The COMS 499 Internship
The one-semester COMS 499 internship is a communications-related activity that is required to finish your degree in communications studies. The majority of our students say that their internships have led them to jobs or to the next step in their career path, and it just may be one of the most important classes you take while at Sonoma State.
As you get ready for your internship semester, please consider the following guidelines. If you have further questions, contact Hillary Homzie, the internship coordinator in the School of Arts and Humanities.
- The first step is to decide what sort of internship interests you.
For example, would you like to work for a winery? In retail? For a non-profit or government agency? In human resources? In a public school? At a film festival, or a newspaper or radio station? Are you interested in administrative work? Social services? Event planning? Creating an in-house newsletter? Remember, every COMS major must do an internship in a communications-related activity, such as marketing, public relationships, editing, broadcasting, advertising or journalism.
- Make sure you have a polished resumé and a cover letter.
It's important to have a professional resumé and a well-crafted, compelling cover letter to serve as your introduction. After you send out inquiries, make it a habit to follow up, and always sound enthusiastic and respectful.
- Make an appointment with Becky Young in the Career Center.
Career advisor Becky Young will help you create and strengthen your resumé. She will also critique cover letters and recommend strategies to help you highlight your interests and strengths. She can also show you how to search for an internship. You can reach her by email at email@example.com, or you may drop by her office in International Hall Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m.
- Start your internship search.
To make your initial contact with a potential employer, it is recommended that you start with a phone call. Area employers are always thrilled to hear from Sonoma State students. You should ask if they will have internships for undergraduate students during the semester you want to complete the internship credits. Career advisor Becky Young can also help you find internship opportunities.
The COMs office always has a listing of internships, and administrative coordinator Shelly Stephens regularly sends internship opportunities via email to students in the major. You may also consider talking with other students who have done internships and asking for recommendations from family and friends. You can find internships through Internet searches, but you will often have the most luck with local and regional employers in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, and Healdsburg, as well as Napa County, Marin County and San Francisco.
While an in-person internship is preferable, you may complete a virtual internship provided there is sufficient training and supervision. Some students have found internships with their current employer by shifting their responsibilities to meet internships requirements. For example, students in the past who worked in retail, recreation or hospitality asked their employer if they could take on COMs-related activities and it has worked out.
There are also plenty of internship possibilities right here on campus. It's just a matter of asking.
- Once you have been offered a semester-long internship, fill out the required forms and get your internship supervisor's signature.
You will need three forms to register:
- Decide how many units that you want for your internship.
You may register for a one-unit, two-unit, three-unit or four-unit internship. Some students even sign up for multiple internships in one semester. Keep in mind that you must work 45 hours to earn one unit of credit. For example, to earn four units, you must work 180 hours. Make sure the hours you commit to work fit your schedule.
It's always best to check with your academic advisor to see if you are on track to graduate and to determine how many units you might need. Typically, a COMS student can take up to eight units of internship credit, but always check this, as everyone comes in with unique and different needs.
- Get Hillary Homzie's signature.
Once you have completed the Internship Agreement and the Contact Form and have two copies of the Advising Log, visit Hillary Homzie during her office hours to get her signature. You must have her signature in order to register.
- Hand deliver the contract/agreement to Shelly Stephens in the Communications and Media Studies office, Nichols 364, (707) 664-2149.
After you have turned in your contract/agreement, it will take one to two weeks for the class to show up in your student portal. It is your responsibility to make sure that the class, COMS 499, and the correct number of units show up in your portal. If you receive financial aid, please mark financial aid in capital letters at the top of your agreement/contract.