How do I get an internship you find.

Chapter 2

Don't underestimate the value of internships. These things aren't easy to get.

Good internships with reputable companies who know how to give you a worthwhile experience and training are in fact relatively hard to get. The National Basketball Association, for example, has internships, and you can guess how popular they are. The NBA also has only so many places, most of which are, naturally, filled.

Let's start from Square One.

You've picked the place(s) you want to do your internship.

You've talked to your college beforehand, you know what your credit situation will be with an internship, and what you need to do in all conceivable circumstances. (Note: you need to pin all this down anyway, get a very clear idea of how your internship will work in terms of qualifications.)

You've got yourself mentally and physically scheduled properly and organized to be able to do an internship.

Now all you have to do is get an interview for the internship, beat everyone else for a place, do the internship, glue it all together, and get your degree.

Simple, isn't it?

The Internship CV

You're not expected to have a library of work experience and a big employment history.

You are, however, expected to have:

  • A related major, and educational supporting information
  • Evidence of some basic skills
  • References
  • Credibility

This material, and the related cover letter, are what will get you the interview.

If all this sounds pretty basic, it is.

That's an extremely good reason for getting it right.

The internship applications come in torrents. If you were getting an in-tray full of applications, how thrilled would you be to see one that was full of typos, couldn't even spell the applicant's own name correctly, and was dated three years from now? Would that be your idea of the perfect applicant?

How about if the reason for applying was something inspiring, like I have to do this internship to get my major, would that help, or hinder, do you think?

Keep it simple, and to the point.

The internship people need to know:

  1. Who you are as a person
  2. Your educational background
  3. Whether you qualify at their internship standard
  4. Your track record as an employee, or any other information about you as a potential employee, which is what you'll be in fact, even if you're called an intern.
  5. Your motives for applying for the internship.


You want an internship at The New York Times. You're doing a journalism degree, your grades are good, you run one of the college news departments, you won a few competitions. You have a part time job with a local magazine, and have even written a couple of articles for them.

Your heart and soul are entirely wrapped up in your work. Your friends are complaining that you're not having conversations with them lately, you're interviewing them.

The New York Times sees all this, asks a few questions which confirm their suspicion that you're a newsperson down the bone marrow, and says OK, you can have an internship in our local NY News Department.

Are they guessing about your level of commitment, or your credentials?

They know about your grades and your work because you told them all this in your CV and your covering letter.

The CV has to be very clear, relevant to the internship, and leave no doubt you're the guy for the job.

They're not guessing about your other achievements, either, because you fitted all of those neatly into the covering letter, including your two articles for the local magazine.

The questions simply highlighted all of that, and got a bit more information.

In short, they're convinced you're the right person for the internship, largely because you are the right person.

That's what we mean about Who you are as a person as being one of the relevant criteria.

That's exactly what they need to know.

The Interview

This is, as we said, a formal process. The interview is the make or break part of that process.

There's one very important interview technique you'll need to know:

Don't go off topic.

Whatever else you do, stay on the subject.

Your communications skills are part of the mix in any training position, and the interviewer needs to know you can communicate effectively.

The questions are, necessarily, based on the fundamental needs of the internship.

So these questions are unavoidable:

  • Why do you want the internship?
  • Can you do the work?
  • What other credentials make you the best candidate for the internship?

This actually is a competitive process.

The unspoken question is the biggest one of all: Can you convince us you're the best person for the internship?

Because so many of the high value internships are so ultra competitive, that's the question where you have to get a really good score.

There'll be a line of people to the next country for some of these internships, and you're trying to beat all of them.

There's a lot of information floating around on the net and elsewhere about How To Get Internships, and doing internship interviews.

Some of it's pretty savvy, some is really appalling, and a lot of it really rehashes job interview techniques.

A lot of it's filler stuff, like how to dress yourself, and send a nicely addressed envelope to someone.

Seriously, the interview, any interview, isn't a purely cosmetic process.

We're not so sure people desperately need lessons in grooming and stationery management as the major skill sets in doing important interviews.

We just happen to be a front line international employment advisory site, so we'll keep it simple and to the point:

  • Go for the internship you really want.
  • Think about what the internship means to you.
  • Be yourself, show your skills, use your talents. (You do know all the stuff you need, anyway.)
  • Be real, back up your application with your real work.

These are the Do's:

  • Listen to the interviewer.
  • Think about your answers so you know what you're telling the interviewer.
  • Be clear in your replies.
  • If you don't understand something, ask.

Now the Don'ts:

  • Don't be a zombie, reciting a script. (There']'s a real chance you might give a completely inappropriate reply. Someone says Why do you want this internship?, and you reply Because I have excellent communication skills. Don't do that.)
  • Don't bother getting nervous. You don't have the time. An interview is part of the job, so do the job.
  • Don't go off topic. (Just repeat that a few hundred times a day. It really helps, mainly as aversion therapy to having to do that.)

The fundamentals of interviews, like presentation, do apply to internship interviews. However,