Internship and Job Search
Online Job Search
Though it may be second nature for you to turn towards the internet to search for a job or internship, we recommend spending only 10% of your time online. This means that you must use that 10% wisely.
TARGETING EMPLOYERS THROUGH NETWORKING
- LinkedIn: An online networking and resource website with over 263,000 USC alumni who live all over the globe. Key in “University of Southern California” and join groups of interests and see all of the alumni you can connect with right now.
JOB & INTERNSHIP POSTINGS
PriceNet is an exclusive online database for internships, fellowships, and job opportunities. Available only to current USC Price students and USC Price alumni, it includes listings for all Price Majors and Minors. Log in to PriceNet: Current Students | Alumni
EXTERNAL JOB BOARDS
Don’t rely on external job boards; instead, create a target list of your dream companies and apply directly from their websites.
- Hoovers & Vault: Proprietary company profiles, industry information and rankings
- Idealist.com: For volunteer opportunities, nonprofit jobs and internships
- LinkedIn Job Search Tool: Leverage the world’s largest professional network to connect with tailored opportunities.
If you are interested in working for a governmental entity, please check out these sites:
- USAJobs: Want to work for the federal government? Then you must make a profile and begin the process through this site.
- CalCareers: Are you seeking a government job in the state of California? Start here.
- LA County Jobs: Government positions within LA County? Start here!
- L.A. City Job Match: The City of Los Angeles Personnel Department’s curated job site
- Check out our Facebook page and our newsletter, TWiCS for highlighted opportunities.
If you are interested in the nonprofit space:
- Learn How to Become: information and resources on careers in the nonprofit and volunteer sector.
Requirements for the Internship
- MPA students must work a minimum of 300 hours; MPL students must work a minimum of 400 hours; MHA students work between 500-1000 hours; and undergraduates work a minimum of 140 hours. Students must keep track of the hours worked and must have the hours log approved by the supervisor.
- Internship supervisor and student must determine mutually agreeable goals and objectives for the internship using the Internship Contract as a guide. The Contract should outline what the student hopes to learn, the assigned tasks related to these objectives, and the end product of the internship. The Contract will also be used as a tool for evaluation.
- Students whose programs require an internship (MPA, MPL and BS) must successfully complete the internship, as indicated on the Internship Contract, and be evaluated by the supervisor. The supervisor must evaluate the intern at the completion of the internship and submit the evaluation to the Career Services Office.
- We encourage the student to request that the supervisor write a letter of recommendation for the student’s personal use.
- Download all pertinent guides below or in your document library on PriceNet.
Graduate Summer Internship Fund (GSIF)
In recognition of the invaluable role students play in improving the quality of life for people and their communities, the USC Price School of Public Policy has established the Price Graduate Summer Internship Fund (GSIF). GSIF began as a student initiative led by the Graduate Policy and Administration Community (GPAC), and took shape through the collaborative effort of various Price School units, including the offices of Dean Jack H. Knott, Student Affairs, Career Services, Development and External Relations and the Price Alumni Association.
This summer, a minimum of five master’s students will be awarded scholarships while they support organizations here or abroad whose work aligns with the Price School’s mission. Eligible applicants must be full-time first-year students enrolled in two-year master’s degree programs (MHA, MPA, MPL, MPP) or second-year dual degree students (e.g., MPP/MPL and MPA/MSW).
If only 10% of your search is online, then you’re probably wondering how to spend the rest of it. Since the majority of jobs are not on the internet, it’s imperative that you network in order to find them. In fact, 90% of your time searching for jobs and internships should be in the pursuit of forming mutually beneficial relationships to get the role of your dreams. And, why not? The Trojan Network is known to be one of the strongest in the world. To get started, read our how-to guide:
- What is Your Objective?
Be clear about what you hope to gain from each interaction, whether it be connecting on LinkedIn for the first time, or meeting with the CEO of your dream firm. The more advanced research you do and the more curious you are, the easier it will be for you to clarify your career goals.
- Make a Contact List
Family, friends, former employers, professors, TAs, classmates, coaches, mentors, internship and volunteer supervisors, your mom’s best friend: They all count!
- Make a Target Company List
Jot down the 8-10 companies you would die to work for. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t hiring now; you just want to start the process early enough so that when they are hiring, they know who you are.
- Create a Networking-Management System
Before you begin connecting, set yourself up for success by creating a system to stay organized. Whether you like Excel, Word, or something else, keep track of your contacts, your upcoming meetings, when you followed up, and if the company is hiring.
