How to Land a Great Internship

8 Tips to Land an Internship | College Ave

How to Land a Great Internship

Finding internships that align with your career goals and interests is half the battle; getting chosen is the next big hurdle. Open internship positions can be few and far between, especially if you’re competing for a role at a highly-coveted company or organization.

While there may not be a surefire way to get selected, the following tips can help to improve your chances of landing the internship you want:

1. Apply well in advance

Take note of upcoming internship deadlines and prepare for them well in advance. Finding an upcoming internship for a year from now, for example, might give the false impression that there’s plenty of time. However, some companies make their decisions far ahead of time, and the cutoff date for applying could be several months before the internship begins.

Missing the application date for an internship you had your heart set on can be devastating and will ly take you the running before you even had the chance to apply. But even if you haven’t missed the deadline completely, the application process isn’t something you want to rush through either.

This is a very important step, and if you don’t put forth maximum effort, or you accidentally forget to include the required materials, you might not be chosen for an interview.

2. Make sure your resume shines

Use this opportunity to make sure your resume is up–to-date or to create your very first resume. If you haven’t made a resume before, or could just use a second opinion, reach out to your college’s career services department to see if they offer resume help.

Use your resume to highlight your best achievements and qualifications.

It’s okay if you haven’t had a job yet – just be sure to focus on any other applicable experience that companies might find valuable, such as volunteer work, organizations or clubs you belong to, and so on.

3. Send a customized cover letter

Your cover letter is also very important, and each cover letter you send should be customized for the specific internship you’re applying for. You want to stand out, so you’ll want to avoid sending out a generic cover letter for each internship.

Use the cover letter to let your personality shine through a bit rather than summarizing your resume.

It’s great to express interest in the particular company and explain why you want to intern there, but it’s also important to explain what experience and skills you offer and how you’ll be a valuable asset to the team during your internship.

4. Include a killer portfolio (if applicable)

You may or may not be asked to include a portfolio, but depending on what the internship is for, you may want to take the opportunity to showcase your skills. For example, if you’re applying for an internship at a local newspaper, you may want to include a portfolio of your writing samples. This is especially crucial if your resume is a bit lacking.

5. Consider the benefits of an unpaid internship

Many college students limit their searches to only paid internships.

It’s easy to see why – after all, it’s fantastic to be able to earn college credit, gain job experience, and make some extra cash in the process.

While paid internships are amazing opportunities that are always worth applying for, you’ll also want to cast a wider net by expanding your search to include unpaid internships.

These can be less competitive than paid internships, and by including them in your search, you can improve your odds.

Although an unpaid internship may not provide a chance to earn money, consider the other advantages, especially if the internship is being offered at a company you’d love to work at some day.

In fact, approximately 72 percent of interns are eventually offered jobs with the company, according to a National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Internship & Co-op survey conducted in 2016.

6. Brush up on your interview skills

If you’re called in for an interview, congratulations! This means you’re a serious contender for the internship. Going on an interview can be a little intimidating, especially if it’s something you’re not used to or if it will be your first job interview.

This could be another way that your college’s career services department can help you, but if not, ask a friend or family member to help you out.

Having a few mock interviews with someone you’re comfortable with can help you prepare for the real thing when the time comes.

7. Follow up

After you’ve had your interview, be sure to always follow up with a thank-you note. Sending a thank-you note by postal mail adds a personal touch, but sending it by email works just fine, too. If you don’t hear anything within the expected timeframe, don’t forget to follow up. While you don’t want to be overly persistent, expressing that you’re still interested is also important.

8. Talk to previous interns

If you know anybody who has previously interned at a company you’d to work or intern for, this person can offer some very valuable insight. Ask about the application and interview process and if they can provide any tips on what you should or shouldn’t do.

If possible, ask if you can get an introduction to the person who is hiring for the internship position, assuming it’s the same person the previous intern also worked with.

This type of networking can go a long way and can perhaps be just what you need to get your foot in the door and land that internship.

Still trying to find the right internship for you? Check out 5 Ways to Find an Internship.


8 Tips for Getting an Awesome Internship

How to Land a Great Internship

The right internship can get you valuable experience in your chosen field and set you on the right path for a successful career. The best internships are competitive, but with some smart preparation, you can position yourself to land your dream gig. Here are eight tips for getting an awesome internship.


The first step in landing the perfect internship is identifying the right opportunity for you. To get a feel for what kind of internship you should be applying for, it’s important to talk to someone who’s worked in the field you would to make your career. This can include a professor, academic advisor, a family friend, or someone in your personal network.

Talking to someone who’s currently working in the profession would be ideal, since they will know about industry trends and will have plenty of insight on where to best focus your energy.

Tell them what you see yourself doing and what types of openings you’d be interested in to start a discussion.

By networking, you won’t just get informed advice, but you might wind up with a new contact that can put you in touch with a potential lead.


Schools often establish relationships with local companies in order to get students internships they can trust.

Since schools will grant college credit for internships, they want to make sure these positions are actually learning experiences and not just busy work for students.

Applying for an internship that’s university-approved can help take some of the stress and uncertainty the whole process.

Just because an internship isn’t facilitated through your school doesn’t mean that it’s not a great opportunity! It pays to be independent and do additional internship research on your own. If the position is in your field and promises a great learning experience, your school will ly be open to giving you credit for it.


It’s easy to get lost in the flurry of activities and events that take place on campus, but don’t miss out on career fairs. These events are filled with companies looking for their next intern, and they’re a great way to network. Preparation is key: Choose a professional outfit and print out a stack of resumes.

Bring along a portfolio or briefcase to collect pamphlets and business cards, and keep an eye out for companies in your chosen field. Starting a conversation with a recruiter can be intimidating if you haven’t spoken to one before, but don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.

With a firm handshake, tell them what you’re majoring in and when you’ll graduate, then drop some knowledge about their company—you’ll be on your way to chatting in no time.


Chances are there’s an internship available at one of your favorite companies, whether that’s a startup, TV network, retail chain, or food brand. But before you get star struck, determine if these positions are actually going to further your career.

Sure, working for a big name can be alluring, but what happens once the internship is over? Will it get you closer to your career goals? These are important questions to ask. When it comes to choosing the right internship for you, make sure you look at the actual responsibilities of the position.

You may find that a smaller or less familiar company offers better opportunities for you to grow and get useful experience.


Companies don’t always interview for internship openings year-round—if you’re looking for a spring position, for example, you should keep your eyes open for postings as the fall semester begins.

Recruiting times vary, so it’s important to know when the recruiting period is for your industry. Some companies start looking up to a year in advance; do your research so you don’t risk missing a deadline.

You’ll want any advantage you can get, and having your resume in before companies get flooded closer to the submission deadline could be the difference between landing that dream role and having your application get lost in the shuffle.


Your resume will probably be one of the first things your desired company reviews with your application, so a little work polishing yours could really pay off. Be sure to get in touch with your campus’s career center for help with your resume.

The university employees who staff these centers will gladly review your resume to make sure it’s readable and contains all of the relevant experience needed to impress potential employers. Aside from a career center, be sure to run your resume by an advisor or professor as well.

Even having your friends read over your resume may help you catch typos or unclear writing that you may have missed.


Congratulations! You landed an interview for a potential internship—but before you go, make sure you do research on the company itself. Go to its website and read everything you can to educate yourself. Find out who’s in charge and what they do.

If you know or can find out the names of the people who will be interviewing you, make sure to research their career paths and what they do now.

It’s also helpful to read through any “About Us” or “History” sections a company might have on its site to get a sense of the company culture and how they became the company they are today.

And it’s important to show that you’re up to date on the company’s current initiatives, so read through news articles online to find out even more about the company, its direction, and what its strengths are.

One of the easiest ways to find out more about a place is to follow the company and any key employees on social media. This will give even more insight into the company’s current developments, which you can weave naturally into any related interview questions.


Remember, an internship interview isn’t just for a supervisor to see if they’re interested in you—you have to make sure you’re interested in them as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you’ll be doing and whether or not you’ll be getting a true learning experience at the end of the term.

A company that is willing to really teach its interns will have a list of responsibilities ready when you ask.

When it comes to getting an internship, planning ahead can really pay off. When it comes to earning cashback, having the right credit card makes all the difference. Discover’s Student card will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year as a card member, dollar for dollar. Learn more at Discover.

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