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Finding a Placement

Finding an Internship in the United States

  • Step 1: Determine whether you are eligible to work on a J-1 Visa in the U.S
  • Step 2: Develop your resume and cover letter, and request letters of reference
  • Step 3: Searching for internships
  • Step 4: Applying for internships
  • Step 5: Interviewing for internships
  • Step 6: Accepting an internship and completing the J-1 Visa application process

Step 1: Determine whether you are eligible to work on a J-1 Visa in the U.S

Before beginning your internship search, please check our programme requirements to be sure that you are eligible for a J-1 Visa and that InterExchange Career Training USA is able to provide sponsorship for your field of training. The following list of possible positions are not eligible for the J1 Internship/ Traineeship. InterExchange do not cover Sports Management so we are unable to take requests for this field.

Step 2: Develop your cover letter and request letters of reference

Cover Letters

When sending a resume to an employer, it is necessary to include a cover letter. This letter should describe why you are the right candidate for a specific job and what you can offer to a specific company. In other words, you should make a cover letter for each job and company and tailor the letter to the job description and company’s mission/goals.
When possible, try to learn the name of the person in the HR Department who will be reviewing resumes in the company to whom you can address your letter.

In your cover letter, mention that although you are not a U.S. citizen that you are eligible for a J-1 Visa and that InterExchange will be able to assist you in the visa sponsorship process.
Explain the benefits an international intern can bring to a U.S. company and the fact that they do not have to sponsor your visa—InterExchange can sponsor it for you.

Letters of Reference

Since U.S. employers will likely not have a chance to interview you in person, you are more likely to be considered for an internship if you can provide letters of reference from past or current employers and professors.

Your letters should indicate how your references know you, how long they have known you, and how you performed as a student or employee—this will provide U.S. employers with enough information to get a sense of your character and experience.

Letters should be written in English and printed on official letterhead.

Do not submit letters of reference without first asking your references if you may do so. Employers may wish to contact your references, so it is best to inform them in advance that you are applying for an internship and to ask if U.S. employers may contact them if they require additional information.

Step 3: Searching for internships

Personal Connections and Networking

By far the easiest way to find an internship in the U.S. is through personal connections and networking. Speak with family, friends, fellow students, coworkers, professors, and past or current employers—it is likely that someone you know has visited, gone to school or worked in the U.S. or knows someone who has. Ask them about the people they know in the U.S.!

Request the names and contact information for all U.S. contacts and email or call them to indicate you are searching for internship opportunities in the U.S. They may not be in the right industry or have an internship available, but chances are they will know someone who does.

If you are ever in the U.S. for vacation, try to set up informational interviews with employers for whom you would be interested in interning. They may have internships available or they may know other employers who do.

Seek out Americans in your home country. Americans frequently travel for school, work, and fun—introduce yourself to them and exchange contact information. You can contact these individuals in the future and they may be able to put you in touch with U.S. employers who would be interested in hiring you as an intern.

Social Networking Websites

Facebook: Become a fan of U.S. companies on Facebook and contact them directly to learn more about the company and make connections with their staff members—they may even have internship listings on their Facebook page. Note: If you will be allowing employers to view your Facebook profile, be sure that the information and photos on your page are appropriate. Many employers turn candidates away because of inappropriate content on their Facebook pages.

LinkedIn: If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, create a profile and complete all sections of the profile so that the employer can get all the information they need. Your information should be in English and should include all relevant educational and work experience. Search for companies and their employees on LinkedIn and contact them directly about internship opportunities.

Twitter: Some employers have begun to post internship positions on Twitter. Set up a Twitter account and follow your favorite U.S. employers to see if they post any positions. Also, this is a great way to get updates and information about the company which will be helpful when writing a cover letter or interviewing with the company.

Blogs: Search for company blogs to learn about the company and to see when new internship opportunities are available.

Internship and Job Search Engines

There are hundreds of different online job search engines in the United States. The following websites allow you to post your resume, search job listings by industry, find career advice, and discover tips for cover letters, resumes and interviewing:

Other job and internship search engines are listed below:

Step 4: Applying for internships

Identify companies or internship postings of interest. Ensure that you meet any requirements in the internship descriptions and that you have researched the company and its location. You should ensure that the position, pay/benefits, company, and location all offer what you are looking for in an internship.

If applying for a particular internship position, be sure to include all the requested documents and follow any application instructions listed in the posting. Your application will be the first impression that you make with the company. If you don’t follow their instructions, you will not create a good first impression!

If you are not applying to a particular position, simply send your resume, cover letter, and professional references to U.S. employers you have identified. Indicate in your cover letter that you are looking for a full-time, professional-level internship and that you are eligible to work in the U.S. This method can be time-consuming and many employers may not respond to you, but the majority of InterExchange Interns/Trainees find their internships this way! This takes time and patience, but it is the best way to find an internship that meets your preferences.

Step 5: Interviewing for internships

If an employer responds to your application to schedule an interview, you will need to be prepared to discuss your skills and experience—be especially prepared to discuss anything you have listed in your resume and cover letter.

Gather as much information as possible about the company and come up with a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Many of your questions will be discussed throughout the interview, but you should always be sure to have a lot of questions so you will have something to ask at the end.

We recommend practicing the interview with a friend or family member. For a list of interview questions you may be asked and other interviewing tips, visit www.Jobinterviewquestions.org

On the day of the interview, be prepared and on time! If you are interviewing via phone or webcam, be sure to test your equipment in advance so that you are sure you know how it works. Also, be sure to find a quiet and private spot so that your interview will not be interrupted and so that there will be no distractions.

Within 24 hours after the interview, always send a message to thank the interviewer(s) for their time and to reaffirm your interest in the position.

Step 6: Accepting an internship and completing the J-1 Visa application process

If an employer offers you an internship, think carefully about whether the opportunity is right for you. Now that you have had a chance to learn more about the company, location, position, and pay/benefits, you should have enough information to make the right decision. Ask for clarification if you are unsure about anything.

If you are considering more than one offer, ask the employer if you may have some time to consider the offer before making your final decision. Do NOT accept an offer and then accept another offer later. It is always better to ask for more time to consider an offer than to accept an offer and then change your mind later. If you accept an offer, you should commit to coming to the U.S. to do that specific internship.

Once you accept an internship offer, you must contact us so we can discuss the internship. If the internship is valid, you will be invited to by us to start your online application.

You should allow 2-3 months to complete the application, submit it to InterExchange for review, and to go to the Embassy/Consulate for your visa interview. Please keep this in mind when scheduling the internship start date with your employer.

Once you have your internship and your J-1 Visa, you will be ready to go to the U.S. If you have additional questions regarding your internship search, please contact us at j1visa@sayit.ie

Some industry-specific job boards:

Accounting & Finance Advertising, Sales & Marketing


Hotel Management & Tourism, Information Technology, Real Estate


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