How to get an internship


Years in the past, our founder Ramit Sethi beat out a number of Stanford MBA college students for an unbelievable internship at Solar Microsystems. Oh, and he was only a sophomore in school on the time.

That’s proper. A thin teenage school pupil beat out the cream-of-the-crop college students getting their Grasp’s Diploma in enterprise. 


“How did he swing that?” you may ask. 

Nice query! Getting an internship isn’t fairly as exhausting as you may assume and getting your dream internship is way extra achievable than you’ve led your self to imagine. 

You simply should comply with a couple of easy steps (don’t get us unsuitable, it’ll nonetheless take exhausting work) and shortly you’ll be getting your excellent internship in school.

By the top of this information, you’ll be empowered (and psyched) to exit and land your excellent internship at your dream firm.

Why it’s troublesome to get an internship

The reality is, an internship could be an effective way to get your foot within the door at your dream firm. If nothing else, it’s a incredible solution to see in case you really take pleasure in doing the work you’re going to graduate in. 

There are numerous upsides to getting an internship.

But so many school college students deal with it prefer it’s simply one other boring activity on the way in which to commencement — like they’re simply signing up for an additional class to examine one other field earlier than they’ll stroll throughout that stage and get a shiny diploma within the mail.

That is the ABSOLUTELY WRONG solution to method it.

As an alternative, you’ve bought to take a look at it like this:

Understanding “The Truffle Impact”

Most school college students attempting to get an internship are like salt.

Salt is a commodity, which implies you actually don’t care which model of salt you get… they’re all the identical to you. You possibly can substitute one model of salt for an additional and no person would be capable of inform the distinction. And because of this, the worth of commodity salt is extraordinarily low.

Very like interns.

Most firms see interns as simply substitutable our bodies that solely serve to fill headcount necessities. However guess what?

You DO NOT wish to be a commodity.

If you’re, you’re precisely the identical as the subsequent 100+ interns. And which means it’s tougher to get employed, tougher to face out, and tougher to transform your internship right into a significant profession.

As an alternative of being salt, you wish to be a truffle.

A truffle is so distinctive and beneficial that individuals pays disproportionately excessive quantities of cash to get one. 

Should you’re a truffle, hiring managers received’t be capable of even conceive of substituting you as a result of, by way of your software, you’ve proven you could uniquely resolve their issues so deeply that you just’ll be thought of “one among a form.”

You DO wish to be one-of-a-kind.

When that occurs, not solely have you ever secured the internship, however you may have laid the muse for elevated job alternatives down the street.

That’s the Truffle Precept.

The rationale so many school college students fail at getting a high quality internship is that they method it like salt — spattering purposes in every single place, all as boring as the subsequent pupil’s.

It’s not your fault. It’s what society and custom have taught you to do. However that doesn’t make the “salt” method a viable path to success.

It takes effort and time to “unlearn” all the things you’ve been taught about cash (like chopping again on lattes is admittedly going to in some way make you wealthy sometime). Fortunately, we’ve developed an in-depth information to earning money the place we educate you ways to consider cash, how you can get a increase, and how you can earn cash on the facet—plus tons extra. 

Learn how to land your dream internship

With that understanding, let’s dive deep into what it actually takes to land a high-quality internship at an organization you like.

Should you comply with the steps we define beneath, we will nearly assure your exhausting work will repay. It received’t be straightforward, however will probably be 100% value your effort and time.

Step one in getting the internship you need is to know exactly what you’re looking for.

1. Outline what you’re searching for

When individuals hear “get particular,” they’ll sometimes nod and shrug. “Yeah, yeah. I bought it.”

And but hardly anybody really does it!

For instance, if we requested you proper now, “What’s your dream internship?” how would you reply? 99.9999999% of us would say one thing like:

  • “I’m searching for an internship that’s difficult and rewarding.”
  • “I wish to work with the blokes on Fits.”
  • “I wish to study one thing that lets me actually make an impression.”
  • “I wish to work with individuals!”

