How to Get an Internship in College: Must-Know Tips for Landing an Intern Position

Internships are more than just a way to fill up your resume. They can be a valuable tool in helping you achieve your career goals or help you figure out what you want to do if you haven’t already. 

Additionally, internships are a critical aspect of your college experience that can provide you with a competitive edge in the job market. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, in 2021, more than 60% of interns transitioned to full-time positions after completing their internship.

In this article, we will go over how to get an internship in college and provide some essential tips to make your search and application process go more smoothly.

Benefits of Internships in College

First, before getting into the nitty gritty, let’s review some of the key reasons college students should pursue an internship.

  • Gain hands-on experience
  • Apply theoretical knowledge learned in class
  • Learn about different career fields
  • Develop practical skills like communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and other career-readiness skills
  • Network within your industry
  • Improve your CV
  • Get a full-time job offer after graduation

As you can see, internships are a valuable part of your college experience. But how do you get an internship? 

How to Find an Internship

student working on a computer

Getting an internship doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and dedication. So follow these tips for help from start to finish!

1. Start Early

Starting your job search early is one of the most crucial steps to improve your chances of securing an internship. Don’t procrastinate until the last minute to begin your search. For example, if you want a summer internship, you should conduct your search in the fall and prepare your application materials by winter. That way, you’re ready to submit when the application opens in late winter or early spring. 

Additionally, you can start researching internship opportunities as early as your freshman year. We recommend beginning by talking to your career center, professors, and alums to get information about different internships in your field. Once you know more or less what interests you, it’s time for step two. 

2. Utilize Online Resources and Your Networks

Now that you know your interests, it’s time to research potential internship opportunities. There are many resources- online and in-person -available to help you find internships. Some good places to look for help are: 

The career center on your campus - They can help you with your internship search by telling you about specific internships for your career path or pointing you where to look. They can also help you prepare your application materials when it comes time.

Career fairs - These events are a great way to network with employers and find paid and unpaid internships. Be sure to come professionally dressed and with several copies of your resume. Send follow-up emails to employers and thank them for speaking with you.

Online job boards - You can use many online job boards to find internships and filter your search by preferences. Some websites, like Google and LinkedIn, will let you set up alerts about new job listings that match your criteria.

  • Google 
  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • GlobalExperiences
  • CoolWorks
  • CheggInternships
  • InternAbroadUSA
  • Christian internship websites

Industry-specific websites - There are websites that list industry-specific internships, such as Mediabistro for media and communications positions. 

Your school’s website and alumni network - Your school’s website may list internships or link to the alum network. A good place to start, especially if you’re unsure what you want to do, is by contacting alumni and asking them about what they do. 

Family members’ companies - You can also conduct informational interviews with family members or your parent’s friends and ask them about their companies. Maybe they can even recommend you for an internship! 

Carefully read the job descriptions, list the internships that interest you, and note important information about each (requirements, location, pay, hours, company culture, learning objectives, type of work, etc.).

3. Prepare Your Application Materials

Before applying for internships, you’ll need to prepare your application materials. Preparation typically includes a resume, cover letter, and other supporting documents the internship application requires. Your school’s career center can guide you in creating these materials and ensuring they are polished and professional.

4. Apply for Multiple Internships

With your application materials ready, it’s time to apply for internships. Follow the application instructions carefully and tailor your resume and cover letter to each position and company. It’s also important to apply for multiple internships to increase your chances of landing one.

5. Prepare for Interviews

Once you start getting interview offers, it’s time to prepare. Research the company, the position, and the person interviewing you (if you know). Then, practice answering common interview questions. It may even be helpful to do a role play with a family member to practice answering the questions out loud. You can also record yourself to check your posture, speed, tone, and body language. When it’s time for the interview, dress professionally and arrive early.

6. Follow Up with Employers

After an interview, follow up with the employer or hiring manager by sending them a thank-you email. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to apply and interview and reiterate your interest in the position. 

How to Get an Internship With No Experience?

If you don’t have any prior work experience, don’t fret! Before applying to internships, you can focus on building the skills you need to be successful in the position. Look for online courses, tutorials, or workshops to help you gain internship skills. This will show your willingness to learn and improve yourself.

Then, customize your resume to highlight your skills and any relevant coursework or projects. Finally, when writing a cover letter, provide examples from your experiences, education, or extracurricular activities to show you are a good fit for the role and emphasize your strengths.

Wrapping Up

Internships are a crucial part of the college experience, allowing students to gain real-world experience, develop valuable skills, and make essential connections. By adhering to the steps we’ve outlined, you’ll be well on your way to landing an internship that can help jumpstart your career. Remember, internships can be competitive, so be persistent, stay focused, and don’t give up. With hard work and dedication, you’ll be able to find the perfect internship for you.

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