A strong work history full of relevant professional experience is what many companies look for when hiring employees. However, if you are a student without a lot of work experience, you should probably start with internships rather than full-time employment. Though internships are generally for young people with little experience, sought-after positions are competitive. You need to leverage your knowledge and portray your skills in the best light to be competitive. If you are wondering how to get an internship with no experience, follow these strategies as you begin your job hunt.
Benefits of Internships
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 70% of internship positions are created to covert interns into full-time workers. Thus, more than 55% of college students who complete an internship receive a job offer before completing their degrees. In comparison, less than 40% of those who do not complete internships receive job offers before graduation. Even those interns who do not receive a job offer walk away with experience and references that make it easier to find other positions.
Besides securing a full-time job offer, internships allow students to explore their career interests. Interning allows you to experience the daily operation of an organization, providing an in-depth look at the type of tasks and environments you may encounter in your chosen industry. Internships also offer qualifications and training required to get a job in a specific sector. Experiencing a career firsthand allows students to experience their chosen careers without committing to a full-time position, giving them the chance to solidify or modify their career plans.
How To Get an Internship With No Experience
Landing an internship when you have no experience can seem impossible. However, it is essential to remember that even the most seasoned professionals started exactly in the same spot. Follow these tips to learn how to get an internship even if you have no job experience.
1. Write Your Resume
Writing your resume is an essential part of the internship search process. Take your time when compiling your resume, and make sure you have several people proofread it before submitting it to any companies.
To start your resume, outline your skills, education, references, club memberships, awards, and volunteer experience. The first section of your resume should summarize your most relevant skills. The headline is the first thing employers see, so you want to make sure it highlights all pertinent experience you have, even if it is minimal.
For instance, if you have worked as a babysitter or dog walker, explain the lessons and skills you learned. Even if your experience is not within your chosen industry, you should focus on the outcomes of the position. Try to keep your descriptions as quantifiable as possible. Instead of just listing your duties as a dog walker, describe the results, such as:
- Expanded from one to 15 clients over three years
- Developed online marketing techniques to advertise services
- Trained another employee on my dog walking techniques
- Increased yearly revenue by 50% over two years
If you’re not sure about the most effective ways to include all this info, try out a professional resume writing service.
2. Keep Your GPA High
Another key strategy for how to get an internship with no experience is to leverage your academic experience by keeping your GPA high. Your academic coursework and success in those courses are some of the most critical factors in securing an internship as a high school or college student. Try enrolling in relevant courses and strive for good grades in those classes. If you got an A in a data analytics course, you have a higher chance of landing an internship as an analyst without professional experience.
3. Visit Your School’s Career Center
Your school’s career center is one of the most important offices on campus and an excellent resource when you are searching for an internship. These centers have databases of internships and other job opportunities. Some employers work directly with specific academic departments to offer internships to students of particular majors.
Career center staff can work with you to craft your resume and prepare you for your internship interview. Even if you do not have professional experience, a career counselor can help you translate your skills into traits employers want and assist you in writing a cover letter that stands out from the competition. Most career centers also provide mock job interviews for candidates to prepare for phone and in-person interviews.
4. Look for Work-Study Offerings on Campus
Getting a job on your college campus is a time-honored strategy to gain experience while looking for an internship. Opportunities on campus are typically less competitive than other positions, and there are many options. Do you excel in a particular subject area? Apply for a tutoring job or a teaching assistant position. Are you pursuing a career in communications, public relations, or journalism? Look for a job with your school’s newspaper, literary magazine, or radio station.
Campus jobs are ideal for students because they are flexible and can be worked around your class schedule. They are often tailor-made to give you the chance to earn money and gain relevant skills while seeking outside internships.
5. Join a Campus or Community Club or Group
Looking for more tips on how to get an internship with no experience? Ask your professors for ideas or search your school’s website or social media pages. Joining a club or organization is an effective way to explore your chosen field and make contacts within your industry. Check out clubs like these to make your resume stand out when applying for internships:
- Social justice clubs
- Student government
- Debate club
- Academic major associations
- Foreign language clubs
- Community service clubs
If you do not find a relevant group, consider forming a new group within your chosen job field. Starting a club or group looks great on a resume and develops desirable leadership skills that you can utilize in your professional career.
