Arts Job & Internship Toolkit

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Job and Internship Boards

The following job boards are great resources for finding internships in the United States. Always read the listings carefully and ask the organization if any of the information is unclear.

Additional Search Resources

  • Contact past internship sites: Many organizations that have hosted Stanford students in the past are eager to continue working with Stanford students. View a list of places where Stanford students have interned in prior summers.
  • Ask your professors and lecturers: Visit your instructors during office hours and ask them if they know of any industry contacts or organizations that could offer a meaningful internship or job opportunity.
  • Social media: Not only is this a great way to learn about exhibits, films, and performances that organizations have on the schedule, but many organizations post internship and job announcements on their social media channels. Follow organizations across multiple platforms (such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) to stay in the loop. Make sure to pay attention to recommended accounts as a way to expand your knowledge of the field.
  • Professional associations and local arts agencies often have member lists--these are great places to start if you have an interest in a specific industry or region. Many of these organizations also welcome interns. Browse our growing list of professional associations and local arts agencies.
  • Staying Organized: It can be overwhelming to manage all of the information you've collected during your job or internship search. This worksheet from Career Education is a great way to keep track of everything.

Timing Your Search for Summer Internships

Recruiting and hiring timelines vary amongst arts and cultural organizations. Larger companies (such as corporate media and publishing) may begin in the fall, while nonprofit orgs typically don't list summer opportunities until late winter/early spring, and post-baccalaureate program application cycles can fall anywhere in between. It's generally best to always be on the hunt for opportunities--even if you're not actively looking--so you can familiarize yourself with the various timelines so that, when you are ready to apply, you'll be prepared.

The following timeline can be used as a template for organizing your search for a summer opportunity. It is just a suggestion--not a prescription. You may need to adjust the timeline  depending on when you want to start your internship/job. You can also complete many of the steps in a shorter time frame.

Arranging An Internship

Preparing for Independent Living

In many cases, participating in a summer internship (and even your first post-Stanford job) involves a greater degree of independent living than what you encounter during the academic year. From finding safe and stable housing to meals to personal upkeep (rest, laundry, errands, etc.), it can feel like taking care of your self is its own full-time job.

As you develop your plans for summer and post-graduation work it's vital to factor in these additional responsibilities. Take advantage of the following campus resources to help you build your independent living toolkit:

  • Mind Over Money: Mind Over Money equips students with a foundation to be financially well during their time at Stanford and beyond. Mind Over Money offers a variety of services including workshops, courses, and 1:1 coaching. Available to current students and recent alumni.
  • Well-Being Coaching: Coaching can help you clarify values, set goals, adjust priorities, talk through challenges, and create your own vision for well-being.
  • Nutrition Counseling: Meet with an RD/RDN (Registered dietitian/nutritionist) to understand and explore your unique nutritional needs.
  • Stanford Living Education: Courses and workshops for educating the whole student to live, lead, and create a flourishing world for all.

Career Coaching and Advising

Stanford Career Education (CareerEd) offers 1:1 coaching for all Stanford students across a variety of industries. You can learn more about the CareerEd coaches and schedule an appointment in Handshake.

Informational Interviews

An informational interview is an informal conversation with a professional who has experience working in a role, company or industry that interests you. They offer a unique opportunity to connect with and and learn from someone doing work that you might want to do in the future, while also building your professional network.

It can be intimidating to reach out to folks for an informational interview--and that’s okay. Over time it may get easier, or at least seem less awkward. The key is taking the first step. Starting sooner rather than later ensures that, when you’re ready to rev up your informational interviews, you’ve ready to go.

Member of the student engagement team in the Office of the Vice President for the Arts are available to advise on arts career questions. Learn more about each team member and their areas of specialty.

Resumes, Cover Letters, Portfolios

Success Tip:

Whenever you share a file with an employer or other opportunity (grant, residency, training, etc.), make sure to include the following in the file name:

  • Type of document (e.g. resume, personal statement, etc.)
  • Your name (last name and first name)

This will ensure that, if the file happens to become separated from the rest of your application, the reviewer will be able to identify where it belongs.

Resume/CV

Resumes tell the story of your education and accomplishments. You may need to tailor the format and content of your resume depending on how it will be used (e.g. focusing on artistic achievements when applying for project grants, highlighting leadership experience when applying to administrative opportunities, etc.)

We recommend that recent Stanford grads use a hybrid resume format. This style blends your academic, administrative/leadership, and artistic experiences into one document. 

