No one teaches you how to apply for an internship, so we're here to help! Check out our short step by step guide to apply to and landing your first internship!

How to Apply for (and Land) an Internship: Step by Step

by: Alyssa Olvera

If you're like most college students, you're probably wondering how you can get an internship for the upcoming semester. Landing an internship is no easy task, but with the right approach, you can make it happen. In this blog post, we will outline some tips and advice that will help you secure a great internship in the coming year. Let's get started!

Research & Adjust your Resume

The first thing that you need to do is research the companies and internships that you are interested in applying for. Take special note of the internship requirements and responsibilities, and be sure to connect your experiences to this information. Using keywords from the job description can really help you when employers (or bots) are reviewing your resume.

If you’re still looking for a way to format your resume? Harvard has got you covered. Check out their cover letter and resume tips and examples on their public accessible PDF.

Reach Out

Reach out to your network of contacts. See if anyone you know has an inside connection at any of the companies on your list. If they do, ask for an introduction. If not, don’t worry – you can still reach out to the company directly to chat with any of the employees on the team! This will show you have a deep interest in the company, and can put you ahead of other candidates.

Apply! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

You’ve gotten this far, so do not let imposter syndrome get the best of you. The application process will vary from company to company, but you can generally expect to fill out an online application and submit a resume. Some companies may also require you to complete a skills test or writing sample, so it is important to prepare for those if necessary. Your application will most likely be the company’s first impression of you, so make it count!

Prepare and Practice

Once you have submitted your application, it’s time to start preparing for your interview. Refer back to that internship description and job responsibilities page! Try and weave keywords into your responses. Make sure to do your research on the company and the position that you are applying for as well so you are prepared for any question they may throw at you.

Practice your answers to common interview questions, and reach out to your network again to see if anyone can give you any insider tips. Here are three you're sure to get during most interviews.

3 Common Interview questions and how to answer them

Tell me about yourself: This is your chance to show the employer who you are outside of your resume. Let them know you have interests outside of work and that you’re a cool person to hang out with too!

What is your greatest strength?: It is always important to sharpen your strength using the job description and a personalized story. Look at the job requirements/duties list on the job description and be sure to connect your strength to any of those key skills necessary for the job. If your description says they want someone detail oriented, don’t just tell them you are, show them through a story where your detail orientedness saved the day.

What is your greatest weakness?:

Interpret the questions in practical terms rather than personality flaws.

Bad answers: "I don’t work well under pressure," or "I take criticism personally."

Ingenuine answers: “I’m too hardworking,” or “I’m too passionate.”

Good answer: Speak about real weaknesses that are relevant to the job, but also fixable things that you'll correct soon after being hired. Something like, “I don’t have much experience working with [one of the job’s roles], but am eager to learn how best I can improve.”

Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected.

The day of your interview has finally arrived! Don’t be nervous, remember, you have been selected for a reason! Be sure to dress professionally and arrive on time and if possible, early. During the interview, be sure to answer all of the questions honestly and to the best of your ability. Prepare questions of your own, this will express your interest in the position.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

After your interview, it’s time to follow up. Send a thank-you note to the interviewer (or interviewers) and reiterate your interest in the position.

Sample message:

Hi [Interviewer Name],

Thank you for the opportunity to chat with you regarding the [position title] role. It was such a pleasure to meet you and learn more about the position, team and company goals.

I look forward to hearing back from you. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any additional questions/need any additional information.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

If you don’t hear back in a week, it’s okay to reach out again and inquire about the status of your application. This will likely lead the employer to view your portfolio or resume once again, giving you an upper hand. If you are offered the internship, congratulations! If not, don’t get discouraged – there will be other opportunities.

And that’s it! Following these steps should help you land an internship in 2023. Just remember to start early, do your research, and be persistent.

PathMatch can help you find internships that align with your interests. Sign up for your free PathMatch profile today!