Pure, unadulterated salt. Blech.

As an alternative, it is best to get critical about this and set a SMART objective to assist establish precisely what you need out of an internship expertise. 

Keep in mind: Internships are about WAY MORE than simply getting course credit score so you’ll be able to graduate. Maintain that in thoughts as you comply with the subsequent part.

Set a SMART objective (Get hyper-specific)

The issue with typical goal setting is that the objectives set are too broad — and you haven’t any concept the place to begin. So once you set a objective like, “I wish to work with individuals,” you find yourself spinning your wheels.

That’s why we’re a giant proponent of SMART aims.

SMART stands for particular, measurable, attainable, related, and time-oriented. And with every component in SMART aims, you’re going to wish to ask your self a set of questions that’ll make it easier to develop a successful objective.

  • Particular. What’s going to my objective obtain? What’s the exact end result I’m searching for? What do I wish to study from this internship?
  • Measurable. How will I do know after I’ve achieved the objective? What does success seem like? What dimension firm or business do I wish to goal?
  • Attainable. Are there sources I would like to realize the objective? What are these sources? Do I’ve connections or distinctive talents that might assist me land a place? (Sure, you do.)
  • Related. Why am I doing this? Do I actually WANT to do that? Is it a precedence in my life proper now? How does this internship enhance my future?
  • Time-oriented. What’s the deadline? Will I do know in a couple of weeks if I’m heading in the right direction? How lengthy earlier than the intern season ends?

Figuring out this, we’re going to wish to reframe that “I wish to work with individuals” objective into one thing rather more particular and actionable, similar to, “I wish to intern in shopper administration at a boutique promoting company in fall 2021 utilizing my sister’s ex-girlfriend to introduce me.”

Listed here are another SMART aims a truffle would have:

  • “I’m trying to intern within the inside gross sales division at a social networking firm in Los Angeles to assist my profession in gross sales.”
  • “I’m fascinated by interning in growth at a ladies’s points nonprofit in Washington DC.”
  • “I wish to intern at an unbiased publishing home targeted on fiction in San Francisco to see if I actually wish to go into publishing.”

Do you see how a lot better the SMART goal is than simply imprecise objective setting? Once you get particular, you already know precisely what you need. That method, when it comes time to go to your network and begin asking round for internships, you’re not losing anybody’s time by making them do the give you the results you want.

In different phrases, if somebody involves us and says, “I don’t know what I wish to do with my life,” that’s an extended dialogue that we, frankly, don’t wish to have.

 If they are saying, “Are you aware any gross sales managers at B2C tech firms in Silicon Valley?” we’ll introduce them to 3 inside 10 minutes.

It’s all about finding your ikigai and retaining your eye on the objective. 

Record out your dream firms

Subsequent, take your SMART objectives above and begin itemizing out all of your concept firms.

Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you already know whether or not these firms supply internships in the mean time or not.

The concept right here is to establish 20-30 “dream firms” you’d LOVE to have an internship with — paid or not.

PRO TIP: You possibly can actually ask for an internship at any firm you need. Simply because they don’t have any openings posted, doesn’t imply you’ll be able to’t try and “wow” somebody and make them fascinated by working with you. It’s a tougher solution to do it, but it surely’s positively a extra “truffle” method.

Most individuals do it backward

What’s scary is what number of college students do that utterly backward. 

As an alternative of itemizing out the businesses they’d prefer to intern with, they only hit up job boards or Fb and see what’s on the market.

In order that they find yourself taking some lame internship they hate and want to quit earlier than the top of their first day.

That’s simply “salt” mentality, straight up.

A truffle, however, begins with what THEY WANT. Step one is to make your dream record.

2. Leverage your community

When you’ve develop into tremendous clear on what your internship objectives are and have listed 20-30 firms you’d like to intern with, it’s time to get to work.

You’ve bought to begin leveraging your community to seek out internship alternatives that match your SMART objectives and your dream record.

