How to Land an Internship with Zero Experience

Landing an internship at your dream company can seem like an impossible dream if you have no work experience or internships under your belt. But it’s not that hard to get the ball rolling. 

Whether you’re looking to get experience in your field of study or just want to learn more about what the workplace looks like from the inside, there are plenty of ways to land an internship with zero experience. You just need to know where to look and how to present yourself professionally.

This guide will help you learn how to land an internship with zero experience by providing tips on how to go about finding internships and creating your resume so that you can get noticed by hiring managers. By following these steps, you will get a head start on your peers who are trying to land internships as well!

Step 1 – Create a killer résumé

If you want to land an internship with zero experience, you’re going to need a killer professional resume. A resume is a document that outlines your qualifications and experience in order to help you land a job. 

Now, it’s important to remember that internships are about learning, so don’t be afraid to list any relevant coursework or skills you have. Your goal here is to show the employer that you will learn quickly and well on the job. Keep it brief but professional! 

Here are some important things to consider when creating a resume:

  • List major academic achievements, such as awards won, grades achieved, and honors are given. But don’t use anything less than satisfactory for courses. 
  • Write succinctly about how these achievements qualify you for the position.
  • Mention any work experience if applicable.
  • Include internships (and make sure they were unpaid!) as part of your work history.

If you don’t know how to make a resume, don’t worry. Nowadays, building a resume should not be a problem because there are professional resume builders available online. But make sure you consider these tips, too:

  • Use a simple, professional font like Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Stick to a standard layout – don’t get too creative.
  • Include your name and contact details and put them at the top.
  • List your education and any relevant coursework.
  • If you have any relevant work experience, even if it’s just volunteer work or internships, include that too.
  • Finally, list any skills or qualifications that make you a good fit for the internship you’re applying for.

Step 2 – Know what you want out of the internship

Figuring out what you want to get out of the internship is important. It will help you set goals and give you something to strive for. 

Do you want to learn new skills? Gain experience in a certain field? Get your foot in the door of a big company you want to work for? Knowing what you want will help you determine which internships to apply for and how to make the most of the experience. 

Step 3 – Add verified references from your network

Another thing you can do to increase your chances of landing an internship with zero experience is to include verified references. 

If possible, reach out to your network and see if anyone can put in a good word for you or act as a reference. Having someone vouch for your skills and character can go a long way. You can add your professor’s name or a friend who is in the same industry as yours.

Although it is not required to have any connections at the company you’re applying to, you will have added points if you know someone there. So, try reaching out to alumni from your school who work there. They may be able to put in a good word for you as well. 

Finally, don’t forget the power of LinkedIn. Connecting with people who work at the company you’re interested in is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Step 4 – Use the right social media channels

With many companies opening up their doors for interns, you will never run out of options. But where do you find them?

You can find relevant internship opportunities online. Start by doing a search for internships in your area. Once you have a list of options, research each one to see if they’re a good fit. Ask yourself: 

  • Does this company’s mission align with my personal values? 
  • Do their products or services interest me? 
  • What does the company culture look like? 
  • Is there any chance I might be bored after the first day on the job? 

If you get answers to these questions that sound like yes and maybe, then it may be worth applying. 

Step 5 – Find opportunities near you

No matter where you are in your career journey, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local startup community. If you don’t have any experience, that’s okay! 

Start by attending meetups and networking events. Get a feel for the types of companies and people that are in your area. Once you’ve made some connections, see if anyone is hiring interns or if any companies are particularly open to working with students or recent graduates. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice or informational interviews, either. The worst someone can say is no, but you might just end up making a valuable connection.

Step 6 – Research the background of employers

You can’t just sit back and wait for an internship to land in your lap. It takes a proactive approach and some serious research. 

First, identify the company that you want to work for. Then read the About Us page and see if there are any internships listed or internships offered during the time frame of when you will be graduating college. If so, great! 

Next, search the company name plus internship on Google or another search engine to see what results come up. Be sure to check both LinkedIn and the company website before starting your search so that you have all of the information needed at hand before beginning the process of applying. 

If they offer internships as well as careers then you can apply for either one. When deciding which is best for you it may help to consider: 

  • Do I prefer working with people or working independently? 
  • What is my salary preference? 
  • How much time am I willing to commit full-time, part-time, or even weekends? 

Once you decide on a company and position, it’s important to do your homework about the specific requirements. For example, if the job posting requires professional attire every day, then find out what type of dress code they require. This includes but is not limited to shoes, jewelry (men too!), jackets/coats (depending on the climate), makeup, hairstyle etc.

Step 7 – Come prepared during your interview

At this point, you may have already received several interview invitations from potential employers. Thus, you need to come prepared.

Aside from dressing up professionally and arriving on time, it helps to prepare for the possible questions that may be thrown at you.

You might be asked behavioral questions during your interview. For example, you will be asked to think of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or co-worker. How did you handle the situation? What would you do differently if you could still go back and do it again? 

Be honest and specific in your answers. The interviewer is trying to get a sense of how you would handle yourself in a real-world situation. So, be as specific as possible. 

Talk about what happened, what actions you took (or failed to take), and why you made those decisions. Don’t just talk about what happened – talk about what you learned from the experience that will help you going forward.

Step 8 – Don’t expect anything

Getting an internship is a process—an ongoing one, at that. So, even if you don’t have any relevant experience, don’t expect to land an internship right away. 

The key is to start somewhere, whether that’s working for free or taking on a smaller role. From there, build up your skills and experience so that you can eventually apply for the types of internships you’re interested in. 

For example, if you want to work as a web designer someday, start by taking on small design projects as you’re learning how to use design software. It might not be glamorous, but it will help you make connections in the industry and show future employers what kind of work you can do. 

If you can’t find an unpaid opportunity, consider volunteering (for free!) at a related nonprofit organization where you might learn more about their needs and get valuable insight into their workflow. 

Succeeding in today’s competitive job market requires being proactive about your career—both now and down the line. And while getting an internship without any experience may seem like an impossible feat, there are plenty of ways to get started. Remember: You’ll never know until you try!

Key Takeaways

The entire process may seem intimidating at first, but you’ll see that it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  1. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have any relevant work experience. There are plenty of other ways to show that you’re a great fit for the internship.
  2. Do your research and target your applications. Sending out a generic resume is not going to get you very far.
  3. Get creative in your approach and stand out from the rest of the applicants.
  4. Make sure you’re able to articulate why you want the internship and what you hope to gain from it.
  5. Be prepared for interviews and be ready to sell yourself.
  6. Follow up after your interviews and show your interest in the position.

Land Your Dream Internship Job!

No experience? No problem! With a little extra effort, you can land the internship of your dreams. As long as you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do some research, any college student can land a coveted internship in the field of their choosing. 

Be proactive and find internships that interest you. And then pursue internships at companies that have similar values as yours. When invited for an interview, show up on time and be prepared. Speak confidently about yourself and be personable. 

Also, research the company before your interview and prepare questions beforehand. Identify what skills the company is looking for in interns so you can show off your skills. 

Follow up after the interview with thank-you emails or phone calls. If possible, utilize social media to build relationships and participate in organizations or clubs where professionals work outside of their job descriptions (for example, a blogger could write guest articles for different websites). 

Keep in mind that even if you are not getting paid, it is still a job! Dress appropriately, and be attentive during interviews. Showing initiative will also go a long way in terms of impressing your boss or mentor. Don’t expect this opportunity to come easy. So, make the most of it by doing whatever you can to excel at any step of the application process.