Internship… The word is probably lingering in the back of your mind. Your college counselor most likely suggested that it would be a good idea.  And of course, everyone is quick to remind you how internships can jump-start your career. It’s on your list of things to do, but where do you start? What should you be looking for? And more so, what will it mean for your future?

Here's some tips on how to land the PERFECT internship in college!

Put simply, more experience equals more money.  

Having an internship shows future employers that you are a go-getter, a thinker, and a doer.  It leaves an impression; you are passionate enough about the field to work for little to no pay so that you may gain real world experience.  These are qualities that employers look for in an applicant.  More often than not, those who include internships on their resume earn a higher pay rate at the start of their new career than other associates who chose not to do an internship.

Internships can evolve into jobs.

Another perk of internships is that it could lead to your first job, even before you graduate!  Many companies offer intern programs to recruit the best and brightest graduates that universities produce – or just the interns that are smart enough to enter their program.  Internships are stepping stones to getting more out of your career and advancing into the career field early.

Try before you buy.

Internships also are a great way to try out a possible future career before getting too far into your studies.  It’s never too early to seek out an internship to find if the career path you’ve chosen is actually right for you.  Why endure and pay for four to six years of college, only to find out you would have chosen a different path had you known better after you graduate?

So, instead of bringing food from kitchen to table in the nearest restaurant to earn a dollar, start your internship. You can do this at any point in your college career, and many interns earn good money.  You double the job benefits by earning experience and getting paid.

Now, where to begin…  

It boils down to your resume for your intern application. In creating your resume, include your academic studies, community outreach, philanthropic involvement, and extracurricular activities to show how well-rounded of a person you are.  This will enhance your resume and help you stand out when stacked against other applicants.

Next, share your resume with others and ask for help editing: the layout, proofreading for grammar and spelling, and simplifying the language to make precise descriptions and offer the most value behind your skill sets.

I personally hire one or two interns each year.  When reviewing resumes, I’m not looking for a long list of jobs that an applicant has held, but I do look for those who have advanced further than their studies.  If a prospective intern has played sports or is a member of a special interest group, it tells me that they have social experience and know how to work with others on a team.  It also infers that they manage their time well, because they can fit additional activities into their schedules.  I can assume they are worker-bees and will not need much micromanaging once on board.

A solid resume isn’t all that you’ll need to get a good internship, especially one that pays. Letters of recommendation will also help your application stand out. Typically, you will want three or four letters of recommendation from a variety of people: a past or present employer, a professor, a family friend, a coach, or a acquaintance in the professional field you have chosen.  These are contacts you can to list as personal references as well.  Make sure that you ask for their permission before listing them so that they know to be prepared for a phone call or e-mail from a possible future employer.

Finally, prepare yourself by practicing mock interviews with peers or parents.  Think about curve-ball questions that you inevitably will get like, “Why do you want to have an internship at our company?”  “Why should we give you the position over other applicants?” “What do you know about our company?” And my personal favorite, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Naturally, when you discuss your weaknesses you allude to your lack of experience and that the internship is the answer to your personal growth where you eagerly plan to flourish and blossom into a budding professional. Make sure to acknowledge your strengths as well though, marking yourself as a strong candidate and potential leader.

The Search.

Once you are prepared and ready to search for an internship, get online! Work with your career recruiting office or if you want to go after your dream position with a company that you love, give them a call!  Ask if there is an internship program offered or if they would entertain the idea of an intern position?  Many companies do not advertise the fact that they hire interns.  Best of all, it’s easier to find paid internships during the academic portion of the year! Many interns compete for the same position during the summer, making it easier for companies to fill positions without compensation.

Jen_WebJennifer worked four different internships before graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Architectural History and a Marketing and Business Concentration.  As a result, she is now a strategically focused marketing and business leader with over 15 years of experience in championing analytical results for multi-million dollar companies whom target a variety of prospects from the luxury market to B2B corporations throughout the U.S. 

Jennifer is a past board member of the Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Boston.  She is currently serving her third year on the board of the New England Chapter of the International Furnishings & Design Association (IFDA-NE) as the Vice President of Programming.  She developed the inaugural Take-A-Seat™ Traveling Exhibit, Gala and Auction for IFDA-NE which successfully raised thousands of dollars for the Women’s Institute of Housing & Economic Development. She also is a member of the Planning Committee for the Mayor’s Rose Garden Party hosted at the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Fens of Boston’s Back Bay. The events’ proceeds fund Boston’s parks and programs throughout the city.  Jennifer is a strong advocate of the arts and works closely with the Fenway Alliance and TEDxFenway.

Visit to learn more about Jennifer.


6 thoughts on “How to Land the Perfect Internship in College

  1. Oh my! I was just searching and applying for internships this past weekend. This post is great and extremely helpful as I continue to look for internship opportunities!
    I didn’t realize all the benefits of an internship and it makes me eager to keep applying.
    Thanks for the great advice! I will definitely keep in mind while I continue my search. (:


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