Finding a Practicum

Finding a practicum

Before you start your search for a practicum opportunity, you should have a strong idea of what you want to get out of this experience. While this is a programmatic requirement, you should think of it as an opportunity to continue to develop your professional skills, gain more experience, expand your network and try out a new job. There's also potential for your practicum opportunity to turn into a full-time job after graduation.

Step 1: Evaluate your goals.
  • What do I want to get out of a practicum? 
    • What skills do I want to learn?
    • What subject matter do I want work with?
    • What networks do I want to tap into?
  • Where do I have previous experience? Do I want to find a practicum in the same sector or branch out? 
  • What are my career objectives? How can a practicum help me fulfill these objectives?
  • Where do you see your career at, location wise?
  • What sector am I interested in working in? 
    • State
    • Federal
    • Nonprofit
    • Private
    • International
Step 2: Research opportunities. 


  • Start searching early. 

  • 12-month students should begin the practicum search in their first quarter. 2-year track students should begin in the winter quarter of their first year, though timing is flexible for these students. 
  • Start networking early. 
  • Make networking a priority when you start the program. It may not immediately pay off, but establishing meaningful professional relationships will help you throughout your professional career. Networking can help you find many different opportunities, including a practicum. Not sure best practices to network? See our guide here.  
  • Cold contact.
  • The idea behind 'cold emailing' or 'cold calling' is to contact a professional that you don't know, to introduce yourself and see if there are any opportunities for collaboration. 
    -First, check with the EPM Program Coordinator, Associate Director, your Faculty Advisor, and the EPM Networking Crowdsource to see if anyone has existing connections.
    -If there’s no existing connections to the organization, identify the right person and send them an email or call them!
    -See more information about 'cold emailing' here.
  •  Apply to a variety of internships. 
  • Applications are a numbers game. It is easy to get discouraged, but think of each conversation or interview as more experience and practice. 
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter.
  • Make sure that you tailor your resume to each position you apply for. The ICC has more information about the differences between a CV and resume, best practices, writing a cover letter and more. See more information here.

    Have at least one other person review your resume. The Internship and Career Center (ICC) on campus offers resume, cv and cover letter review services for current students and recent graduates. See more information
    here. The Associate Director can also review your resume/ CV. 
  • Be sure to pay attention to deadlines. 
  • If you are looking to secure a practicum for summer, many deadlines will be at the start of the year. Keep track of varying application deadlines and set reminders to ensure you don't miss anything. 

  • Prepare for your interview! 

  • The Internship and Career Center has resources on what to expect, how to prepare, what to wear and more! Check it out here. You can also schedule an advising appointment here.

    Schedule a mock interview with the Associate Director. You can also ask your other mentors or advisors if they would be willing to do a mock interview with you. Interviewing is a skill that needs to be practiced!

  • If you are offered a position, be sure to send a ‘thank you’ email. 

  • In your email, ask any remaining questions you might have like:
    Will I be working in person, remote or hybrid? 
    Is my schedule predetermined or flexible?
    What is appropriate office attire at this organization?


Best practices for submitting your application

  • Format.

  • Always save your documents in PDF format. This is important in the workplace and for anything you’re submitting to the program such as Comprehensive Exam materials, TA applications, and applications for EPM internships, etc. Your first and last name should always be in the document title. Save as First name, Last name- [Organization Name] application. 
  • Grammar and spelling.
  • Double check your application materials for spelling and grammar. Make sure you attach the correct application materials for the organization you’re applying for,
  • Submission.
  • Submit your application per the instructions of the organization. You want to make a good first impression. 
    -Only submit documents they request. 
    - Put them in whatever format they request.
    -If they don’t specify, combine all your application materials into one PDF document. Suggested order: Cover letter, Resume, Writing Sample, References, etc. 

    If you submit your application via email, be sure to reference the name of the position that you’re applying for.
    -Example: Application for [position title] at [Organization/Company]
    -Include in the body of your email a brief summary of yourself and information about what you’ve submitted as a part of the application. You can see an email example here (coming soon).