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How to Land the Perfect Internship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CUA chapter.

The idea of applying for an internship may seem daunting, especially to someone who has never applied for one. However, participating in an internship before graduating college is a great opportunity to not only build your resume, build your network, and build your confidence, but also gain valuable life experience through communication, motivation, and dedication. An internship is also one of the best ways to give your major and professional field a test drive before officially pursuing a career in this area. 

Before applying for an internship, there are a couple of things you should get organized first. 

LinkedIn and/or Handshake

LinkedIn is a popular networking platform used by millions of professionals every day. LinkedIn is a great way to not only look for internships and job listings but also put yourself out there to potential job recruiters to find you. On your LinkedIn, make sure to add your previous and current educational information, as this alone can provide you with hundreds of potential connections to grow your professional network. Be sure to include all previous job and volunteer experience, and include any awards or publications you’ve obtained throughout your college and high school careers. 

A little too intimidated by LinkedIn? No worries. Give Handshake a try! Handshake is another professional networking platform, but it’s geared specifically towards college students and recent grads. Plenty of professionals check Handshake, too, and it serves as a great gateway into more professional networks, such as LinkedIn, later on.


Virtually every job or internship that you apply for is going to ask you for a resume of some kind. Your resume provides potential employers with your professional background, accomplishments, and skills. Keep your resume updated, relevant, and concise to make sure it truly shows off the best version of yourself. 

Be sure to make your resume stand out! Odds are that several other qualified individuals are applying for the same position as you (not to stress you out), so try to spice up your resume a little while keeping it professional. Take some tips from Elle Woods and give your resume “that little extra something.” 

Check out one of these Her Campus articles for more advice on how to craft the perfect resume. 



Cover Letter

Most positions and internships are going to require that you submit a cover letter. A cover letter is essentially a letter summarizing your interest in the position and why you would be the best fit for the role. Do your research before writing your cover letter! You should figure out who you’re writing the letter to, although “Dear Hiring Staff” of the company would suffice if you really can’t find who the hiring manager is. You should also be familiar with the history or mission of the company that you’re applying to and reference it in your cover letter; it shows that you are thorough and genuinely interested in the company. 

Be sure to proof-read your cover letter many, many times. Misspellings and poor grammar are never a good introduction to any company and show that you don’t care about the application. Read your application, then read it again, read it one more time, send it to a friend to read, and then submit it. 

Check out one of these Her Campus articles for more advice on how to compose the perfect cover letter. 


https://www.hercampus.com/money-career/11-things-you-say-your-cover-letter-what-you-really- mean 


References are exactly the reason why you shouldn’t burn any bridges, especially professional or academic ones. When applying for an internship, your potential employer may ask you for a list of references that they can contact. This essentially means that they want a brief list of people that they can contact to get a better idea of what kind of employee you are. 

If asked for references, include the name of the reference, their prefix, their relation or relevance to you, and their contact information. It’s a very good idea to include a previous boss or manager as a reference, but co-workers are acceptable, as well. You should be sure to inform your references that you’ve included them as a reference. Writing “thank you” notes for your references after they are contacted is a great way to show them how much you appreciate their time and effort, as well.

Get some help from the professionals 

Every college campus has some form of a career services office for their students. At Catholic University, the go-to resource on campus is the Center for Academic and Career Success is located at room 102 in McMahon Hall. Students can visit the center for walk-in advising or schedule appointments to receive help with searching and applying for internships, composing resumes and cover letters specific to certain fields, as well as be provided with academic and career coaching. If after reading this article you still have no idea where to begin with applying for your dream internship, be sure to visit the Center for Academic and Career Success located at room 102 in McMahon Hall, or contact the center via their email at success@cua.edu or phone at 202-319-6262 for assistance. 

Jessica is a senior at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. from northern New Jersey. She is majoring in media and communication studies and minoring in writing and rhetoric. When she's not busy writing for Her Campus, she enjoys working as the editor in chief of CUA's independent student newspaper "The Tower," watching "Scandal" on Hulu, and exploring D.C.