College Internships 101

So, you’re finally not a freshman anymore. You have finally gotten the hang of college! Congratulations! But wait…junior year flies by…then you’re a senior in college. You’re signing up for Capstone courses and relatives start to fire off questions all about life after the G word…graduation.

You just didn’t think you would make it, did you? Maybe you haven’t made it here yet but, I have. Your parents just weren’t kidding when they said college would fly by. But before you start to even think about any sort of career, you need that solid foundation, a place to gain some real-life working world experience!

You need to find an internship. I’m almost positive I’m not the first one to bring this up to you either. Maybe you’re a freshman or sophomore and are thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me! That’s so far off.” Yeah, that’s the mindset I had as well. It’s never too early to start looking, make connections, and keep your eye out for that perfect apprenticeship. I managed to find an amazing year-long internship with a wedding planner in Wilmington. Making connections and reaching out is one of the most important skills I’ve gained while at UNCW and it’s what I owe thanks to for finding this opportunity.

So, enough about that. I’m going to dive into the quick and dirty tips on how to manage to score that hands-on involvement that adds a shining gold star to your resume. And I promise it’s not all just fetching coffee and making copies…


1.Alright, okay, I get it. So, where in the world can I find that perfect internship?

Take advantage of your resources! UNCW is blessed with a beautiful resource known as…the Career Center. These lovely people are literally here to help you in all of your professional endeavors. If you don’t happen to have connections to score an internship. They will help you personalize your search and help you home in on your interests and your goals. Starting early is the best way to ensure that you will score even the most competitive internship opportunity. Stick with what you’re passionate about! But also, don’t fear going out of your comfort zone, it may be something that you end up wanting to pursue a career in.

The Career Center utilizes a resource called Handshake. It is the leading online career platform used at over 500 colleges and more than 250,000 employers. This platform allows the Career Center to better target career information, internships, employment opportunities, and career-related events to students & alumni based on major, degree type, and interests.

2. Okay, found one! So…what makes you think they’re going to choose me as an intern?

Well, you’re going to have to prepare for it. It’s going to take a little legwork to convince your potential mentor that you are the obvious pick to be the best intern. You deserve this position. Show them! Get started on a portfolio and resume early on. Don’t wait until you are struggling to collect your best writing or awards you receive. Chances are you are going to do some of your best, most time consuming, works of literature, photography, design…whatever you make…in the first few years of college! Keep them, save them, hold them close! Stay organized. Those works are going to prove that you have the skills and put in the work to be the best candidate. This also is going to prepare you for prepping your professional resume and the entire interviewing process.

3. Wait, I have to go to an interview??? For an internship?? But…I’m not even getting paid…

Yes…you will most likely have to interview for your intern position. But it’ll be okay, if you do your research! Look up the company or person that you’re going to be interviewing with. Pick up on what their values as a company or business are, know what they are interested in, these are good talking points. Know what  your potential bosses interests are!

giphy.gifYou won’t have to worry about that awkward job interview silence if you have things to pull out of your back pocket to totally wow your interviewer. Wear something you’re comfortable in and that’s appropriate for business! Something your grandparents would be so proud to see you wearing. Here’s a helpful link for all the do’s and don’ts of interview attire:

So, that’s where I leave you. As I near closer and closer to graduation, I hope that this information was helpful, eye-opening, if not at least a little entertaining.

Now, time’s running out! Go find that internship!


-Olivia DiNome

Works Cited:

UNCW Career Center: