Prepare: Why an internship?

For many employers, good grades and the right college major are just not enough. They seek employees who have paid their dues in the working world. Some of the most important benefits to students include: gain career-related work experience, develop your professional skills and preferences, evaluate a career without committing yourself long-term, expand your professional network, and exposure to workplace situations not typically found in classroom experiences.

Visit the Candid Careers website to explore careers and learn from professionals in a variety of industries.

Interview Preparation

  • You must prepare for the interview. The following steps can assist you in getting prepared:
  • Assess your skills, abilities, interests, personality, values and career goal as it relates to the position.
  • Practice how you will articulate this information about yourself to the employer.
  • Research and learn as much as you can about the position and the organization.
  • Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to practice interviewing. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Review the Questions Asked by Employers.
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer. See the list of questions Questions for Applicants to Ask Employers.
  • Use the services of the Career Development Center to assist you with Steps 1-6 and any other concerns you have in preparing for the interview.

Big Interview is an online tool you can use to practice interviewing at your convenience using a webcam. Watch video tutorials to learn how to tackle the toughest interview questions, then get hands-on practice with virtual mock interviews tailored to your specific industry, job, and experience level. To access Big Interview, go to the "Online Tools" menu on your CareerLINK homepage.

  • Accentuate the positive
  • Select and articulate relevant information for your responses - how can your qualifications benefit the employer
  • Cite examples of past experiences and events to support your responses; share your achievements and accomplishments when appropriate
  • Listen carefully to the question(s)
  • Be clear and concise)
  • Be confident and enthusiastic
  • Be honest
  • Have questions for the interviewer (it shows interest in the position and company)

It is important for you to learn as much as you can about the position. Focus your questions on the position and the company. Remember, the interview is an opportunity to exchange information - the company wants to learn more about you and you want to learn more about the position and the organization in order to make a more informed decision; so it's important for you to ask relevant questions. Although salary is important to know; it is strongly recommended that you not bring up salary until you receive the job offer.

The initial interview may come in the form of a telephone interview. You should prepare and conduct yourself for the telephone interview in the same manner as the in-person interview. However, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind.

  • If there is a scheduled time for the telephone interview, you should be the one who answers the phone. Be professional.
  • Make sure that you are in an area where you will not be interrupted and there are no distractions (i.e. no television, music playing, video games, text messaging)
  • Do not answer call waiting or put the interviewer on hold.
  • Have your resume and other documents with you in case you need to refer to them.
  • You may want to dress as if this is an in-person interview. It helps to keep you in the mindset that this is an interview

A great deal of emphasis is placed on verbal communication in preparation for an interview. However, equally important are the nonverbal elements of communicating. Appearance and body language are essential components of interviewing. The following are nonverbal behaviors that you should be aware of when preparing for and during your interview:

  • Bring a positive attitude; show interest in the position
  • Dress appropriately with careful attention to hygiene and overall appearance
  • Be courteous and polite to all individuals you meet
  • Use a firm handshake, make eye contact, smile
  • Be attentive to questions; listen
  • Arrive to the interview 10 - 15 minutes early
  • Conduct yourself in a professional manner
  • Bring copies of your resume
  • Be prepared to fill out an employment application
  • Avoid using technical devices (cell phone, i-Pod, laptop)
  • Request a business card from each interviewer
  • Thank the interviewer for his or her time; reiterate your interest in the position
  • Send a thank-you note or email to the interviewer(s) within 24-48 hours after your interview
  • Reaffirm your interest in the position

An invitation for a secondary interview indicates that the company is interested in you. Your interview will probably be with the supervisor and others in the department that has the job opening. As with your first interview, continue to communicate your qualifications and skills and what you can do for the company.

Unpaid Internships:

The U.S. Department of Labor established the following 6 criteria in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to determine if an internship or training program can be excluded from the minimum wage requirement.

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

(Note: The FLSA makes a special exemption for individuals who volunteer for a state or local government agency and for individuals who volunteer for humanitarian, religious, charitable, civic purposes to non-profit organizations.)

If you have any questions, please contact the Internship Program Coordinator or call 562-985-5826.

Contact your major advisor in your academic department to discuss possible internship courses or directed study options. Below is a partial list of undergraduate internship classes. The internship courses generally require that you keep a journal of your experience, write a research paper, attend meetings, etc.

