How to Land College Internships

College Internships

By Irene Starygina

In today’s job market, having a college internship (or three) under your belt can be a big help when you're trying to land a full-time job after graduation. Job boards are brimming with unpaid internships, with companies doing everything they can to cut costs. But don’t scoff at an opportunity just because it doesn’t come with a paycheck. College internships are often the only way to learn skills not covered in the classroom. Plus, your college may even require you to complete at least one internship for school credit as part of your major. So how do you make your cover letter (yes, you need one!) and resume stand out to overburdened assistants? Check out our guide to college internships from current students and young professionals who’ve been through the coffee runs:

Internships: Get paid to aid 
If you’re serious about finding an internship, you have to be resourceful, MacGyver-style.

Types of Internships
Leverage this guide to better understand what’s out there and how you can tell what you'll get out of each position.

Make the Most of Your Internship
Follow these steps to make your internship a success.

A Career Planning Checklist for College Students
A year-by-year checklist charting how you can get a head start on your career while you're still in college.


4 tips for landing college internships, from personal experience:

Keep your resume to one page: There's nothing more annoying to recruiters than a 3-page resume—especially when the applicant is still in college. Decrease the size of your margins and shrink the font if you have to, but keep your resume to one page! Remember, most recruiters see dozens of resumes a day and typically spend just a few moments glancing over each.

Cover letters are a must: If you’re too tired to tailor a cover letter to a position, you probably don’t want the job that much anyway. I once made the mistake of sending out what I thought was an amazing cover letter to a dozen employers, only changing the vital details. Needles to say, I didn’t get many responses. Instead of hurriedly blasting out emails, spend half an hour on each application. I guarantee you’ll get better results.

Follow up: Sending a thank-you note after an interview is a must. It is considered rude not to thank your interviewer for their time the same or following day. Your email should be less than one paragraph, and to the point. has great samples of interview thank you letters.

Build your LinkedIn page: It’s a fact: hiring managers Google your name. So why have your Facebook page be the top search result when you can make your honors and awards stand out on LinkedIn? Keep your summary short and to the point. Upload a picture. Do a Gmail import to build your network. Set your Facebook privacy settings to the highest levels so your LinkedIn profile is the first thing that comes up when your name is entered into Google.