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Internship

How to land an Internship with no experience?

Written by Shefali Sundram

Updated on: 03 Jan 2024

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Landing your first internship can be difficult, especially because you’ve no prior experience. But the truth is, we all must start somewhere.

As bland as it sounds, there’s no magic formula to find an internship with no experience. These tips will help you get an internship with no experience:

  • Decide your career.
  • Maintain a good GPA and academics.
  • Know what type of internship you want.
  • Check on-campus placements.
  • Join a university group.
  • Network.
  • Create a resume.
  • Create a cover letter.
  • Build a LinkedIn profile.
  • Apply for internships online.

Now, the question arises,

How to create a resume?

How to create a cover letter?

Where to find online or offline internship opportunities?

How to apply for an internship?

In this think piece, we will unpack all these questions and learn how to get an internship with no experience. Let’s begin with the tips!

Decide what career interests you

Research about different career options in your field. For example, if you’re an engineering student, explore different career paths like developer or data analyst. As you learn more about these fields, you can apply for internships of your choice.

Also, are there specific companies in your mind? List down their names on a tracker. What are the requirements to get an internship there? How many requirements do you fulfill? What more can you do to get selected by them? And then, take action! While some companies focus on qualified candidates, some ask for experiential knowledge.

Maintain a good GPA and academics

To get a good GPA, manage your time, set realistic goals, practice test papers, take notes, study regularly, and take the right tutoring. You can read this article on how to improve your GPA for more help.

In case your GPA is average, you can still stand out with some courses and certificates in your field. Sign up for free or paid online courses and tests, perform well, take certificates, and that’s it!

GPA calculator

What type of internship do you want to take?

Are you looking for work from home? Or would you consider working from the office? If yes, what is the location that you will prefer? What are your traveling options and costs? Do you want a free or a paid internship? These questions will help you filter down your options and find the specific type of internship that you want.

Check on-campus opportunities

Search for internships that are available via your department or other campus offices. Since these internships are frequently created for students, they frequently fit around your class schedule and are suitable for people without experience.

Career centers are useful tools for students searching for opportunities to expand their skills and locate employment or internships. Even if you lack job experience, the career center professionals can assist you in identifying pertinent talents or pursuits that may be converted into attributes companies are seeking. 

Colleges have connections with companies and are informed of openings for jobs, including internships and volunteer positions.

To help you stand out from the competition, you may also work with your professors to help you create a good cover letter and CV.

Join a university group

A smart method to network in your industry and find chances is to join an organization focused on your hobbies or professional aspirations. You can locate groups on your school’s website or social media pages.

Network

Occasionally it’s just about who you know, rather than who you are, what you know, or what you’re excellent at. You can network with professionals on LinkedIn or visit job/internship career fairs and meet people! Another way to network with different faculty members of your college.

Networking is an excellent approach to finding internships, whether you’re seeking paid or unpaid positions with no experience. That implies that once you let others know you’re seeking an internship, your name will be added to the top list of candidates.

Create a resume

Before searching for an internship, do your homework. You need to create a resume! This is a crucial step as it forms a big part of your application process. 

  • Highlight your transferable skills, education, and volunteer work on your resume. 
  • You can use a resume template to understand how it should be made and the correct way to outline it. 

Follow these tips to create an impactful resume:

Add soft skills and hard skills

Even without having interned before, students have a variety of skills they possess. These are gained through extracurricular activities.

  • Soft skills are those such as communication, presentation, time management, and leadership. These skills primarily reflect how good an employee can be. 
  • On the other hand, hard skills are proficiency in Canva, Adobe Photoshop, or Lightroom. It refers to skills that you may know that are specific to the job. 

Highlight education

When you’re on the search for your first internship, highlighting the background of your education is a must. Since this is the start of your career, educational background matters. Your GPA can substantiate your lack of experience.

But this isn’t the case after you’ve accumulated significant experience. Employers tend to review your different work experiences gained through internships.

Include extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities are known to boost college applications and can help you out with landing your first internship too. These activities range from academics to clubs and volunteering!

Show your academic activity

If you’ve taken part in Model United Nations or were part of Debate associations, it shows that you’re also an avid learner outside the classroom!

Describe your volunteer activity

Contributing towards local volunteer activity in family shelters shows initiation to develop and ensure the well-being of all.

Name certified courses

If you’ve taken up relevant courses related to your field, it shows proof that you’re capable of industry-related skills. If you’re yet to take up short courses online, plenty of websites are available such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy, etc. 

Mention achievement records

Perhaps you’ve taken part in quizzes or writing competitions and won! Any professional achievements secured in high school or college will add weight to your resume. It shows that you are capable of high performance.

Showcase your portfolio

Let’s say you freelance a bit here and there. You’ve completed a bunch of projects. These projects come in handy for you to make a portfolio of your work to present to potential employers! It helps them review your best work and boosts your chances of landing an internship.

Get your resume reviewed

Now that you’re done creating a resume, it’s time to get it reviewed for grammar errors. Use tools like Grammarly and Ginger software for spell checks. For constructive feedback and suggestions, you can run it by someone!

Create a cover letter

Talking about how to get an internship with no experience and missing on cover letter is not happening. Creating an impressive cover letter is a must. Follow these steps to create your cover letter:

  • Tailor your cover letter to the specific internship you are applying for. Take the time to read the job description carefully and highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the internship. Add similar skill sets in your cover letter.
  • Focus on your transferable skills. Even if you don’t have any directly related experience, you can still highlight the skills that you do have that would be relevant to the internship. Mention any other volunteering roles you might have taken in your school or college days. For example, if you’re applying for an internship in marketing, you could highlight your writing, communication, and problem-solving skills.
  • Use keywords throughout your cover letter. When applying for internships online, applicant tracking systems (ATS) often scan your cover letter for keywords relevant to the internship. The keywords will be words that define your profession and job role. Using keywords throughout your cover letter will help your cover letter to be seen by hiring managers.
  • Quantify your skills and experience. When you’re describing your skills and experience, be as specific as possible and use numbers to quantify your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying, “I’m a good writer,” you could say, “I’ve written 10 articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals.”
  • Use strong action verbs. When you’re describing your skills and experience, use strong action verbs to make your writing more dynamic. For example, instead of saying, “I worked on a project,” you could say, “I led a team of 10 people to complete a project successfully.”
  • Proofread carefully. Before you submit your cover letter, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors in grammar or spelling.

Follow this article to learn how to write a cover letter for an internship.

Build your LinkedIn profile

Sign up on professional online sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, which bring internship and job opportunities and professional connections. Here are some tips to build your profile on LinkedIn and other job portals.

  • Complete your profile: Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date. Include your education, skills, work experience, and any other relevant information.
  • Use keywords: When you’re filling out your profile, be sure to use relevant keywords that employers will be searching for. This will help your profile show up in search results.
  • Highlight your skills: Be sure to highlight your relevant skills and experience to the internships you’re interested in.
  • Get endorsements: Ask your professors, mentors, or previous employers to endorse your skills and experience. This will help to boost your credibility and make you stand out from other candidates.
  • Be active: Be sure to participate in LinkedIn’s groups and discussions. This will help you to network with other students and employers and learn about new internship opportunities.
  • Use a professional photo: Use a recent, well-lit photo with a decent background.
  • Write a strong summary: Your summary should be clear, concise, and persuasive. It should highlight your skills, experience, and goals.
  • Use action verbs: When you’re describing your skills and experience, use action verbs to make your profile more dynamic.
  • Proofread carefully: Before you submit your profile, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors in grammar or spelling.
  • Take tests and courses: LinkedIn is a great platform for taking courses and tests relevant to your field and boosting your profile. The courses and tests will add to your background even if you lack work experience.

Apply for internships online

By this time, you need to be well aware of the kind of internship you want, the kind of firm that fits your overall objectives and direction, and the qualities they’re seeking in a candidate.

As a result, you should adapt your CV and cover letter to the position. 

For instance, even though many of the roles you’ll apply for will be identical, you’ll want to demonstrate that you thoroughly investigated each function and organization rather than submitting hundreds of applications without doing so. 

Your chances of getting an interview go up when you show this kind of intentionality. Even though some employers don’t demand one, it’s a good idea to add one whenever you can. 

Once more, take advantage of this chance to concentrate on the results, your capacity for effective communication, and how your abilities will help you succeed in the position.

It’s finally time to submit your internship applications. Check out this list of 10 Best Websites to Find an Internship!

How to prepare for an interview?

A very crucial aspect of getting your first internship is cracking the interview. What questions will be asked? How should you frame your answers? How should you present yourself for your first interview? Follow the tips below to ace your first interview and get an internship:

Research the company and the position: Learn as much as you can about the company, its products or services, and its culture. You can do this by visiting the company’s website, reading its annual report, and following the company on social media. You should also carefully review the job description to understand the specific skills and experience the employer seeks.

