Finding a trainee position

It is important that you understand that you are responsible for securing your own trainee position in the USA. Furthermore, as this particular programme was put in place to develop and enhance your career prospects through practical training, it is imperative that your trainee position has a direct link to your field of study/career field.

Please note, there are certain types of organizations that are generally not allowed to host trainees: including limited service/economy hotel properties (lower than 3 star/diamond rating), single retail shops, fast food and convenience store franchises (only trainings at company headquarters may be considered), coaching/teaching, child care, therapy/medical/veterinary care (in rare circumstances observation-based trainings may be considered) and pool companies are not authorized under the J-1 Professional Career Training visa. There are also some positions that fall under the US Government's Unskilled Occupation list, for full details please visit CIEE's website (www.ciee.org).

A traineeship is not a job - it is much more! Your program should be designed to provide you with a structured practical education rather than just filling a labour need. When choosing a Host Company, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Find a well-established company, one with enough resources to support your experience. Make certain that your supervisor is a knowledgeable professional who is excited about and committed to your training and will constantly supervise you.
  • Develop a Training Plan with your Host Company that enhances the work experience that you already have under your belt. Your Training Plan (DS-7002) should show a clear progression of your skills and knowledge and have a clear and concise objectives and goals.
  • An integral part of both the Internship programme Professional Career Training programme is the facility to have several different phases of training with your Host Company, and as well as exposure to various departments throughout the organisation. Training with a business in the U.S. also affords you the chances to not only learn from industry leaders, but also to experience a new culture. Because you can design a program to last up to 18 months, you can gain extensive knowledge and become truly familiar with what it means to live and train in the U.S. The knowledge that you gain will be priceless when you return to Ireland and apply all that you have learnt to your career path.

The most important thing to get across in your cover letter to a company in the USA is that you are not looking for them to sponsor you! You will already have a sponsor in CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), and you are simply looking for the company to give you relevant career training. You will have a visa that will allow you to legally work for the company, and you will be entitled to a Social Security number, so there is very little paperwork involved for the company should they decide to take you on!

If you are not seeing many traineeships on offer through job websites, why not apply for regular jobs in your field and in your application, explain to the company that you are looking for a trainee role. What exactly is a trainee role? It is one where you will be well supervised, receiving on the job training, and advancing your skills and knowledge in your field of study/expertise. The whole idea of the Professional Career Training programme is to receive training in the USA that is going to boost your career profile and progress your knowledge in that particular area, and then take all of the new skills you have acquired back to your home country to apply them to your long term career.

What do I want in a position?

Before you begin searching for your dream traineeship, you should not feel overwhelmed by the sheer prospect of approaching US Companies. You should sit down and devise a clear plan regarding the types of companies you would like to work for, the city you would like most to base yourself in and what your dream training plan would be.

In order to do so you should spend some time asking yourself the following questions:

With what type of company would I like to train?
Are you interested in a large corporation, a smaller and more personal setting, or a non-profit organization?

Do I want to train with a company in a major city, a suburb, or a rural area? Remember that the Professional Career Training programme is also a U.S. cultural exchange experience, which will be shaped by your company's location.

What are the most important factors in a trainee position to you?

What elements of a training environment could make my experience difficult?
Just as you considered the positives, consider what company features might make you uncomfortable or less likely to succeed. Remember, however, that a Traineeship is a learning experience and that you should choose a training environment that challenges you to stretch your comfort zone.

Do I need a paid position?
This might be a key component in choosing a great training position if you do not have sufficient savings or some other type of financial assistance. Keep in mind that some companies that do not offer a salary may provide other attractive benefits, such as housing, transportation, meals, and so on. Figure out what you need in order to be able to support yourself and to enjoy your experience in the U.S. fully.

From here, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve out of the Professional Career Training programme.

Convert Your CV

A resume is the US equivalent of a CV. Although they are similar in principle, they differ in terms of length, content and purpose. A resume is a one/two page summary of your skills, experience and objectives. A goal of resume writing is to be brief and concise so that the reader will have a fair understanding of your skills and objectives in less than a minute. You should spend time converting your CV into a resume before you apply for Trainee positions, and be sure to tailor it for each position you are looking into so that it shows off your best qualities.

Download a sample resume

Don't Give Up!

Securing the right position is a challenge. If you don't find one after looking for only a few days or a few weeks, don't give up! A great tip to remember is to keep an active list of all possibilities. Sign up for job alerts on Internship heavy websites. Do not discredit a company simply because it is not your first choice. The best way to figure out if a company is the right choice is to by thoroughly considering the finer points of each opportunity.

A Host Company Is Interested In You!

Interview Tips

Be yourself. Always remain polite and courteous, not to mention professional.

Don't get too personal. Unless specifically asked, keep personal details to a minimum.

Do ask for clarification. If you do not understand a question that you have been asked, don't be afraid to ask them to clarify what the question means.

Ask questions of your own. Ask the interviewer about the office environment, support for the staff, and/or anything that is important to you.

Thank your interviewer for taking the time to speak with you. Gently ask what the next step of the process will be so the interviewer can guide you through the steps accordingly.

Send a formal thank you note/email following your interview, outlining your appreciation and re-iterating your interest in the trainee position.

I Have Been Offered An Traineeship In The USA

Congratulations, you are on your way to becoming a fully fledged trainee in the USA! But before you can start thinking about packing up and leaving straight away, don't forget that there is a set procedure that your Host Organisation must follow before you can apply for the Professional Career Training programme and your visa.

Refer your Host Company to the Host Company Section of CIEE's Website

In the meantime, you should fill out the application form (See How to Apply) If your Host Company have any questions after looking through our website and extensive FAQ's section, they can always email internshipusa@usit.ie. We will get back to their email in 2-3 business days.

When your application form, additional documents and DS7002 are complete, please post them to: Professional Career Training USA, USIT Travel
19/21 Aston Quay,
O'Connell Bridge,
Dublin 2

We will vet your application and contact you via phone for payment. Please keep in mind that processing takes 6-8 weeks.

Search the Internet

The Internet may lead you to fantastic companies that are not familiar with the term Internship. Educate them! Tell them what makes a great Internship mutually beneficial and ask them if they would be interested in providing you with a training opportunity. Explain that a Internship is a chance to exchange ideas, diversify their office, learn from students or professionals on a multinational scale, as well as to provide the Host Company with an occasion to share their knowledge with future global leaders. A Internship offers the Host Company the opportunity to bring in staff with expertise in their industry, who can offer a new perspective, creative ideas and enthusiasm to their business.