Key steps of the internship process

1. I carefully prepare my application

Application documents include as a minimum a CV and an application letter. Having recommendation letters and work certificates is an advantage.

I work on my CV as soon as possible (end of the Bachelor or beginning of Master) and do a self-assessment by listing my skills and my different experiences. These elements will be very useful when writing my applications letters. I must also ask my former employers and/or professors for my work certificates and for recommendation letters.

I register for the course on CVs and application letters (generally in October). I may also ask for a one-on-one appointment with the internship coordinator to get feedback on my documents.

The listed internships are also often proposed to other schools in Switzerland or abroad. There is competition and it is essential to send high quality documents to get an interview with the desired company.

2. I define my interests

I identify the type of companies or sectors that interest me most (Internet search, discussion with colleagues or teachers, participation in the EPFL forum, etc…).

I keep the internship coordinator informed about my ideas and interests through the questionnaire sent after the semester start and through regular exchanges. These ideas will be used by the coordinator to find future internship proposals. There is however no guarantee that the internship list includes exactly the companies I was hoping for.

3. I apply for the internships listed on IS-Academia

When the list is published (generally in March), I apply for a minimum of 3 internships by the end of the month. I stick to the deadlines and to the instructions given by the coordination office. The coordination office does not check my documents when they are uploaded. I must ask for feedback before uploading.

4. I apply for other internships outside IS-Academia

I can also direclty contact companies that are not on the list. I apply through their career portal or contact their HR department. For companies abroad or for larger companies, I should apply in Autumn or before the end of the year.

Warning:

  • For companies within Switzerland, I must check the list of contacted companies provided by the internship coordinator before doing spontaneous applications. This is to avoid my individual application being disregarded as the company may prefer to use the EPFL internship portal.
  • If I have found an internship which is not on the list from the section, I must not forget to ask the internship coordinator for topic validation before accepting the job.

5. I carefully prepare my interview

As soon as my documents have been forwarded to the company, I should prepare myself to be contacted by the company and to fix an interview date. I spend time preparing my interview, looking for information about the company and about the internship topic. I compile a list of my skills that could be interesting for the company. I participate in the course on interviews -generally given in March- by the internship coordinator.

6. I have a positive answer from a company and I accept it

I check the duration (it must be between 4 to 6 months). If everything is correct, I inform the internship coordinator. The company will receive a third-party contract, which I will also have to sign.

7. I am hesitating between two internship offers….

I can always ask for a little more time for reflection before answering the first company. The company may or may not agree. I take this risk only if I am sure that the second company (the internship I prefer) will answer me within that time period. In any case, when I say yes to a company, I must not change my mind.

8. I am evaluated by the section and by the company

My supervisor is within the company (not at EPFL). At the end of my internship, I provide the company with any documents they may ask for: generally a report summarizing my work and an internal presentation. These documents will not be forwarded to the section. The section will however, ask my supervisor for feedback on my work.

9. I forward the requested documents to my section

I must write an activity report, which describes the internship environment, the type of tasks I had to perform and the skills I have acquired. I fill in an evaluation questionnaire, which remains confidential. The Section will evaluate the internship based on my supervisor’s feedback and my task report. If I am successful, 30 credits will be given.