Education and Human Development

High impact activities: Setting the stage for your career

Embarking on your college journey involves more than just attending classes—it's about setting the stage for your future career. Engaging in high-impact practices, such as internships, research, and leadership roles in clubs, is crucial for all students. These experiences offer more than a boost to your resume; they provide practical opportunities to develop the skills and personal traits that employers highly value. Learn more about reflecting these experiences in your resume and interviewing.


    What is an Internship?

    An internship is a real-world experience related to your career interests providing an opportunity to learn specific skills, knowledge, and connect with others. Internships can be:

    • Paid or unpaid experiences
    • Done during the academic year or summer
    • For academic credit or not for credit
    • Part-time or full-time
    • Abroad - visit the Learning Abroad Center's website for more information

    Note: If you're considering an unpaid internship but have concerns about finances, CEHD has your back! We offer internship grants to help ease those financial worries. Get all the details on our CEHD internship grants page for more information.

    Internship search

    Be clear about your goals and what you would like to get out of an internship. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • What type of experience are you hoping to have?
    • Do you want to receive academic credit or funding?
    • Many CEHD majors require an internship or field experience as part of your degree requirements for graduation. Connect with your program advisor to determine their specific requirements.
    • What skills would you like to develop?
    • What career areas or industries interest you?
    • What type of organization is a good fit (government, for-profit, non-profit, education, large, small)?
    • How do people in your career area connect with each other?
    • Learn how to research careers.

    Create an effective resume, cover letter, and portfolio

    Having good marketing materials (resume, cover letter, and portfolio) is essential to a successful internship search. Start creating your materials early!

    • Write a draft of your resume and cover letter.
      • Resume resources
      • Cover letter resources
    • Create a professional portfolio
    • Have your materials reviewed by an advisor or career coach.

    Find internship opportunities

    • Search Handshake for internship postings.
    • Apply to on-campus interviews through Handshake
    • Attend CEHD career events and campus job fairs.
    • Create a list of organizations you would like to intern with and contact them directly. Many internship positions are not advertised.
    • Share your career interests with who you know and see who they can also connect you with. This is the best way to learn about unadvertised opportunities.
    • Create your own internship with an organization that does not have a current internship program. Talk to your program advisor about this. 

    Prepare for the interview

    • Learn the basics of interviewing.
    • Schedule an interview preparation appointment with a career coach.
    • Do an online mock interview with InterviewStream.  


    Finding part time or seasonal work that is related to a career area you are exploring can be especially beneficial for building competencies and knowledge that will be essential to your success.

    • To seek on-campus jobs and learn more about your potential work study eligibility, visit the Office of Human Resource's Find a Student Job page.
    • To learn more about Handshake, the University of Minnesota's job and internship posting platform, visit our Handshake page. Students can also use Handshake to find career-related events (e.g. job fairs, info sessions) and utilize University-sponsored resources.


    As an undergraduate or graduate student at a top research university, we want you to use the knowledge you’re learning in your classes to make a difference. Research experiences help you develop your professional communication and critical thinking skills, and impress potential employers and graduate and professional schools. Prior experience is not a prerequisite for working on a research project in CEHD. You will receive training and guidance from faculty, graduate students and others on the research team.

    Learn more on CEHD's Undergraduate Research page.

    Learning abroad (outside the United States)

    Experiencing a new culture first-hand will expand and deepen how you think about the world, and yourself.
    By participating in CEHD study abroad programs, students will experience:

    • Cultural immersion: Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture and gain a deeper understanding of different customs, traditions, and perspectives. This cultural immersion can broaden their horizons and foster a greater appreciation for diversity.
    • Personal growth: Studying abroad often involves stepping out of one's comfort zone and facing new challenges. This experience can help students develop independence, adaptability, resilience, and problem-solving skills. It can also enhance self-confidence and self-awareness.
    • Career opportunities: Studying abroad can enhance your resume and make you stand out to potential employers. The international experience, intercultural competence, and language skills gained through studying abroad are highly valued in today's global job market.

    Learn more on CEHD's Study and Research Abroad page.

    Learning away (within the United States)

    National Student Exchange (NSE) is a consortium of U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota. Students who attend a school within the NSE consortium can go on exchange to any other member school. That means students can study for a semester, summer or year at schools all over the United States, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada! 


    • new class opportunities
    • professors and experts in your field
    • research, field study, and internship opportunities
    • investigate graduate schools
    • personal growth/independence
    • international and/or intercultural understanding
    • explore the historical and cultural makeup of the U.S. and Canada
    • connections and professional development
    • live and work in a culturally diverse society

    Learn more on the Center for Community-Engaged Learning's page for NSE.


    Leadership is a highly sought-after competency among employers, graduate/professional school admissions committees, and others.

    Student engagement activities

    Joining one of the University of Minnesota’s 1,000+ student groups is a valuable step in career planning, providing students with a dynamic platform to cultivate essential skills, expand professional networks, and gain real-world experiences.

    These groups offer a supportive community where individuals can explore their interests, collaborate on projects, and access mentorship opportunities, fostering personal growth and enhancing future career prospects.


    Engaging in volunteering opportunities on campus is a powerful catalyst for career development. It can enable students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios, develop a strong sense of social responsibility, and build a diverse skill set. Volunteering not only contributes to personal growth and a sense of purpose, it also allows students to showcase their dedication to community service, making a positive impact on their resumes and enhancing their employability in the future.

    Interested in learning more about volunteering in the Twin Cities? Complete a volunteer interest form through the Center for Community-Engaged Learning!

    Projects and micro-experiences

    Projects and Micro-Experiences give you real-world experience and the opportunity to work with an experienced professional. Meanwhile, organizations gain valuable support, access to talent, and a fresh perspective. Students can seek projects and micro-experiences using the following platforms:

    *International students must have work authorization in order to participate in Parker Dewey's Micro-Internships. F-1 students who already have OPT authorization can apply for work opportunities with Parker Dewey that are related to their major. F-1 students who don't have OPT and J-1 students who need Academic Training authorization need to discuss their options with an ISSS adviser before applying to any Micro-Internships.