Cover Letter

Cover letters are a way to introduce yourself to potential employers. They showcase your skills and experience in a narrative format to highlight connections that may not be apparent solely through your resume. Many employers also use the cover letter as a way to evaluate your writing and communication skills.

Typically cover letters should be no more than one page long; however, if a few sentences spill over to another page it’s generally not a deal breaker.

The following format is a great base for writing a compelling cover letter. Always make sure to read the application instructions carefully; you may need to adjust this template based on the opportunity.

Artist Statement

Coming soon

Portfolio

Portfolios showcase your work as an artist/creative. They are a common requirement for application-based opportunities (such as funding, training programs, etc.) and creative opportunities.

It can feel daunting to create the first version of your portfolio--and that's okay. The great news is that your portfolio will change over time as your work evolves and you receive feedback from reviewers. Our portfolio checklist will help you get started.

Courses at Stanford that can help you develop/refine your portfolio:

  • PWR 91OID: Creating Your Digital Self: The What, How, and Why of Building an Online Presence
  • ARTSTUDI 201: Art Practice Major Seminar
  • CSRE 91B/PWR 91HT: Telling Your Story as Counterstory: The Rhetoric of Critical Race Theory
  • CSRE 163/AFRICAAM 163/MUSIC 153C: Fly Folk in the Buttermilk: A Black Music and Culture Writing Workshop
  • ME 103: Product Realization: Design and Making
  • PWR 99A/B: Portfolio Preparation I

Courses that can help you develop your audition skills:

  • TAPS 120M: Audition and Monologue
  • TAPS 122P: Undergrad Performance Project
  • DANCE 30/AFRICAAM 37: Contemporary Choreography: Chocolate Heads Performance Project
  • DANCE 25: Studio to Stage: Student Choreography Projects
  • DANCE 27: Faculty Choreography
  • MUSIC 184B: Topics on the Musical Stage
  • MUSIC 184C/TAPS 184C: Dramatic Vocal Arts: Songs and Scenes Onstage

Tools for a Creative Life

Campus Resources

  • Mind Over Money: Mind Over Money equips Stanford students with a foundation to be financially well during their time at Stanford and beyond. Mind Over Money offers a variety of services including workshops, courses, and 1:1 coaching. Available to current students and recent alumni.
  • Stanford Living Education: Courses and workshops for educating the whole student to live, lead, and create a flourishing world for all.

Off-Campus Resources

  • Creative Study: A resource designed to help you navigate the business that’s crucial to successful creative careers. Their speakers explain the ecosystem of funding, finance, law, and more in a way that's approachable, non-judgmental, and applicable to creatives and freelancers who often find themselves torn between producing their work and managing the business side of their careers.
  • Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities: This resource from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) empowers individuals with disabilities to explore arts careers and access resources to support their success. It also educates arts employers, educators, and grantmakers about the critical role they play in fostering disability inclusion and the resources available to help them successfully do so.
  • Pockets Change: Building financial resilience through Hip Hop pedagogy. Pockets Change offers a toolkit to help you understand your money personality as well as community workshops for all age levels.

Stanford Internship Stipend Programs

Stanford offers a number of summer internship programs that are intended to give students a chance to explore industries and career paths.

Programs offer a mix of pre-arranged and self-designed placements.

  • Pre-arranged: Students apply for a placement with a specific organization that is partnering with Stanford
  • Self-designed: students identify and secure their own internship placement

All participants receive a stipend to support living costs during the internship. Additional need-based financial aid is available.

The following programs support internships in the arts and are open to current Stanford students in any major. Prior work experience isn't required.

Career Exploration Events

Upcoming Campus Events

No scheduled events.

Sign up for the ArtsUpdate to receive alerts for upcoming career exploration events and opportunities.

Do you have an idea for an arts career exploration event? Let us know! Contact Sabrina Wilensky to start the conversation.

For Employers & Recruiters

The Arts at Stanford

Stanford is home to a vibrant community of artists, scholars, and supporters. Students have the opportunity to engage with the arts in many ways, including:

Recruiting Stanford Students

If you would like to share an internship or job opportunity with Stanford students we encourage you to share the details on Handshake, our campus job database. If you have questions about setting up your organization or opportunity in Handshake please contact the Stanford Career Education recruiting team (recruiting@stanford.edu.)

Learn more about other employer services offered by Stanford Career Education, including recruitment standards, job fairs, student coffee chats, on-campus interviewing, and more.

Tips for Arts Internship Providers

Sabrina Wilensky 2018

Contact:

Sabrina Wilensky (she/her)
Director of Program Operations and Project Management
Office of the Vice President for the Arts
swilensk@stanford.edu