College Finance

Getting a College Internship

What you need to do: 

As a college student, you’re well on your way to building a bright future — both financially and personally. Your education will give you broader horizons, a larger network of connections and easier access to a wider range of professional opportunities.

However, competition for these opportunities upon graduation will be fierce. Getting a college internship can really help you stand out among the competition — especially in the industries that require previous internship experience. But how can you get a college internship? Try following these three steps:

1.) Polish your resume:

Showcase your skills, abilities and experiences in a resume that’s well designed and error free. Summarize what you have to offer prospective employers, not what you want them to offer you, at the top of the resume so they can see if you’re a fit for them at a glance. Incorporate keywords into your resume that align with the skills and experiences they’re seeking in their next intern. Then list your relevant work, volunteer and academic experiences in order of most-to-least recent below. Include your technical skills, education and other points of interest toward the bottom of your resume, such as other languages you speak and certifications you have. Check out “How to Make a Resume” from wikiHow for additional tips.

2.) Plan ahead:

Want a college internship next summer? You might want to consider searching for opportunities the autumn before. That’s when universities hold their career fairs, where you can start to make connections and see what kinds of internship opportunities are available to you. Continue to search for internships at such sites as or in the Jobs section of LinkedIn on a regular basis, apply throughout the fall, winter and spring months and follow up until you get the right internship for you.

3.) Get creative:

Not finding the right opportunities at career fairs or online? Consider approaching your dream employers directly. Since they may not have thought about having an intern before, be prepared to propose what types of tasks you’d perform for them. Also, just because you’re an intern, you don’t necessarily have to work for free. Ask for minimum wage at least, or a weekly or monthly stipend. If they don’t have the budget to pay you for your services, consider arranging a trade, such as all-expenses-paid travel to their business convention if it takes place during your time as an intern, ongoing mentoring or another mutually beneficial arrangement.

Why a College Internship is Important:

As an intern, you’ll gain hands-on experience, ideally in the line of work you’d like to pursue upon graduation. In the process, you’ll better understand what you’re setting out to do with your life. This enhanced understanding can help bring more meaning and focus to your studies. You’ll also build your arsenal of work-related stories to tell prospective employers during future job interviews.

After all, whom do you think your dream employer would want to hire more? The interviewee who only talked about getting good grades during college? Or the interviewee who shared relevant on-the-job experiences, insights and ideas gained as a college intern? You, the college intern, that’s who!

Created and compiled by Kristy Bertsch, cuLearn and a talented writer/editor

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