If you’re already eager to dive into the professional world, you’ll probably have to push through the difficulty of getting started. Having no experience usually prevents you from getting it in the first place, which is why knowing how to get an internship with no experience can be a career game changer.

Since many students and young people in general face this issue, we’ve decided to compile what we know about the subject in this article to show you how to break the cycle and land your dream internship, even if you have no prior experience.

With our tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to gaining valuable industry knowledge, building a professional network, and kick-starting your career. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Internships are a great way to gain valuable experience and skills, network with professionals, and potentially land a job in your desired field.
  • There are various types of internships available, including paid and unpaid, full-time and part-time, as well as remote and in-person.
  • Before starting your internship search, identify your interests, research different companies, develop new skills, and start networking.
  • You can search for internships through job boards, fairs, and cold emailing.
  • Creating a compelling resume tailored to the specific internship position is important, as it shows that you’ve done research on the company and their mission.
  • Preparing for an internship interview includes researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and dressing appropriately.

When & Why Should You Get an Internship?

An internship is a great opportunity to gain practical experience, develop new job skills, and network with professionals in your desired industry.

Here are some life and career stages when people often decide to opt for internships:

  • Recent graduates. Many recent graduates go for internships to gain hands-on experience and make themselves more marketable to potential employers. Internships provide an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in school and gain valuable industry-specific skills.
  • Career changers. People who are looking to switch careers often use internships to get new experience in a different field. This can be especially useful for those who want to transition to a different industry as it helps them test the waters first.
  • People with no experience in a certain industry. People who lack experience can use internships to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. This is helpful for those looking to break into a highly competitive industry, such as media or finance.
  • Students. Internships are a great opportunity for students who are looking for ways on how to get an internship while in college as it can help them gain practical experience and build their professional network while still in school. Many academic programs require students to complete an internship, since it’s a valuable real-world experience.

Types of Internships

There are several types of internships available, and they can vary widely depending on the industry, company, and location.

Here are some of the most common types:

  • Paid internships. These internships provide an hourly wage to compensate interns for their work. Paid internships are often more competitive and may require a higher level of education or some experience.
  • Unpaid internships. These types of internships do not provide monetary compensation, but they may offer academic credit, mentorship, training, or networking opportunities.
  • Virtual/Remote internships. Remote internships allow you to work from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Virtual internships are becoming increasingly popular, especially since the pandemic has made remote work more common.
  • Summer internships. These internships take place during the summer months and can be full-time or part-time. They are targeted towards students who are on summer break from school.
  • Nonprofit internships. You will find these types of internships at nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit internships can provide experience in fields such as social services, education, and advocacy.

How to Prepare For an Internship Search

Here are some steps you can take to prepare for an internship search:

  • Find your interests. The first step in preparing for an internship search is to identify what you’re interested in and what skills you have. Think about what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to learn more about. This will help you narrow down the list of potential internships.
  • Research companies. After identifying your interests, start researching companies that offer internship opportunities in those fields. Look for companies that align with your values and offer the types of projects and experiences you’re looking for.
  • Network. Networking is essential when it comes to finding an internship. Reach out to alumni, professors, and professionals in your desired field to learn more about potential internship opportunities. Attend career fairs and other networking events as well.
  • Keep your GPA high. Many companies require a minimum GPA for their internship programs. Make sure you’re maintaining a high GPA to make yourself more competitive for these positions.
  • Do some side projects. Side projects are a great way to develop new skills and demonstrate your passion for your chosen field. Consider working on personal projects or for some nonprofit organizations to gain relevant experience.
  • Develop new skills. Look for opportunities to develop skills that are relevant to your desired field. Take courses, attend workshops, or join clubs to gain new knowledge and show your commitment to the field.
  • Volunteer. Volunteering helps you gain experience and demonstrate your dedication to your community. Look for volunteer options in your chosen field to gather relevant experience. This is also a great way for you to network with professionals in the industry.

How to Get an Internship Step 1 – Create a Compelling Resume

phone that says internship opportunity inside a pocket

The first step to getting an internship is to create a compelling resume. Even if you have no previous work experience, a well-crafted resume can showcase your skills and potential to recruiters.

Here are some tips on how to create a strong internship resume:

#1. Contact Information

Include your full name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile link at the top of your resume. Make sure that your email address is simple, professional, and appropriate. Avoid using nicknames, slang, humor, or personal email addresses, as this will make you seem unprofessional.

If you decide to add your LinkedIn profile, check if it’s up-to-date and include a professional headshot.

Including your contact information on an internship resume is important as it lets potential employers reach out to you for further communication.

#2. Education

The education section of your internship resume should focus on your academic achievements and credentials. This section should include your degree, school name, location, and graduation date for each item on the list.

List your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, with the most recent degree or certification first.

If you also have a high GPA, include it in this section. You can also include any relevant coursework or academic projects. To highlight these, add them next to your education section or in a separate section with a heading such as “Relevant coursework” or “Projects”.

#3. Work Experience

This section should include any formal or informal work experience, such as internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work. For each position, list the job title, company name, location, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments.

If you have limited work experience, you will need to focus on relevant skills. Keep in mind that employers understand that you may not have extensive work experience in the field; however, it’s still important to showcase any transferable skills you might have.

#4. No Work Experience

If you don’t have any prior formal work experience, focus on your education and any relevant coursework, projects, or extracurricular activities. Here are some tips to help you highlight your strengths:

  1. Start with a strong objective statement or summary that showcases your skills, goals, and enthusiasm for the internship position.
  2. Use action verbs to describe your achievements.
  3. Include any volunteer work that you’ve done prior to this application.


You can also consider highlighting any awards or recognition you received for your academic achievements.

#5. Skills

Highlighting your skills is one of the most important aspects of creating a strong internship resume, especially if you don’t have a lot of work experience.

Here are some tips for including your skills on an internship resume:

  • List your skills in a separate section of your resume, typically after your education and work experience.
  • Focus on relevant skills for the internship you’re applying for.
  • Describe your skills using action verbs. Instead of saying that you have “strong communication skills”, say “effectively communicated with team members to achieve project goals”.
  • Include hard skills and soft skills.
  • Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills. Instead of saying “proficient in Microsoft Excel”, say “created and analyzed complex financial models using Microsoft Excel” instead.

#6. Other Sections

Consider including additional sections such as awards, publications, or languages you speak if they are related to the internship. For example, if you’re applying for an internship with a global company, listing your proficiency level in a foreign language can be a great asset.

#7. Cover Letter

A well-crafted cover letter is definitely important, as it can help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of landing the internship. Your cover letter should be addressed to the hiring manager and highlight your interest in the company and the specific internship.

Explain why you would be a good fit for the role and provide specific examples of your skills and experiences that align with the job description.

How to Get an Internship Step 2 – Search Job Boards

The next step is finding internship opportunities. To do so, you can head over to online job boards and look for your desired field.

Here are some job boards and platforms where you can search for internships:

  • LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform where you can search for internships by using the job search function. You can also set up alerts for new internship postings in your desired field.
  • Indeed. Indeed is a popular job search engine where you can find internships by using keywords and location filters. To apply, create a free account and upload your resume. You can set up alerts for new, open positions in this engine as well.
  • Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a platform that provides company reviews and salary information. You can use the platform to search for internships by using specific keywords and entering your location. Create a free account and upload your resume to apply.
  • Internships.com. As the name suggests, Internships.com is a platform dedicated to connecting students with internship opportunities. Some listings may ask you to submit additional materials such as a cover letter or writing samples as well. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  • Handshake. Handshake is targeted towards college students and recent graduates. If you’d like to apply, you need to create a free account and complete your profile. This platform is also a great way for you to connect with recruiters and career service professionals at your school.

How to Get an Internship Step 3 – Job Fairs

woman getting interviewed at a job fair

Job fairs are events where employers and job seekers come together to discuss job opportunities, including internships. Attending a job fair can be a great way to meet recruiters and learn about internship programs in your field of interest.

Networking events, especially, can be a great way to meet with professionals in your field and learn about internship opportunities.

Here are some tips on how to behave and what to say at a job fair or networking event:

  • Dress professionally. This shows that you’re serious about finding an internship and are ready to represent yourself in a professional manner. Opt for a suit or blazer.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume. This is important so that you can hand them out to recruiters. Make sure your resume is up to date and tailored to the internship you’re applying for.
  • Be approachable. Smile and make eye contact to show that you’re open to meeting new people. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation with someone.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short introduction that highlights your skills and experiences. Prepare a 30-second pitch that shows your strengths and why you’re interested in the company.
  • Ask questions. Show your interest in the company by asking thoughtful questions about the internship programs and the company culture. This will also help you decide whether the internship is a good fit for you.
  • Follow up. After the job fair, send a thank-you email to the recruiters you spoke with. This will show that you appreciate their time and that you’re interested in hearing from them again.