6. Learn Where To Locate Internship Listings
Finding relevant internship listings is one of the most challenging parts of the process. While internship opportunities are plentiful, it can be confusing to know where to look for them. Try these places to begin your internship search:
- Register for career fairs
- Make an appointment with your career center
- Ask your friends and college professors
- Search your college’s job board
- Research organizations within your chosen industry
Locating relevant internship postings may seem daunting at first, but you’ll find many opportunities once you learn where to look.
7. Develop Transferable Skills
Even if you lack professional experience, many skills you pick up elsewhere also can apply to numerous career fields. Broadly transferrable skills such as computing, writing, and leadership improve any resume, and you can refine your abilities within your chosen career field once you have gained a solid base of general abilities. Develop essential skills by:
- Joining a club or organization that allows you to practice specific skills, such as a public speaking club
- Signing up for free online courses within your chosen career field
- Applying for leadership positions in clubs or community groups
- Volunteering as a tutor or teaching assistant
Don’t be afraid to advance your skills in numerous areas. If you wonder how to get an internship with no experience, having several skills on your resume sets you apart from other applicants.
8. Write a Well-Crafted Cover Letter
Internship candidates must create a well-written resume that highlights their awards, education, and experience. However, college students do not have much experience and may not convince an employer of their qualifications with their resume alone. Adding a well-written to your internship application package can make up for your lack of experience.
Cover letters give you the opportunity to show your creativity and explain why you are the best candidate for the position. Communication skills are essential for every position, and a well-constructed letter can convey your writing skills. A cover letter can also highlight your soft skills, academic qualifications, and career plans.
If you want to know how to get an internship with no experience while also finding a way to give back to your community, volunteering is one of the best ways to gain experience and refine your skills without participating in formal employment. Many worthwhile organizations offer excellent learning opportunities but have limited budgets to hire paid workers. Research organizations related to your major and request to volunteer. You may also find relevant volunteer experiences on campus or with community organizations like Habit for Humanity or the Red Cross. Volunteering for charitable organizations helps you develop leadership aptitude, reliability, and working as a member of a team.
You don’t need an official employment offer to gain experience. With freelancing you can gather work experience while earning extra money. Advertise your services on social media sites and consider starting a website. Some companies also hire freelancers to perform content writing, editing, web design, and data entry tasks. Inquire with local companies and ask if they need any freelance services. Without formal experience, you may need to lower your rates, but you can increase your price as you gain more experience.
11. Practice For Your Interview
Impressing the hiring manager is crucial to landing your first internship. While it may take a while before you get an interview, you need to be prepared once you do receive the good news. During the interview, be as intentional as possible. Be ready to explain any detail on your resume and practice ways to put a positive spin on your lack of experience. For instance, you can highlight academic qualifications, volunteer experience, and leadership qualifications.
Many career experts recommend using the STAR method during your interview, following the formula of Situation, Task, Action, and Results. During the interview, answer questions by sharing specific examples that detail the problem, the action you took, and the result. For instance, you can explain a problem you encountered during a class project. Tell the interviewer the steps you took to encourage your group members to work together, such as dividing up responsibilities and scheduling regular meetings. End the scenario by talking about the success of your project due to your leadership position within the group.
12. Start Networking
The importance of networking cannot be overstated, particularly for those with limited experience. Sometimes it is not what you know but who you know when it comes to landing a great internship. Having a solid network means you can hear about a wide variety of potential opportunities. When you are new to the professional world, follow these strategies to start building your network:
- Utilize your school’s career services
- Talk with your professors
- Join professional organizations
- Use LinkedIn and other social media sites
- Connect with your local chamber of commerce
- Ask family and friends for referrals
Networking is an essential component of how to get an internship with no experience. You’ll have an easier time getting your foot in the door with a solid network of industry contacts.
13. Stay Resilient
Landing your first internship when you have limited experience will be challenging. You almost certainly will not get interviews for all of the applications you send in, and you may not receive an internship offer for several months. It can be discouraging to keep applying when you get no responses, but it is important to be resilient and keep going. Everyone starts on the same level, and even the most experienced professionals have been in your shoes at one point.
Keep going and try not to get discouraged. Make applying for internships part of your weekly routine. Get in the habit of searching job boards and updating your resume. Remember that landing an internship is often a numbers game. If you continue applying each week, you increase your chances of landing an interview.
Learn How To Get an Internship With No Experience With FutureSprout
When you’re ready for more tips on how to get an internship with no experience, look no further than FutureSprout. Our site has an extensive database of career, school, and financial advice for college students. Contact us today for more information on landing a competitive internship.