Timing Your Search
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.
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.
Career Education Career Coaching
Career Education offers 1:1 coaching for all Stanford students across a variety of industries. You can learn more about the Career Education coaches and schedule an appointment in Handshake.
Job and Internship Boards
The following job boards are great resources for finding internships in the United States. Please note that opportunities may be unpaid--always read the listings carefully and ask the organization if it's unclear.
Handshake is an online platform that provides Stanford students with opportunities and connections related to their career aspirations and interests. Employers also access Handshake to post positions, create events, and connect with students. A growing number of arts organizations are posting jobs and internships to Handshake on a regular basis.
Industry Job Boards
The following job boards can be used to find industry-specific opportunities.
Additional Search Resources
- Reach out to past host organizations: 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.
- 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.
- 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 opportunity.
- 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.
Arranging An Internship
Understanding Job Offers
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 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.
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
- “How to Self Tape: Additional Resources” from Actors Equity
- “Ten Tips for Making the Perfect Self-Tape Audition” from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
- “Self Tapes at Home for Musical Theatre Auditions” from 32 Bar Cut’s Adrienne Walker
- “How to Create a Self-Tape for Auditions and Callbacks” from Ashlee Espinosa
- “How to Prepare for a Self-Tape Audition: Casting Director Tips” from Backstage
Source: Theatre Bay Area
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
Stanford offers a number of summer internship programs that are intended to give students a chance to explore industries and career paths.
Some programs also offer pre-arranged placements--this is a great option if you're not sure you're ready for a self-designed placement.
Participants receive a stipend to support living costs during the internship.
The following programs support internships in the arts and are open to current Stanford students in any major. Prior work experience isn't required.
- Stanford Internship Program in Arts Administration (SIPA)
- Self-designed internships
- Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship (CAF)
- Self-designed internships and artist apprenticeships
- Stanford Global Studies Internships
- Self-designed and pre-arranged internships
- CCSRE Undergraduate Fellowships
- Pre-arranged internships
- Cardinal Quarter Fellowships
- Self-designed and pre-arranged internships
- Community Service Work-Study (CSWS)
- Self-designed placements
Opportunities Beyond Stanford
Many arts and cultural organizations in the United States offer paid internships for college students and year-long fellowships for recent grads. These are great opportunities for students preparing to/in the process of transitioning from Stanford into an early career path.
The following list is a sample of the available programs that provide stipends (or in-kind benefits, such as housing) to all participants. Make sure to research each program and institution as part of your application process as timelines, application requirements, and experiences will vary between institutions.
If you are applying to any of these programs make sure to read the eligibility requirements and application instructions very carefully. You may also want to follow the company on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to receive additional information and updates regarding their internship programs.
The programs listed on this page are not affiliated with Stanford.
- 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.
- 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.
- Art World Conference: A series of actionable, inclusive workshops and events, both in-person and online, focused on business and financial health to build and sustain careers in the arts.
- Local arts agencies (LAA) are great resources for navigating opportunities and resources in your geographic area (or, if you’re producing work in another location, learning about that particular landscape.) Many LAAs offer workshops for developing your business and career acumen. Many also offer grants, work/rehearsal space, and community engagement opportunities. Browse our growing list of local arts agencies.
- Professional associations and unions are great resources for learning about a specific discipline and/or industry. Many associations offer a range of programs including classes/workshops, networking, industry news, industry advocacy, and more. Browse our growing list of professional associations for arts-related careers.