How to Get an Internship Step 4 – Cold Emailing

Cold emailing can be a proactive way to find internship opportunities. Here are some tips on how to write an effective one:

  1. Address the right person. Find out who is in charge of hiring interns and address your email to them directly. This is a great way to show that you’ve done research on the company.
  2. Be concise. Keep your email brief and to the point. Introduce yourself, explain why you’re interested in the company, and ask if there are any internship opportunities available.
  3. Highlight your skills. Use your email to showcase your skills and experiences. Explain why you would be a good fit for their company and how you can contribute to their team.


Here’s an example of a cold email you can send:

Subject: Seeking Internship Opportunities at CardsBun Inc.

Dear Mrs. Choi,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is Joshua Houston, and I am a graphic design student at the University of California. I came across your company’s website and was impressed by your work with Apple and Microsoft. I am interested in pursuing an internship opportunity with your company this summer.

I have a strong interest in web and social media design and am excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field. My previous experiences at the UX/UI Design courses and certifications I’ve gathered have equipped me with great web and ad design skills, which I believe would make me a valuable addition to your team.

If there are any internship opportunities available, I would love to learn more about them and how I can apply. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Joshua Houston

How to Get an Internship Step 5 – Prepare For the Interview

Assuming that some of the steps above worked and you’ve been invited to an interview, congratulations! The next step is preparation.

Preparing for your interview is crucial if you want to make a good impression and increase your chances of getting hired.

Here are some tips you can follow to prepare for your internship interview:

  • Review the job description. Make sure you understand the responsibilities and qualifications listed in the job description. This can help you prepare answers to questions about your skill level and experience.
  • Research your interview panel. Before going to your interview, research the company and try to find out who might be interviewing you. It might be one person, but for mid to large companies, in most cases, it’s going to be an interview panel.
  • Prepare answers to common interview questions. Look at some common interview questions and practice your answers. Be ready to talk about your strengths and weaknesses as well.
  • Arrive early. Go to your interview early to allow for any unexpected delays. Being late can leave a bad first impression so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Practice your body language and tone of voice. Remain calm and stoic to show that you’re confident and professional. Avoid slouching as this can make you look disinterested.
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the internship. This can include questions such as “What are the company’s goals for the next five years?” or “What does a working day look like in your company?”.

8 Final Tips on Getting an Internship

Here are some final tips on getting an internship:

  • Keep your social media clean. Many employers check social media profiles when considering candidates. Make sure your profiles are professional and do not contain anything that could be seen as offensive or inappropriate.
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to different opportunities. Customizing your resume and cover letter to a specific internship you’re applying for can show the employer that you’ve done proper research and that you are a good fit for the position.
  • Use college career advisors. Many colleges and universities have career centers that can provide resources and advice on finding internships. Make sure to take advantage of these services.
  • Be persistent. Finding an internship can take time and effort. Don’t give up if you don’t get hired right away. Keep applying and networking until you find the right fit for you.
  • Stay positive. Remain confident and positive throughout your internship search. Believe in your abilities and show your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Employers are looking for candidates who are eager to learn and grow in their field.
  • Be open to different types of internships. Consider applying for internships outside of your desired field or industry. This can be a great way to gain valuable experience and transferable skills.
  • Use keywords in your application. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes and cover letters. Make sure you include relevant keywords and phrases from the job posting to increase your chances of making it through the initial screening process.
  • Prepare for rejection. Not every internship application will result in an offer. Prepare yourself for the possibility of rejection and use it as an opportunity to learn and improve your application for future opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Getting an internship may seem daunting at first, but with the right mindset and approach, you can land the opportunity of your dreams.

Whether it’s polishing your resume, networking like a pro, or perfecting your interview skills, the key is to stay focused, be persistent, and always keep a positive attitude. Keep in mind that the best things in life often come from taking a chance and stepping out of your comfort zone.

So, put yourself out there and use our tips and tricks to guide you through the world of internship opportunities.