider expanding your search and use additional resources. 

Visit the links below to learn about other internship opportunities and eligibility requirements. Alternatively, you may use this Internship Request Letter Template to reach out to a potential employer. 

Internship Websites

Job Websites

Networking with local business is one of the best ways to find out if they offer or may consider establishing an internship. Not all local employers are currently utilizing Handshake to post jobs or internships. Perhaps they have never considered an internship position - and the first internship can begin with you!

If you are interested in interning at a local agency, research their website, contact information, and give them a call. 

If they have never hosted an intern nor have any established relationships with College of the Desert's Work Experience Office, please connect us to them! We'd be happy to explain the internship process and documentation needed. 

Alternatively, you may direct them to our Employer Resources page for steps on how to set up an internship. 

Make sure you attend the on-campus Fall and Spring Career and Job Fair. Check the Events tab in Handshake to stay up-to-date on the next one!

Local Off-Campus Job Fairs

Many are hosted by individual companies or Chambers of Commerce. Be sure to follow them on social media and check their websites for upcoming job fairs and networking events. 

Search local community non-profit organizations throughout the Coachella Valley. Yes, you can earn college credit for your volunteer position by enrolling in a Work Experience course!

Benefits of Volunteering

  • Networking - volunteering connects you to others.
  • It's great for both mental and physical health being of service to others who may be less fortunate.
  • Can help you advance your career, teach you valuable job skills and add boost your resume!

Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity

There a numerous local non-profits searching for volunteers year-round. Things to consider when looking for a meaningful volunteer position that will fulfill you and your career development:

  • What group do you prefer working with: children, elderly, adults, animals, etc.?
  • Do you prefer a small or large-scale working environment?
  • How much time are you willing to commit based on your school schedule and other responsibilities?
  • Does the non-profit align with your values?
  • Do you see yourself volunteering temporarily or do you see yourself transitioning into a paid position within the same agency?

Where to Find Volunteer Opportunities

Local Volunteer Opportunities

Review the Volunteer Opportunities List created by our plEDGE Program. 


Send a Follow-Up Thank You Note Post Interview

Sending a follow-up thank you note to a future employer shows genuine interest in the position you are applying. A thank you note can be handwritten or send electronically. Remember - make a lasting first impression!

Effective After Interview Thank You Letter Samples


Got the Internship or Volunteer Position? Congratulations!