- Start Sending Emails and LinkedIn Connection Requests
Remember that you are not asking for an internship or job! Rather, you are asking for an opportunity to get their guidance, suggestions and knowledge about their industry. What’s ‘the formula? State who you are + how you found them + what you’re doing now + why they should care + ask graciously for their time = in-person meeting.
- Keep Finding New Contacts
Uh oh. Have you reached a plateau? Then check out targeted USC groups on LinkedIn, members of professional associations in your field of interest, and individuals you meet at on-campus events, conferences and meet-ups.
- Maintain Relationships
Send periodic, short-and-sweet updates, a snail mail holiday card, or articles that they may find interesting with a personal note attached. Are you doing research that they may find valuable? Let them know! These quick exchanges demonstrate that you are in it to build the relationship-not use it and abuse it.
- “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” ~Keith Ferrazzi
This means: always ask your contacts if you can help them and if there is anyone else that they recommend you contact?
- Research, research and then research more: learn about her, him, the company, the industry, and the current trends. If you do this, you will never ask a question that Google could answer for you. Plus, you will be prepared with the challenging questions that will indicate to your contact that you are curious and engaged in the process.
- Do them a favor: if you come across something that would be helpful to them, just do it and don’t ask for anything in return.
- Be Patient: Yes…we know this is hard, but one of the biggest networking mistakes is escalating the relationship too quickly. None of us wants to come off as desperate, right?
- Treat everyone you meet with respect and courtesy
- Pleasant persistence: don’t expect people to call back in two days, but don’t be afraid to reach out again. Keep in mind that some people won’t respond, and that is okay!
Avoid Fraudulent Job Postings
While you are working hard to make sure you land that perfect job, be aware that the perfect job may not be so perfect. Con artists and scammers post fraudulent jobs that can be difficult to spot at first. Click here to learn some tips on what should raise a red flag and how to protect yourself if you think you may have applied for a fraudulent job.
Offer Evaluation & Negotiation
Congratulations! You received an offer and you should be proud of yourself. After so much hard work, you may feel tempted to say “YES!” right away, but what you should really do is take a deep breath and keep reading.
The Offer Itself
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with considerations, so we created this worksheet (link salary negotiation worksheet) to help you make a careful decision based on what is most important to you in your job fulfillment.
To Accept or To Reject
While you should never accept a job or internship on the spot, oftentimes, employers ask that you give them an answer right away. However, employers who recruit through USC must give students two weeks to accept/reject a written offer. If you received an offer from an employer who is currently pressuring you to respond asap, talk to us to get the guidance you need before you decide.
- Not sure if you want it or not? Demonstrate how enthusiastic you are to receive an offer. Let your contact know that you need some time to carefully consider it, because it’s such an important decision. Asking for an extension is possible, as long as you provide a specific date and time and stick to it.
- Yes! I want this job: Express your appreciation and enthusiasm for the offer, and ask for it in writing. If you have pending offers and/or interviews, notify those employers by telephone or email.
- I’m declining the offer: Express genuine appreciation of the offer in a short and sweet email or phone call.
What it Means When You Accept an Offer
Never accept one offer and then go back on your word if a more attractive one materializes. To do this is unethical, and reflects poorly on you and the Price School. In order to keep doors open and to avoid burning bridges, be honest with any employer with whom you have outstanding interviews. For example, if you are accepting an internship position: “I am planning on accepting an offer, but I would love to stay in touch regarding full time opportunities.”
“Show me the money!” Unlike that scene in Jerry Maguire, salary is more than just a number. So, when you are considering an offer, think about location, industry, your specific experience and skills, company perks, benefits and more. If you choose to negotiate your salary, always do it respectfully over the phone or in person. Refer to our educational guide and these delay tactics for more detailed information on salary negotiation.
- There is more room when negotiating for your full time position than for something short-term.
- Know who the salary negotiator is. Sometimes, the person doing the hiring isn’t the person capable of changing the budget for your position, so just ask nicely and clearly: “I am interested in discussing salary. Who is the best person to talk to about this?”
- If you have a couple offers, you could use them as negotiating tools. This provides leverage and puts some urgency on the company’s end to make a more attractive offer. Talk to us so we can map out your strategy.
- Practice: make an appointment with us.
- Economic Research Institute: Salary survey and compensation survey data and analytics for 6,000 positions in more than 1,000 industries and over 8,000 locations.
- Glassdoor’s salary statistics: Search salaries and compensation
- LinkedIn Salary Search Tool: Explore salaries by job title and location. See how years of experience, industry, location and more can impact your salary.
- MoneyGeek Salary Calculator: how far will your salary go in another city? Or compare it to the cost of living in four cities!
- Occupational Employment Statistics