  • FMD 492M: Internship in Apparel Design
  • FSCI 492F: Internship in Food Science
  • GEOG 492: Internship in Applied Geography
  • GERN 492G: Internship in Gerontology
  • HCA 480: Internship Healthcare Admin
  • H SC 485: Internship in Health Education
  • HSC 492B: Internship in Health Care
  • HFHM 492J: Internship in HFHM
  • I/ST 492: Internship/ Foreign Study
  • JOUR 498: Internship
  • KIN 494: Exercise Science Internship
  • NSCI 492: Natural Science Internship
  • NUTR 492K: Internship in Nutrition
  • POSC 496: Washington Center Internship
  • PPA 585: Public Policy Administration Internship
  • PT 526, PT 527: Clinical Internship I and II
  • REC 498: Internship
  • S W 495A Field Experience Social Work
  • SOC 495: Internship
  • WGSS 498: Field Work

 Have you been offered an internship and need or want to receive Academic Credit?

(Academic Credit is earned by enrolling and participating in an internship class concurrent with your internship.)

You may be eligible to enroll in the Career Development Center’s Internship Course, “Leadership in the Workplace,” for 1 unit of credit. Review the eligibility criteria and steps to enroll below.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be currently enrolled undergraduate at CSULB
  • Must be in good academic standing
  • Must have an internship job offer

Enrollment Steps:

  1.  Log in to and select CareerLINK
  2.  Select the My Account tab on the left hand side. Select Experiential Learning from the expanded menu
  3.  Using the information below, complete the Experiential Learning Application to indicate your intent to enroll in the course
    • Catalog Number: SRL 210L
    • Class Instructor Name: Trumbo
    • Class Number & Section: Use the online CSULB schedule of classes to locate SRL 210L and identify the appropriate class number and section
  4. Wait to receive notification to proceed to the next steps. This may take up to 48 hours
  5.  Log back in to CareerLINK. Select My Account and select Experiential Learning from the expanded menu
  6. Select Add Internship Information to begin your placement form. Be ready to enter details regarding your internship site and a supervisor or contact who will verify your placement. You may save a draft and return later to submit


  • F-1 International Students: You MUST complete a CPT application and obtain a signature from Michelle Trumbo
  • To ensure timely enrollment, review semester enrollment deadlines via enrollment services
  • Once your placement has been verified and you are enrolled in the course, you will hear from the course instructor via email

Career Development Center at CSULB itself does not control the way in which this educational opportunity is structured or operates on a daily basis. In granting recognition for this internship, the University affirms that, to the best of its judgment, the experience is an appropriate co-curricular option for students seeking work-related experience to enhance curricular learning, but makes no other assurances, expressed or implied, about wages, travel and living arrangements made by the student and employer.

The Career Development Center at CSULB does not knowingly approve internship opportunities which pose undue risks to their participants. However, any internship or travel carries with it potential hazards which are beyond the control of the University and its agents or employees.

Internship Procedures for International Students

The Center for International Education and the Career Development Center work together to ensure your internship experience adheres to visa regulations.

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option available to students who have an F-1 visa.
  • CPT is a paid or unpaid internship that requires authorization from the Center for International Education (CIE).
  • Undergraduate students must participate in Department Based CPT, or the Career Development Center Internship Class. Forms are available at CIE.
  • Graduate students may only participate in Department Based CPT
  • Students are able to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the regular semester, and a maximum of 40 hours per week during the summer and vacation periods.
  • Working for more than 11 months of full-time CPT may result in denial of a post-completion OPT request.
  • Students MAY NOT begin work at their internship site until given final approval by CIE and they have received a new I-20 form.

Who can apply?

All students MUST first be approved to participate in CPT by their CIE advisor.

Some initial requirements include:

  • Must be in status at the time of the application and have been in lawful F-1 status for one full academic year (nine months) within a U.S. institution preceding the CPT application.
  • Must have an employment/internship/training offer related to major area of study.
  • Must be in good academic standing (3.0 or higher for graduate students and 2.0 or higher for undergraduate students).
  • Must be enrolled in a full-course load before applying for CPT (12 units for undergraduates, 9 units for graduate students).

Is there a deadline?

  • The deadline to obtain CPT approval is the Add/Drop deadline for each semester.
  1. Visit the Center for International Education (CIE) to pick up a CPT packet.
  2. Once you have secured an internship, submit the completed packet and your original letter of offer to the Career Development Center front desk. This must be completed at least two weeks BEFORE your internship start date.
  3. Complete enrollment in the CDC Internship Class.
  4. The Internship Advisor will review the documents and contact you regarding your application.
  5. Once enrolled, the Internship Program will contact you to pick up your CPT packet to submit to CIE.
  6. Upon final notification from the Center for International Education, you are eligible to begin working at the assigned site.

Center for International Education
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd. BH 201
Long Beach, CA 90840
voice: 562.985.4106

Internship Program
Career Development Center
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd. BH 250
Long Beach, CA 90840
voice: 562.985.4151