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How to Win an Internship

Internships provide valuable experience prior to graduation. Here’s how to win the one you have your eye on. [TWEET]

College is filled with many amazing experiences. Among them: networking with professionals and experts in your field, building lifelong relationships with classmates and sharing some – shall we say less than mature – experiences with friends.

The biggest advantage to college however, often isn’t those internal offerings academic advisors constantly endorse, it ‘s the hands-on learning found with company internships. Learning at the hands of the industry masters not only builds your self-esteem and skills, it connects you with potential employers and references for the future.

Before you can soak in the warmth of a hard-earned internship, you have to, well, earn it. The following guide will help college students learn how to get an internship with no experience and begin to prepare for a better career future.

Time to dust off your resume, and give it a spit shine!

Okay, so you’ve taken those two-hour career center training sessions online. After following all the advice, you think you have the perfect resume. Well, take another, even three or four, looks. Be sure to avoid common mistakes before sending your “perfect” resume to the recruiters.

  • Is your contact information current?

  • Do you have a career summary and skill listing?

  • Is your education section at the top?

  • Have you listed college engagement and participation?

  • Is your resume one page?

Ask a professor to look over your resume to ensure you haven’t missed any crucial information. If they’re in a related field, they may have insight into your industry and can guide you with both the resume and interview questions.

Send your application in on time

The next stop to learning how to get an internship with no experience involves timeliness. While this is a no-brainer to most, hiring managers reporting late applications is one of the most common mistakes college students make when applying for an internship. Send your application in early, preferably when the professor announces it. If the application is hardcopy, type it rather than use your own handwriting. And make sure you don’t spill coffee or beer on the paper.

Practice for the interview

Ask a professor to help you practice for the interview. They will evaluate your performance and give you valuable pointers. Remember, your professors were likely managers in the industry before they started teaching. Their advice is crucial. Additionally, recruiters sometimes ask weird questions, while others are more standard. Here are a few questions hiring managers ask potential interns:

  • What do you want to do with your life?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • Why did you choose the major you did?

  • Why are you interested in this profession?

  • What do you bring to the table in terms of skill sets?

  • What makes you different or special?

Ask for other opportunities, even unpaid ones

Companies only make available a specific number of paid internships. Should you not get this position, don’t be scared to ask if there are any positions available for earned college credit. In other words, you get college credit and on-the-job training, and they get free labor. It’s a win-win for both sides. Also ask if there are any entry-level paid positions you can work. Explain to them you want to learn the business from the lowest to highest positions.

Takeaways

Learning how to get an internship with no experience doesn't have to be difficult. Internships are one of the best opportunities for college students. They provide valuable experience prior to graduation, connect students with industry leaders and train them to operate in real-world scenarios. Taking time to prepare for these opportunities will help increase students’ chances for winning internships and more important positions.

One valuable piece of advice a college professor once gave: “Treat the internship as both classroom learning and a job. Many times, companies will hire those interns who outperformed the others, giving them a step up in their career path. And never burn any bridges.”

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Write your resume like a pro.

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!