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Startup Internships for College Students

Looking for an internship at a startup? Check out these tips on how to get one!

Interning at a startup has become more and more desirable with the recent surge of new companies. Many startups are pioneering new products and practices–making interning for one an exciting prospect. You'll be able be hands on with the beginning phases on a company's journey and meet incredibly motivated people while you do it.

What are the best ways to get an internship at a startup?

If you’re interested in interning for a startup, the best place to start is to research what companies align with your interests. Start by searching for employers in cities you want to work in! After you’ve found some interesting startups, narrow it down and really get into the details about their founders, mission, and projects they’re working on.

If they have listings up for interns, read through the application thoroughly and send in a thoughtful cover letter and resume. If they don’t have any postings up, it never hurts to reach out to the company and get yourself on their radar. Showing that you have knowledge of their work and a desire to learn is a great indication of a curious self-starter.

Another way to get an internship at a startup is to consult your own network. Talk to your professors, alumni, and friends about startups they’ve worked at or heard of. It never hurts to assess your own network first!

How can I find startup internships?

Four ways to find a startup internship:

  1. Handshake: search your area for “startup internships near me” using Handshake’s easy job filtering feature
  2. University: browse your school’s job listing page or ask your professors if they know of any openings for paid internships
  3. Personal Network: reach out to classmates, friends, or upperclassmen in other majors and see if they have any advice or connections
  4. Handshake Network: search on Handshake for other students and alumni who have had startup internships that you’re interested in who can answer your questions about their job, how they liked it, and how to go about applying to something similar

When searching for startup internships, entry-level or otherwise near you, it’s always best to use the Handshake job filter and keyword search. Start by searching the available jobs and entering the internship title, city you want to work in, and if you would like your internship to be at a startup or not.

The best startup internships

Some popular startup intern positions:

The best startup internships are the ones that allow you to have a great work-life balance while also growing your career skills.

Some things to consider when picking a startup to apply to:

  • Full-time or part-time?
  • Paid or unpaid?
  • Completely remote or are there some in-office requirements?

How can I land an internship at a startup?

Startups hiring interns want to see that you’re conscious about how to translate your skills and characteristics to their position. You don’t need the most elaborate resume to wow them! Instead, look at the qualities they value and translate your experience to those characteristics.

What should I put on my resume for a startup internship?

Many startups hiring interns and full-time roles are looking for similar keywords in resumes, but what makes the right candidate is listing the skills that make you stand out.

List your past experiences

Even if you’ve never held an official role before, you definitely have skills from past experiences you can offer. From mentorships, internships, to school projects that you did–there are always skills you can pull from your life that apply.

Six soft skills that might make you a better candidate on your resume:

  • Quick learner
  • Natural leader
  • Organized
  • Accountable
  • Detail oriented
  • Collaborative

Technical skills

If this won’t be your first internship, then you may have some technical skills from previous jobs to add to your resume. It’s always a good idea to mention that you have strong industry specific skills, know how to manage projects, or have had experience leading and also being a team player.

What should I write in my cover letter for a startup internship?

Besides your resume, your cover letter is another chance to really sell yourself as a future employee.

Three things you should include in your startup internship cover letter:

  1. Previous experiences and how they apply to the role you are applying for
  2. Why you’re passionate/interested in working with them
  3. Specific examples of how you could contribute to their mission

Check out this article with proper formatting techniques and more in depth information about the perfect cover letter.

Where can I find startup internships in NYC?

Check out our list of great NYC internships here!

Where can I find internships in San Francisco, CA?

Check out our guide to San Francisco internships here!

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