Listed here are a couple of locations you can begin.

Your school profession heart

Should you’re in school and trying to get an superior internship, you’re in luck. The overwhelming majority of faculties and universities have profession facilities devoted to discovering you a job you’ll love. 

Some even supply providers like resume consultations, mock interviews, and networking occasions. 

Any profession heart ought to have an up to date database of internship alternatives obtainable both on the precise heart or on-line (most probably each). Your first step needs to be to undergo this database and cull by way of it for the internships which can be germane to you.

Do not forget that SMART goal you set? Use that as a parameter by which you’ll filter and resolve on which internships you’ll apply to.

You must actually be writing down the knowledge for each — you’ll want it once you really begin the applying course of. (Extra on getting organized beneath.)

Internship websites & job boards

After you’ve exhausted your search within the profession heart, it’s time to maneuver on to the extra saturated and time-consuming choice: the web. 

Since everyone seems to be looking out the net for internships, it’s extra aggressive than different shops however nothing beats the pace at which you’ll be able to rack up a couple of nice concepts and alternatives. 

Listed here are a couple of websites you can begin with in your journey to discovering the proper internship:

  • LinkedIn. Other than being a tremendous networking instrument, LinkedIn offers a useful job search instrument stuffed with firms searching for prime expertise.
  • Craigslist. You learn that proper. Up-and-coming companies are continuously turning to Craigslist day by day to search for interns.
  • An important useful resource to seek out distant internships in case you don’t really feel like shopping for a airplane ticket to fly throughout the nation.
  • WayUp. Previously, this web site presents alternatives from over 30,000 firms. 

Undergo these web sites and do precisely what you probably did along with your school profession heart database. Write down each that’s related to you and your objectives.

PRO TIP: Is there an organization you’re already a giant fan of? Perhaps you like watching Conan each evening — otherwise you’re an Apple fanboy/fangirl? There are internships for that.

If it matches your SMART goal, make sure to examine if there’s an internship on the firm you admire — point out you’re a fan on the applying and why that makes you higher than the opposite 249 candidates (already know the home model, how Conan picks his video games, how Anna Wintour likes her coffee, and so on…).

Use your loved ones and buddies to community

Lastly, make sure to speak to your pals, dad and mom, dad and mom’ buddies, dad and mom’ buddies’ buddies, your pal’s pal’s uncle twice eliminated…

You get the image. 

There are a number of firms that supply internships — firms the individuals you already know already work at.

So ask round! 

Not solely may you discover an internship you like, however you have already got a leg up on the applying course of since you KNOW an individual working there (I’ll contact on that extra after we discuss referrals).

Actually, you may even discover out that some firms aren’t formally providing an internship, however would love to speak to you about changing into an intern anyway simply because you may have a mutual connection. Extra on this later.

However what if I don’t know anybody?

Leveraging your community could be actually thrilling if you already know a number of actually cool individuals. For everybody else, it might probably really feel overwhelming, embarrassing, or like a waste of time.

That is sometimes the place the Shrug Impact is available in. Individuals LOVE to speak about how they don’t have a community to allow them to’t get referrals. After we ask them, “Properly, who have you ever tried to succeed in out to?” they reply with a clean look and shrug.

  • SALT: “I attempted, however I simply don’t know anybody! I emailed a few buddies however they do not know. It’s irritating when it’s all about WHO you already know. How can they count on me to know all these individuals after I’m only a pupil?”
  • TRUFFLE: “First, I checked my LinkedIn profile and despatched out some emails. I examined three emails and the third is performing finest — I’m getting a 50% response fee. I arrange three espresso conferences for subsequent week. Then I went into my school profession workplace. I additionally talked about precisely what I’m searching for after I was speaking with professors, and one among them knew a director at an organization I wish to work for! So we’re having espresso tomorrow.”

See the distinction? 

The salt applicant simply requested a couple of buddies earlier than giving up. When truffles resolve to seek out an internship, they draw upon their community and connections to seek out the roles that aren’t even public.