Practice your answers to common interview questions: There are a number of common interview questions that you can expect to be asked. Practice your answers to these questions so that you can deliver them clearly and concisely. You can find a list of common interview questions online or by asking a friend or family member to help you practice.

Dress appropriately: First impressions matter, so make sure you dress appropriately for the interview. The dress code for the company may be specified in the job description, but if it’s not, err on the side of caution and dress in business professional attire.

Arrive early: Punctuality is important, so make sure you arrive at the interview early. This will give you time to relax and collect your thoughts before the interview begins.

Bring a copy of your resume and a notebook and pen: Bringing a copy of your resume to the interview is always a good idea. You should also bring a notebook and pen so that you can take notes during the interview.

Be confident and positive: Confidence is key in an interview. Make eye contact, smile, and speak clearly and confidently. Be positive and enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Ask questions: At the end of the interview, be sure to ask the interviewer questions about the company and the position. This shows that you’re interested in the job and that you’ve done your research.

Follow up: Send the interviewer a thank-you note after the interview. This is a great way to reiterate your interest in the job and to thank the interviewer for their time.

How to increase your chances of getting an internship?

Now that you know how to get an internship, why not increase your chances of getting one? What can you do for your profile to get shortlisted among thousands of applicants? Here are some tips for you get noticed by the recruiters:

Apply early: The fewer competitors, the better for you. So to make sure the competition doesn’t get fierce, apply early. Your application will come to notice at its earliest, and if it’s impressive enough, hirers will certainly let you know.

Develop skills: Besides having a good GPA, taking courses that upskill your personality is always good. Learn some computer skills, communication skills, and so on. Attend workshops to help you develop transferable skills.

Volunteer: Before you look for internships, look for event-based projects where you can volunteer. Make an account of your experience, learning, and contribution to the event.

Consider freelancing: Find freelance opportunities if you’re a graphic designer or content writer. Freelancing will give you a professional experience of your knowledge and foster self-management. Keep track of what websites you’re working for, your contributions, what skills you have discovered, and so on.

Key takeaways on how to get an Internship with no experience

Getting internships without previous work can be tricky. However, it is totally attainable. Let’s sum up how to get an internship with no experience:

  • search for career options in your field and decide on your career path.
  • Maintain a good GPA and academics; take help from online tutoring and courses.
  • Know what type of internship you want; WFH or on-site?
  • Check on-campus placements in college.
  • Join a university group.
  • Network with professionals in your field and ask them to help you with an opportunity.
  • Create an impressive resume and highlight your skills.
  • Create an effective cover letter tailored to the internship role and company.
  • Build a LinkedIn profile and take courses to upskill your profile.
  • Apply for internships online.
  • Prepare for the first interview and be confident.

Make sure to apply on time for an internship to get noticed by recruiters.

Related stories of getting an internship without experience

How I landed my first internship

How to get an internship with no experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How early should I start my internship search?

It is best to start your internship search early, ideally in the fall of the semester, before you want to intern. This will give you plenty of time to research companies and internships, tailor your resume and cover letter, and practice your interviewing skills.

What are some ways to network with people in my field?

There are many ways to network with people in your field. You can attend industry events and college seminars, join online networking groups, or contact your professors, classmates, family, and friends.
Searching for relevant groups on Facebook, Telegram, LinkedIn, and so on is most helpful.

What transferable skills can I highlight on my resume?

Transferable skills are skills that are relevant to many different jobs and industries. Some examples of transferable skills include communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and time management.

What online courses and tutorials can I take to improve my skills?

Many online courses and tutorials can help you improve your skills in computer science. Some popular platforms for online courses include Coursera, edX, and Udemy.

You can take one-to-one online tutoring with Wiingy.

How to get an engineering internship with no experience?

Here are some tips on how to find an engineering internship with no experience:

1. Start early. The earlier you start preparing, the better.
2. Take online courses and tutoring to improve your skills and understanding of the concepts.
3. Network with people in your field. Use online platforms like Facebook, Telegram, and LinkedIn to find connections with people having the same job role. They can guide you further.
4. Create a resume. Highlight your transferable skills, courses, certifications, extracurricular activities, and volunteering roles. 
5. Attend industry events, college events, and seminars.
6. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each internship you apply for. 
7. Don’t give up. 

Written by

Shefali Sundram

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