They’ll ship a couple of emails and bypass all the hiring equipment and get a gathering with a hiring supervisor. These will likely be buddies who’ll vouch for them saying, “You actually need to speak to this particular person,” which profoundly adjustments the tenor of the dialog.

Put your self within the hiring supervisor’s footwear and picture being launched to somebody who you “want to speak to” reasonably than a random applicant determined for school credit score and a bit bit of cash. Who do you assume would get your curiosity?

As soon as you discover a couple of potential referrals, it is best to ask them to… effectively, refer you. This may be so simple as taking them out to espresso or taking pictures them an e-mail.

Right here’s a template you need to use to satisfy nearly anybody together with evaluation on why it really works.

To: Jane
From: Samantha
Topic: Michigan State grad — would love to talk about your work at Deloitte

Hello Jane,
My title is Samantha Kerritt. I’m going to high school at Michigan State and got here throughout your title on our alumni web site. [TELL THEM HOW YOU CAME ACROSS THEIR NAME SO YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE A CREEP.]

I’d like to get your profession recommendation for 15-20 minutes. I’m trying to get an internship on the Acme Firm and know that you just’ve labored there earlier than. [THE FIRST SENTENCE SAYS WHAT SHE WANTS. MOST PEOPLE ARE FLATTERED THAT PEOPLE WANT/VALUE THEIR ADVICE.]

Do you assume I might ask you some questions on your position at Acme and what motivated you to decide on the corporate? I’d particularly like to know the way you made your decisions after graduating from Michigan State. [“MICHIGAN STATE” REINFORCES SHARED BOND.]

I can meet you for espresso or at your workplace… or wherever it’s handy. I can work round you! [THE BUSY PERSON IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU. TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY.]



Probably the greatest issues about this e-mail is its brevity. There’s zero fats within the message and it simply tells the recipient what she must know.

PRO TIP: Within the spreadsheet beneath,  referrals are an ideal addition to it if you wish to maintain them organized as effectively — it’s tremendous awkward in case you ask the identical particular person for 2 referrals.

As you start to absorb all this data from the sources above (and elsewhere) the sensible factor to do is to maintain it very organized.

You’ll want to document the entire internships you’ve present in a Google or Excel spreadsheet so you’ll be able to maintain observe of all of them as you’re making use of.

When recording, we propose you write down the corporate title and position, the size of the internship, a due date, and whether or not or not you’ve utilized but — at MINIMUM. 

You’ll want to maintain your spreadsheet up to date and protected. It would are available in very useful once you’re really making use of to the internship. (We’re nearly there, we promise.)

4. Put together your supplies

Subsequent, you’ll wish to arm your self with all the things you’ll probably want with a purpose to land that dream internship.

A couple of key supplies are discovered beneath and you will have further materials relying in your occupation of selection (for instance, an Inside Designer may want a portfolio).

The fabric we’ll concentrate on embody:

  • A mouthwatering resume
  • A personalized cowl letter

Create a mouthwatering resume

The resume is usually make or break on the subject of job purposes. This may be significantly true when attempting to get an internship. 

That’s why you’re going to wish to craft one which’ll go away the hiring supervisor clamoring to rent you.

Earlier than you begin writing down each job you may have had prior to now — together with going door-to-door promoting lady scout cookies — you’ll want to know the 2 parts that it takes to create a incredible resume:

  • It must have a story. 

Nice resumes aren’t only a record of information. If that’s all that’s in your resume, you’re not going to be memorable sufficient to catch the hiring supervisor’s consideration in 15 seconds. As an alternative, craft a story.

Ask your self, “After somebody reads my resume for 10 seconds, what’s the one factor they need to bear in mind about me?”

  • Reduce the fats — go away the filet mignon. 

The second most essential a part of crafting a world-class resume is chopping the fats. Each phrase should earn its place on the web page. If it’s not including to and bettering the narrative, minimize it. Whether it is, ask if there’s one other phrase or phrase that might do the job higher. 

We’ve employed dozens of individuals at IWT. Which means studying 1000’s of resumes. Most of them had been 1-2 pages and 50% – 60% of it might have been deleted. 

After we see resumes like this, we assume that they don’t know how you can write a resume (not a superb signal) or they don’t have something higher to share. Don’t do that. Make each phrase rely. It’s higher to have a shorter, extra significant resume than an extended one stuffed with rubbish.

Try Ramit’s 15-minute video on making a successful resume. In it, he’ll present you the precise methods in addition to the resume he used to land all of his internships in school.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind to maintain referring to your spreadsheet to be sure you’ve utilized to the entire internships in your record by marking “sure” within the utilized column.

Draft a customized (rockstar) cowl letter for every software

Along with a resumé, you’re going to need a rockstar cowl letter for every software.

Every cowl letter needs to be personalized to the place you’re making use of for.

And by “personalized” we DON’T imply:

  • Altering the deal with on the prime of the web page
  • Including the particular person’s title to the salutation
  • Altering “your organization” to “Adidas” (or wherever you wish to work)

No, take the time to ACTUALLY write a stand-out cowl letter. 

Should you’re undecided how to try this, this in-depth article will be super helpful.

Even when there’s no job posting, you’ll be able to nonetheless attain out and ask.

5. Ace the interview (Ramit’s confirmed approach)

Your second has lastly come. You’ve adopted all of the steps we outlined above and also you’ve landed an interview (or a number of them, we hope) with dream firms out of your record.

Now just isn’t the time to blow it.

So allow us to share with you Ramit’s proven “Briefcase Technique” that helps you get employed (and even get a increase afterward).


That is one among Ramit’s absolute favourite methods to make the most of in interviews, wage negotiations, shopper proposals — no matter! And the fantastic thing about it’s that you just’ve already achieved 90% of the work earlier than you stroll into the interview.

To any boss or hiring supervisor, the most effective incentive to offer you an internship is figuring out that you just WILL add worth to the corporate. Figuring out this, you’re going to wish to put together a case for your self to showcase the way you’re an individual utterly deserving of the place.

That’s why we would like you to make the most of The Briefcase Method and compile a proposal showcasing the precise areas within the firm whereby you’ll be able to add worth. You’re going to deliver this 1-5 web page proposal with you once you interview, so you’ll be able to pull out the doc and description how precisely you’re going to resolve the corporate’s challenges throughout the interview.

Merely say, “I’d love to point out you one thing I put collectively,” after which actually pull out your proposal doc detailing the ache factors of the corporate and EXACTLY how one can assist them. IWT bonus factors in case you really use a briefcase.

By figuring out the ache factors the corporate is experiencing, you’ll be able to present the hiring supervisor the place particularly you’re going so as to add worth — making you a really beneficial rent.

“However, this seems like a number of work…”

I do know what you is likely to be pondering at this level:

“However this seems like a ton of labor…”

Properly. Yeah, it’s. 

However you already know what’s worse than placing a ton of working into getting your dream internship?

Working at an internship you hate. Solely to get a job you hate. Solely to be depressing for the remainder of your life. 

It’s how the “salt” lives. Not how the “truffle” lives. And YOU… you’re a truffle.

Our recommendation to you: Combat the shrug impact.

Combat the shrug impact

I get it. It’s straightforward to brush all of this off. It’s rather more comforting to say, “Yeah, but it surely’d be method simpler to get an internship if I had related dad and mom/the proper main/elite school/no matter.”

Don’t put up your individual psychological barrier of why different persons are completely different from you! That’s The Shrug Impact and it’s debilitating on the subject of making use of to any kind of job.

Sure, perhaps 5% – 10% of people that get the most effective jobs and internships had been born with wealthy dad and mom or they’re naturally gifted — however the remainder of them labored their asses off, and that counts rather more.

And that’s precisely what you’ll should do if you wish to get the internship of your desires.

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